We may be biased here, but there is absolutely no doubt, that in Wales we have some of the finest food you’ll find anywhere in the world. The best, and freshest ingredients, served for us (when the world is back to normal) by some of the most talents chefs and cooks. As if to prove that point even further, Wales is just one more ballot away from bringing the culinary world to the nation in 2024 by hosting the Worldchefs Congress and Expo.

The CULINARY ASSOCIATION OF WALES are the team hoping to bring the congress here. They are a group of enthusiastic and highly dedicated people promoting excellence in the art of professional cookery within Wales.

Their Patron, Prince Charles, HRH The Prince Of Wales, has now given his support to their bid.

And let us tell you just how big a deal this congress is for Wales. This biennial event has been running since 1928, and is now a global community of chefs and cross-industry innovators to explore the past, present, and future of the culinary trade.

The Worldchefs Congress & Expo itself brings together delegates and professionals from across the five continents to network and expand their professional bonds. The programme includes presentations and workshops from leading experts in the industry, educational programmes to inspire the next generation of chefs, and diverse activities to enhance both personal and professional network.

Over the course of its 91 years of history, Worldchefs Congress & Expo has been in 38 cities around the globe.

Sadly, because of the current pandemic, this years event in St Petersburg, Russia, scheduled to be held at the end of the month, had to be cancelled.

This video, put together last year, will give you an idea of just how prestigious this event is and why hosting it here in South Wales is so important.

Wales now needs to win the third and final ballot against Singapore at the general meeting on the 15th August to host the Worldchefs Congress and Expo in 2024 at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport (Celtic Manor Resort). Apart from the event itself, it’s a massive boost for our economy too. There will be around 1,000 chefs and between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors from around the world.

The Team Wales approach has been adopted for the bid, with the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) supported by ICC Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Government.

Arwyn Watkins is the President of the Culinary Association of Wales, he said……

“Whilst we are delighted with the level of support that Wales has received from Worldchefs presidents across Europe, we must empathise with Russia who would have been hosting the Worldchefs Congress in July/August had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We thank all the European presidents who supported Wales in the first and second ballet and hope that the whole of Europe will now get behind us in the third ballot. Never has winning a Worldchefs Congress gone through so many votes.

Arwyn Watkins OBE

“To have secured such support from European presidents against the backdrop of the Brexit vote is appreciated greatly and is due to the absolute respect that they have for Wales. We are very open, transparent and welcoming and have a proven track record of delivering Worldchefs events.”

“We hosted a successful European Congress in 2017 and a Worldchefs board meeting last summer at the Celtic Manor Resort which I believe has worked in our favour. We have consistently delivered on our promises, including showcasing Welsh food and drink in the Worldchefs Village at the Culinary Olympics and Culinary World Cup.”

As the third round ballot will involve Worldchefs presidents from around the globe, Team Wales has a couple of busy months ahead lobbying for votes.

Arwyn Watkins continued….

“All the home nations will be part of the Worldchefs Congress and Expo 2024 if we win it for Wales and it’s going to need the whole of the UK to get behind us.”

“Winning the final vote would mean that the Worldchefs Congress in Wales would be the topic of conversation for the next four years because the culinary world will be coming to Wales 2024.”

Ian Edwards is the ICC Wales and Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive…..

“We are delighted to secure this backing from the European presidents and progress to the final stage of voting in this exciting bid to bring the Worldchefs Congress and Expo to Wales in 2024.

Ian Edwards

We have forged strong ties with Worldchefs and are excited that they can now see the potential of our fantastic new venue at ICC Wales. We will keep our fingers crossed that the strong bid presented by Team Wales will see us clear the final hurdle this summer.”

“Our culinary philosophy is a big part of what we do at ICC Wales and hosting this prestigious event would be a brilliant opportunity to showcase Wales’ wealth of produce as well as our growing food and drink industry to an international audience.”

And support is coming from Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, who said……

“During difficult times such as these, it is very pleasing to note that Wales has maintained its international reputation for culinary excellence, and that our chefs continue to maintain their world-leading stature. They are a credit to the Welsh food and drink sector, and it is no surprise Wales is one ballot away from winning.”

Lesley Griffiths

“While the ongoing pandemic has meant many events worldwide have been cancelled, we continue to look towards events which may be hosted in Wales in the future – and that is why I wish Wales every luck as we approach the next ballot on who will host the 2024 Worldchefs Congress and Expo.”

The Culinary Association of Wales was formed in 1993 and describes itself as…….

“A partnership of Professional Chefs and Caterers to develop and raise the culinary profile of Wales, its establishments and those working within them”

Here at SOUTH WALES LIFE, we have worked with some of the most well know chefs in the world, at some of the biggest events in the UK, and the fact an organisation like the Association exists to support, grow and encourage new talent, has to be a good thing. The Association, supports the senior and junior National Culinary Teams, which represent Wales with distinction at international competitions around the world.

They have over 400 members representing all grades of chef, college lecturers and a wide range of suppliers to the hospitality industry in Wales.

After many years of strenuous lobbying, supported by political leaders in Wales, the Association took a huge step forward when it was granted membership of the prestigious World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) at the 30th World Congress in Kyoto, Japan in March 2002.

The decision meant that, for the first time, Wales could proudly fly the Welsh flag and compete as a nation in its own right, after eight years of competing as a region of Great Britain. As a consequence, the Association was also able to form a junior team to compete on the world stage, which was a major boost for the development and natural progression of young chefs in Wales.

We of course, wish the entire team the best of luck in bringing the Congress to South Wales in 2024, and give them our full support. Go get em…………

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