A chef who has cooked for the Prime Minister, chart-topping musicians, business leaders and sports stars is holding a lamb masterclass at a Welsh centre of excellence.
Hefin Roberts, rated as one of the top 10 young chefs in Wales, will showcase the best of Welsh lamb at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre’s Cookery School next month.
It will feature locally raised lamb and Hefin will be passing on kitchen tips plus revealing the secrets to his signature dish – Dolmeinir lamb pie.
Along with five fellow Welsh culinary experts Hefin celebrated St David’s Day in the kitchens at Number 10 Downing Street, using Welsh food to create a dazzling spread of treats for the cream of Welsh entertainers and business chiefs
“It was a really fun occasion and I enjoyed myself very much,” said 31-year-old Hefin, who is originally from Tregarth near Bangor.
“The food we prepared was intended to provide a real taste of the best in Welsh produce, so we created things like mini shepherds pies using the finest Welsh lamb, canapés using little pieces of Welsh black beef, fresh river-caught salmon and goat’s cheese.
“David Cameron is obviously a busy guy but he spent quite a bit of time talking to the chefs, thanking them for the food and saying some very complimentary things about Welsh produce.
“He is clearly a man who likes his food and knows where everything comes from in Wales, including salt from Halen Mon on Anglesey.
“We did everything in the kitchen at 10 Downing Street, which was actually smaller than I’d imagined, and then came out still wearing our whites to serve the canapés to the guests. They included Welsh celebs such as the singer Paul Potts, who rose to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, and Wynne Evans from the Go Compare adverts.
“There were also quite a few leaders from large Welsh firms, like Airbus at Broughton, and the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, was also there.
“It was obviously a great honour to be there and, as far as I was concerned, it was nice to have the chance to step outside the kitchen and speak to the people who were eating my food, which is something we chefs don’t normally get to do.”
On May 17 he will be leaving his kitchen at The Olde Bulls Head on Anglesey behind to run the Welsh lamb masterclass at Bodnant’s £6.5m centre in the Conwy Valley, recently named as the Best Retailer in wales in the prestigious Farm Shop and Deli awards.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre managing director Chris Morton said: “We are delighted to welcome Hefin to our Cookery School to lead a masterclass as he is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished young chefs in Wales at the moment.
“It’s great that he has agreed to pass on some of the secrets of his profession to our class members, especially as he will be using the best of locally-sourced produce. I can’t wait to taste some of the dishes he produces.
“At Bodnant our ethos is that when it comes to what we stock, we firstly try to source it here on our estate, then we look at the Conwy valley, then to Wales and then elsewhere if our customers request it.”
Hefin is looking forward to the teaching session, his first at Bodnant’s cookery school. He said: “I love cooking with Welsh produce and it will be great to have the chance to pass on some tips for how to prepare fantastic Welsh lamb.
“All the lamb I’ll be using on the day comes from a farmer near Talwrn on Anglesey who is a friend of mine, so I know it will be of the highest quality.
“I’ll start with a little butchery when I’ll be showing people how to bone a whole saddle of lamb. My own personal record time for doing it is three minutes and 33 seconds – without cutting myself – but I don’t expect everyone to do it that fast!
“I’ll then be telling people how to cook with some really tasty but little-used cuts of lamb, such as neck-end and breast. You’re not easily able to pick them up these days because they’re a bit wasteful for the butcher but they’re still really good if prepared correctly.
“During the masterclass I’ll also be doing one of my signature dishes. It’s called Dolmeinir Lamb Pie after the farm where the meat is from.
“Basically, it’s a piece of lamb with potatoes inside and also features cabbage and onion cream. The whole thing is wrapped in sweetbreads and parma ham then encased in pastry before being baked in the oven.
“After showing the class dishes like this, they’ll get the chance to taste them and then try the recipes for themselves, to take home to share with their family and friends.
“This is the first time I’ve ever held a masterclass at Bodnant but it’s going to be a really interesting day.
“I like Bodnant very much because it’s great to prepare food in a place which is has such a marvellous setting and is just a stone’s throw away from where it is produced.
“I also enjoy teaching how to prepare good Welsh food because the more people who want to do it, the more of this wonderful produce will be sold.”
Hefin has previously cooked for Coldplay drummer Will Champion, plus motorcycle race ace and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here star Carl “Foggy” Fogarty.
“They are both nice people and not snooty in any way.” he added.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation.
To book a place on the course with Hefin, and for more details on other courses at the Cookery School visit bodnant-welshfood.co.uk