A head chef is “flying the flag for Aberystwyth” after taking part in a TV cooking competition, to be broadcast in the upcoming weeks.
Nathan Davies, 30, will be taking part in series 16 of Great British Menu, which will be broadcast on BBC 2 from 24 March.
Nathan is the head chef at SY23 in Aberystwyth, which he helped to set up with owner Mark Phillips in December 2019.
“There’s been nobody who has competed from Aberystwyth, so that was a big thing for me,” Nathan said.
“I’ve built this restaurant to do something different in Aberystwyth and for that to be recognised so early after we opened is amazing. It’s a big step forward for how we’re perceived and how food is perceived in Aberystwyth.
“Flying the flag for Aberystwyth is important to me. Although you go there to compete for Wales, for me it was more about competing for Aberystwyth and our area.”
Great British Menu will start on 24 March, with three one-hour episodes being screened each week for nine weeks straight.
Chefs from eight different regions of the UK will be taking part, and each week will be dedicated to a region.
One competitor will win the region and, in the final week, the winners of all eight regions will “cook off one last time” to win a place at the Great British Menu banquet.
“It was a really brilliant experience. It was a bit surreal in terms of watching something for so long and then being part of it, and the honour of being invited to do it,” Nathan said.
“Obviously the past year hasn’t been the easiest for anybody in hospitality, there’s been a lot of ups and downs.
“So it was a welcome relief, to step away from everything that’s going on day to day with restaurants. And it was lovely to be surrounded by people who were likeminded, the production of it was really brilliant.”
Prior to SY23, Nathan worked as the head chef at Ynys Hir: “I enjoyed my time there immensely, but it was time to venture out and do something a bit different.
“I was in contact with Mark and then we decided to build SY23 from the ground up, with the idea that it was going to be a chef based restaurant.”
Despite having to close, due to Covid-19, so soon after opening, Nathan said he is “hopefully” for the future of SY23: “We’ve started doing takeaways just over month ago, because we need to start looking forward, if you stand still for too long you’re going to get swallowed.
“Although its been busy and weve had some fantastic support from local people, its not really what we do. It’s been nice to get back into work and get people back into work.
“I am dying to open the restaurant so we can do what we do best.”