Student Chef scoops top plaice in seafood challenge

November 11, 2019

A seafood competition that was open to Hospitality and Catering students and apprentices from all three of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's colleges, saw a young, work-based student net the best seafood dishes!

 The overall winner was apprentice Sion Owen, 21 from Holyhead.Sion juggles studies his NVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery apprenticeship at the college's Bangor campus with his job as a chef at the Gadlys Hotel in Cemaes Bay.

Sion's menu comprised a starter of citrus-cured sea bass with crispy skin, compressed apple and wasabi crème fraiche, followed by a main course consisting of fillet of plaice with mussel mousse, celeriac fondant, white wine fish sauce, parsley oil and crispy mussels.

He won a day at Billingsgate Seafood Market and an afternoon's training at a seafood catering school. The event was sponsored by Seafish and Mermaid Seafoods.

The other finalists were Coleg Llandrillo full-time students Rebecca Claypole and Dalton Weir from Abergele, together with work-based apprentices David Hughes from Llangefni (who works at the Marram Grass Hotel in Newborough) and Jakub Brozyna from Llanrwst (who is employed at Dylan's Restaurant in Llandudno).

Sion said: "I really enjoyed having the support of my college assessors and my colleagues at work, who all helped me to prepare for this challenge. It was fantastic to work with amazing local seafood and to develop new skills".

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

Speaking about Sion's success, one of the judges and Seafish seafood ambassador, Dr Denise Baker, said:

"Sion is extremely talented and showed great flair with his menu. 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 the judging process".

Spearheaded by Seafish - the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry - the annual, inter-college 'Seafood Chef of the Year' competition, and special seafood dinner that followed, celebrated the national Seafood Week campaign by highlighting the best of seasonal Welsh seafood.

The finalists were required to develop two creative seafood dishes - starter and main course - from provided ingredients, which included locally-sourced mussels, plaice and sea bass.

The hotly-contested competition - which resulted in there being only five points between all finalists - was open to all Hospitality and Catering students from Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and Busnes@LlandrilloMenai.