Meet the National Chef of the Year semi-finalist: Aled Williams
Aled Williams, Head of Development and Innovation from TRUEfoods is competing in the National Chef of the Year semi-final in Sheffield on Tuesday, 12th June. As he prepares for the semi-final we caught up with Aled to find out more about his involvement in the competition and learn more about him as a chef.
Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?
Back in 2006, I was commis chef for Adam Simmonds in the final of NCOTY. Since then I have always been interested in the competition and eager to compete for myself.
Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals?
I was in the test kitchen of TRUEfoods when the news was announced on social media. I was amongst some of the senior chefs and my managing director, so it was fantastic to share the fantastic news with the team as it happened. My wife was also eagerly waiting for the live announcement, so I then spoke to her and my mum to celebrate.
How did you celebrate your achievement?
I am extremely proud and excited about reaching the semi-finals and being able to cook for my industry peers. However, for me the hard work started the day I was given the good news so the celebration will begin if I am honoured enough to make the final.
How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?
I have been practicing and perfecting my three dishes and tasting them with my colleagues. I’ve also been making sure the produce I will be using will be of the quality it needs to be for the big day.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?
Chef, Chris Chown from Plas Bodegroes in North Wales gave me my first break in a Michelin stared kitchen back in 2003. After working there for a couple of years I left to further my career and knowledge. I returned to Plas Bodegroes in 2010 for my first head chef position, which was a huge honour for me as Chris has always been regarded as one of the greatest chefs Wales has ever had.
Which part of your menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?
I am most looking forward to cooking the main course for the judges as it is a mixture of techniques I have learnt in my career, both in the UK and Australia.
How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?
I am lucky enough to have heard my name read out at culinary competitions in my career and I know how life-changing they can be. To go through as a heat winner would be unbelievable as I know how high the standard of chefs will be in Sheffield.
Tell us something that followers of the competition may not already know about you.
I was the winner of the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship back in 2006 and Welsh champion on Great British Menu in 2010. Out of the kitchen, I am a huge fan of live music and have seen my favourite band Stereophonics live 15 times.