The new National Chef of Wales is a Newcastle Emlyn chef now working at the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa near Bath.

Head chef Ben Taylor, 34, edged out his chef de partie workmate Thomas Westerland, 24, whose home is in Cardiff; Nathan Davies, 25, from Aberystwyth; and Jack Davison, 23, sous chef from Deganwy Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy, who was runner-up in the contest for the second time.

The closely contested final brought the curtain down on the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea.

“I’m absolutely blown away,” said Ben after winning the title.

“For my first competition I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I have.

I thought getting through to the final was a good achievement.

“I am very proud of myself for impressing some fantastic chefs on the judging panel. All four chefs in the final cooked really well and any one of them could have won.”

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