Student chef scoops top plaice in seafood challenge

17 October 2018

Students from Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's colleges have put their seafood dishes to the test at a special Seafood Week event hosted by Coleg Llandrillo, with young chef, Jack Airey, scooping first prize. 

Welsh Seafood Comp

Competition contestants (left to right): Rebecca Claypole, Coleg Llandrillo; Rhys Yates, Coleg Llandrillo; Ellis Heald, work-based student at The Deck House restaurant, Anglesey; Jack Airey, work-based student at Dylan's restaurant, Llandudno

Spearheaded by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry,

the annual, inter-college, 'Seafood Chef of the Year' competition was followed by a special seafood dinner last night (10 October 2018).

Jack Airey, a work-based student currently working at popular restaurant Dylan's in Llandudno came first place with his starter of plaice paupiette, sun blushed tomatoes, buttered leeks, fried oyster and sauce Choron followed by a main course of pan seared fillet of Sea Bass, Pen Llyn crab polenta, Menai mussels, crisp shallots and mariniere sauce.

On his success, nineteen year old Jack said: "I really enjoyed the support of my team at work and the encouragement of my College Assessors who helped me to prepare for the competition. It was great to work with amazing local seafood and develop new skills."

Ellis Heald, a work-based student at The Deck House restaurant, Silver Bay,Anglesey cooked his way to second place, while Coleg Llandrillo student Rebecca Claypole took third place. 

The competition was judged by Arwel Jones, Executive Head Chef at The Imperial, Llandudno, and Seafish Seafood Ambassador Dr Denise Baker.

On Jack's success, Denise said: "Jack showed great flair with his menu and he has such talent. The flavours and textures worked well together and the dishes were both creative and well presented. 

"The Seafood Chef of the Year competition is a fantastic way to recognise the incredible talent of budding chefs in Wales and it's a privilege to be involved in judging process."

Dr Holly Whiteley, Seafish Wales Manager, said: "We are delighted to work with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai to celebrate Seafood Week and provide students with the opportunity to enhance their skills with locally sourced seafood - something they can take with them into their future careers. 

"This is one of a number of exciting activities taking place across the UK during Seafood Week and we'd encourage everyone to get involved."

Four finalists, who represented Coleg Llandrillo and the Grŵp's work-based department, developed two creative seafood dishes for the competition - a starter and main course - from provided ingredients that included locally sourced mussels, plaice and seabass.

The competition awards were presented at a special Seafood Week dinner hosted by Coleg Llandrillo's Orme View Restaurant, where the public dined on prominent local seafood species.

Seafood Week is now in its fourth year and the campaign is aimed at encouraging the consumption of seafood everywhere - whether it is at home, in a café or restaurant, or at the local fish and chip shop celebrating our amazing fishing communities around the UK.