Three students from Coleg Sir Gâr have won gold medals in the professional cookery, restaurant service and patisserie finals of a national skills competition.
Backed by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales is a series of events held in colleges across the country, designed to celebrate vocational skills and create highly skilled, award winning employees for the Welsh workforce.
Daniel Morgan from Gorslas, studying a City and Guilds level 2 in professional cookery and hospitality, won the restaurant service competition, Caitlin Lewis Jones from Llanelli, studying a City and Guilds level 2 in catering, won in the patisserie final, and Ollie, who is studying a City and Guilds level 2 in professional cookery and hospitality, scooped gold in the cookery final. The trio competed against students from across Wales in a series of challenge.
While Daniel showcased his skills serving up a banana flambé and steak diane, Caitlin was tasked with creating a soufflé, ganache filled truffles and marzipan decorations and Ollie made a three-course fine-dining menu of seabass, chicken mousse and apple dessert – each within a three hour time period
Caitlin, a second year student at Coleg Sir Gâr said she couldn’t believe it when they called her name.
“I was so thrilled to have won, I’ve been practicing for weeks making the same dishes over and over again, and my kitchen at home is filled with hundreds of marzipan bunny rabbits and elephants.
“My tutors and family have been so supportive in helping me through the competition. This was my first ever competition so I was quite nervous on the day, but luckily I’d managed to get all my timings right and my hard work paid off.
“I’ve been interested in patisserie and baking since I was little, making cakes with my Gran. I’ve come a long way from making Victoria sponge cakes with her, but I still ask her for advice and she’s been my go-to taste tester for the competition. I know she’ll be cheering me on if I get to the UK finals.”
More than 35 competitions are taking place this year, across a wide range of different vocations from plumbing and beauty therapy to aeronautical engineering and accountancy.
The successful Welsh competitors may go on to challenge youngsters from across the UK at the WorldSkills UK national finals, held at The Skills Show in Birmingham’s NEC this November. Competitors who excel at The Skills Show may then be shortlisted to compete against the world’s most talented young people at the international WorldSkills competition in Kazan, Russia in 2019.
Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James said: “At the Skills Show last year, the Welsh team topped the leader board of UK regions winning a total of 45 medals, which demonstrates that we’re producing some of the most highly skilled young people across the nation.
“In a year when Wales is celebrating legends of the past, competitions like these showcase the talent across the country and provide a platform for emerging Welsh legends of the future.
“Along with David, Caitlin and Ollie’s hard work and determination the support from their tutors is an important factor in their success, and I would like to extend a special thank you to all the local businesses, schools and colleges across Wales who support these talented individuals.
“I would like to congratulate them on their fantastic achievements and wish them the best of luck in the next stage of the competition and their future careers.”
(PR Golley Slater)