Olympic champ Hefin passes on culinary skills at Bodnant cookery masterclass

Culinary Olympic gold medal winner Hefin Roberts will be passing on his catering skills with a one-off masterclass at Bodnant Welsh Food centre this weekend ((may 18)).

 The award winning chef will be leaving his  Anglesey kitchen behind for a day to take up residence at the cookery school at Bodnant, with local Welsh produce taking centre stage as he works on a one-to-one basis with amateur chefs.

Hefin, originally from Tregarth near Bangor, said: “I love cooking with Welsh produce, and I’m looking forward to show-casing what great dishes we can make with meat, cheese and other items from the Conwy Valley and elsewhere in North Wales.

“I have worked with young chefs before with the Welsh Culinary Team, especially when I was captain of the Junior Team, and in my day job in Beaumaris, but teaching at a cookery school is a first for me. I’m looking forward to going back to the classroom,” joked Hefin, a former pupil at Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen.

He will be preparing his favourite Welsh dishes –  leek, potato with smoked chicken veloute with Bodnant cheese souffle, followed by Bodnant lamb ballontine, with a shitake and leek farce and wrapped in Carmarthen ham, plus bara brith sticky toffee pudding with rosemary Bodnant ice cream.

After showing his class how to make the dishes, they’ll get chance to taste his creations and then try the recipes themselves, to take home to share with family and friends. A few places are still available on the course.

Hefin, who studied at Llandrillo College, Rhos on Sea, has won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Culinary Olympics as part of the Welsh Culinary team,  which boasts Prince Charles as its patron.

The 30-year-old was originally inspired by his brother Darren to become a chef, and  was just 21 when he first became a head chef, in Capel Curig. He went on to be runner-up in the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship and  lead the Welsh Culinary Team’s Junior Team. He now works at Ye Olde Bulls Head in Beaumaris and  is classed as on the top 10 ten young chefs in the UK, with appearances on ITVs Britain’s Best Dish and  three  AA rosettes to his name.

Welsh cooking wizard Dai “Chef” Davies, resident executive chef at Bodnant’s  Hayloft Restaurant and tearoom, and former captain of the Welsh culinary team, is looking forward to seeing Hefin’s take on local produce on May 18.

“Our menu at the Hayloft changes every week, depending on what’s available locally,” said Dai, who also teaches at Bodnant’s cookery school. “It’s always interesting to see what recipes other chefs come up with, using these local ingredients.  I’ve watched Hefin’s progress over the last decade, and I’m sure those taking part in his masterclass are bound to pick up some great tips.”

Also looking forward to welcoming Hefin for the day is Gwyndaf Pritchard, General Manager at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, and a former chef at The Ritz. He said: “Hefin is a shining star of the Welsh culinary world and I can’t wait to get a taste of the food he’ll be preparing on the day.

“We showcase Welsh food here  at Bodnant and our ethos is that when it comes to what we stock we try to source it here on the estate, then we look to the Conwy Valley, then to Wales and then elsewhere if our customers request it.

“As a result 45 per cent of what we sell comes from here on the estate and three-quarters of our stock is from Wales  – we support around 100 Welsh artisan food producers.”

Bodnant Welsh Food centre at Furnace Farm, Tal-y-cafn, in the Conwy valley, has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms  plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation.

To book a place on the course with Hefin, and for more details on other courses at the Cookery School visit bodnant-welshfood.co.uk.

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