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International Chefs Day: The Celtic Collection’s recipe for success

Five chefs from The Celtic Manor Resort share their insight into the industry

This International Chefs Day, we bring to you the inspiring stories of those behind the swinging kitchen doors at The Celtic Manor Resort, as well as a taste of the creativity, teamwork and values that make up the wider Celtic Collection’s outstanding catering offering. 

Values beyond the kitchen

When it comes to turning passion into progression, the proof is in the pudding for Vinny Tzortzis, Executive Chef at The Celtic Manor Resort, who now spearheads the creation of culinary masterpieces across the resort’s restaurants and banqueting kitchen. Beginning his journey at the 5* luxury hotel in Newport in 2015 as Chef de Partie, Vinnie believes that the hotel’s dining scene represents more than just good food. Commenting on his success, he said: “I think I’m real-life proof that if you work hard and you have ambition for yourself, you can achieve whatever you want.”

Vinny reminds us that the culinary journey of delegates and guests is not just about the dishes served, but a chance to infuse The Celtic Collection’s core values into its menu. “We use a lot of locally sourced ingredients. We also have a very sustainable approach, trying to use as much plant-based products as possible and local products that produce less carbon footprint.”

Seeing the potential

Senior Sous Chef Mickael Le Cuziat reminisces about his journey which began 26 years ago within the smaller surrounds of the original Celtic Manor Hotel – now The Manor House. “When I started here, I thought to myself, it was going to be a great opportunity for development, and we have come so far today.” Over the years, the Celtic Manor Resort has transformed into a haven of culinary delight boasting six major restaurants, and it has always championed its workforce, making sure that the ultimate guest or delegate experience starts from the heart of the manor: the kitchen. “It’s always a pleasure to come into work. Every day is a different day in the kitchens – but it’s always a great pleasure to work here.” 

Open to learning

For Varada Raj, Sous Chef at The Olive Tree restaurant, the learning never ceases, and the chef’s journey at The Celtic Manor is never over. The constant desire and encouragement for improvement keeps chefs on their toes, ensuring they never stop growing. The profound satisfaction of knowing that their creations bring joy to guests is a driving force, and the feedback on taste, texture, and presentation contributes to the sense of pride in their work. Varada said: “In this career, I learn things every day, and we can’t ever stop and say that we’ve learned everything. When we receive good feedback from customers, it makes me proud to be a chef.” 

Nurturing the next generation

Michael Bates, Executive Chef for The Celtic Collection, addresses this year’s International Chefs Day theme of ‘Growing Great Chefs’ when he emphasises the Collection’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of chefs. He believes that witnessing the transformation of young chefs into culinary experts inspires the rest of the team. “One of the key things we do is encourage our young chefs to experiment with different cuisines. We have some great partnerships with a lot of culinary universities, and we see them grow from the beginning. They come to us and by the end of the year, they’re a different person which is really exciting.” 

Getting stuck in

For Anna Joy, a UCB Culinary Arts Student currently on placement as a Commis Chef, The Celtic Manor is a nurturing ground that feeds her passion for cooking, inherited from her mother, and her hunger for experience and new skills. “I have a passion for cooking. And when you come to the industry there are a lot of things that you learn. Thanks to the guidance of my head chefs and seniors, I’ve been able to progress. You feel like a family, where you are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, which makes a good base for a student like me.”

From luxury stays and corporate golf days to meetings and conferences and private events, catering is at the heart of The Celtic Collection’s diverse offering. With ten unique restaurants across the portfolio, ranging from the six eateries at The Celtic Manor Resort, to the fresh flavours of Pembrokeshire’s coast and country at Dulse in Ty Milford Waterfront, to the chic and glamorous city-centre dining at The Sorting Room in Cardiff’s Parkgate Hotel, the Collection prides itself on its exceptional culinary standards, delivered by a dedicated kitchen team.

For more information on dining at The Celtic Collection, visit the website here.

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