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28th February 2023

Stephanie wins Junior Chef of Wales title

Written by: Edward Waddell
Stephanie Belcher, a 21-year-old chef de partie from Coast Restaurant, cooked her way to the Junior Chef of Wales title after a closely contested final at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC).

She had been due to compete in a team of two at the Global Pastry Chef Challenge North Europe heat in Italy this week before a late withdrawal of Wales’ entry. Stephanie then had to switch her focus to the Junior Chef of Wales final.

The finalists had three hours to cook a three-course dinner for four people, using their own creative menu and mostly Welsh ingredients. Stephanie’s winning menu included:

  • Starter: Scallop, watercress and shrimp with a selection of foraged Welsh sea herbs
  • Main: Welsh Beef, celeriac, cavalo nero and local vegetables from Saundersfoot
  • Dessert: Pear caraibe, Valhrona chocolate, almond financier, lapsang souchong espuma, pickled pear and raspberry

Stephanie now qualifies for the semi-finals of the Young National Chef of the Year contest, organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs. She will also receive support from the Junior Culinary Team Wales, of which she is a member, a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick and products worth £100 from Churchill.

Commenting on her win, Stephanie said: “I am so proud to win the competition here in Wales. I have the privilege of representing my country and this is another step up. Hopefully, there will be more to come in the future. It could have gone better but that’s competitions. I am very critical of my own performance.

“It was a very difficult competition against four other great young chefs. The talent in the kitchen was incredible. I owe a lot to my commis Jay who stepped up at the last moment and to my mum and dad whose support has been amazing.”

The runner-up was 16-year-old Abigail Williams, a student at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus. Oliver Herrington, demi chef de partie at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport and Katie Duffy, second chef at Llanelly House, Llanelli, were joint third.

The other finalist, Falon Bailie, junior sous chef at Foyles of Glasbury, won the award for best dish in the final with his starter of Welsh hand dived scallops, cauliflower, pea, black pudding, pancetta, hazelnut and apple.