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The College Ystrad Mynach student win is a piece of cake

             Cupcake Competition

A MERTHYR Tydfil student has baked her way to victory, after winning Gold in a catering competition against professional chefs from across Wales and England.

Eloise Powell, who is studying Level One Professional Cookery at The College Ystrad Mynach, took part in a master-chef style competition by baking 16 cupcakes in limited time at The Welsh International Culinary Championships.

The 22 year old had just 30 minutes to create four different cupcake designs, assessed by judges from the Welsh Culinary Association - a body recognised for promoting excellence in cookery within Wales.

The panel presented Eloise with the Gold Award after recognising excellence in her originality, style of presentation and assembly of products and flavours.

Hosted by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, the championships are designed to showcase Welsh culinary talent and celebrate skills in developing quality food.

The College Ystrad Mynach has participated in competitions at the Rhos on Sea based institution for nearly a decade, giving students an opportunity to experience challenges in the work place.

Furthermore, Eloise is the second student from The College Ystrad Mynach to receive the ‘best in class award’ at the championships.

An aspiring pâtisserie chef, she commented that her success is due to a mixture of passion, determination and support:

“I am thrilled to win both the gold and best in class awards. I have been baking from the age of six, but recovering from a spine operation three years ago gave me the determination to cook professionally.

“I would not have been able to enter this competition without the support of The College Ystrad Mynach and have applied for my second year at The College.

“Once I gain my qualifications, I plan to move to New Zealand, as I’ve already been offered a job by one of the judges.”

Liz Jones, Head of Service Industries, Hospitality and Catering at The College Ystrad Mynach, said Miss Powell’s aptitude for cookery was recognised at an early stage:

“I am delighted that Eloise has been offered such a fantastic and nationally recognised award. Creating high quality cupcakes in half an hour is very challenging and Eloise’s sheer creativity and passion for baking carried her through the competition.

“As a college, we try to drive students to participate in as many competitions as possible in order to give them a chance to showcase their hard work and abilities.

“We recognised Eloise’s gift for baking very early on and both awards are a testament to her incredible talent.”

Bryn Davies, principal at The College Ystrad Mynach, commented:

“I am very proud that one of our students has achieved such a splendid result.

“Our students are driven, intelligent and talented individuals and Eloise’s accomplishment signifies the professional standard of our students.

“Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure great prospects for each individual and we are thrilled to be partly responsible for Eloise’s bright future.”

Posted by marketing at 11:57

Young Caerphilly chef employed at five star Gleneagles resort

Michael Coggan

A young chef, from Bargoed in Caerphilly, is now cooking at the five-star Gleneagles Resort in Scotland.

Michael Coggan, aged 22, who has fine-tuned his culinary skills to focus on deserts and baking, is enjoying his new busy lifestyle in the heart of Scotland.

Interestingly, it is not Michael’s first experience of cooking in a five-star environment, having previously worked at the Hilton Hotel, straight after completing his NVQ Level Two in Professional Cookery at The College Ystrad Mynach.

Michael is no stranger to producing food at the highest standard – in 2009, he entered the Welsh International Culinary Championships, in North Wales, coming away with a bronze medal in the open pasta competition.

He has always had a passion for cooking and baking, and used to cook with his grandmother after finishing school.

Michael, who strangely enjoys baking to let off steam after a day in the kitchen, said:

“I’ve loved cooking since I can remember and have always wanted to be a chef. I was fortunate enough to land a job working at a top hotel straight after finishing college, which is in no small part down to the support I received while I was there.

“The tutors were always there if I needed any help or support and they have always backed me to enter competitions. My tutor was an absolute inspiration.

“Working at the Gleneagles resort is very busy and high pressured, and that is what I enjoy about the job.

“I also have the opportunity to produce deserts and baking of the highest standard, and even though I’m still learning, this is the place to benefit my career further.”   

Bryn Davies, principal of The College Ystrad Mynach, said:

“We’re delighted that Michael is now cooking at such a prestigious resort. He was a dedicated student and it was clear he was going to achieve great things.

“His success is also a tribute to his teachers, who work tirelessly to ensure that every student receives the best possible teaching and support.”


Posted by Marketing at 09:25

Heat is on for The College Ystrad Mynach cookery students

FOUR aspiring young chefs showed they had the right ingredients for success when they took part in a national culinary competition.

Talented Ystrad Mynach Pathway to Apprenticeship Professional Cookery  students Charlie Prosser and Cheryl Prosser (no relation), from Aberbargoed, Emma Bilkey, from Bargoed, and Daniel Jones, from Merthyr Tydfil, competed against budding chefs from across Wales at the annual Welsh International Culinary Championships.

The culinary skills of the 17-year-old students were as sharp as their kitchen knives as they competed in the prestigious competition at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, and returned with a host of medals and certificates.

The four are all fulfilling their passion for food on the college’s professional cookery course and developing their skills and techniques in the state-of-the-art kitchen and restaurant on the Ystrad Mynach campus.

Charlie won a bronze medal in the knife skills cutting of vegetables section, and a certificate of merit in both the knife skills cutting of fruit and piping creamed mashed potatoes categories.

Cheryl won a certificate of merit in both the piping mashed potatoes and open bistro sandwich sections.

And Emma scooped bronze medals in the cutting of vegetables, cutting of fruit and the open bistro sandwich categories.

Catering lecturer and the students’ tutor Carol Jones said she was extremely proud of their achievements at the competition which is organised annually by the Welsh Culinary Association.

She said: “It was a great experience for them and they did really well. We are proud for the college and for the students.”

Emma, whose ambition is to work in the food industry abroad or on a cruise ship when she qualifies, said she was delighted to return home with three bronze medals.

She added: “We did a series of competitions throughout the day when we were given a set amount of time to accomplish each task. We put into practice what we have been learning at college.

“The judges were walking back and forth so it was a bit nerve-wracking.”

Emma first got interested in joining the cookery course after being inspired by dad Mark, who is a keen amateur cook at home.

“My dad likes cooking as a hobby and I thought I’d try it. I started it at college and really got into it,” said Emma. And she said dad Mark and mum Linda were proud of what she had achieved in the competition.

“They were chuffed to bits for me,” she said.

As well as honing their cookery skills in the classroom, the talented culinary quartet also spend one day a week working in the kitchens of hotels in Cardiff as part of their course.

Posted by Marketing at 14:25