Wales to host 'World Cup' of culinary congresses

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Wales to host culinary 'World Cup' congress Arwyn Watkins, president of the Culinary Association of Wales.

Wales saw off Italy to win the bid to host the Worldchefs Congress & Expo in 2026. 

The congress is the world’s biggest culinary event and is expected to attract 1,000 chefs and more than 5,000 visitors from 100-plus countries to the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) and the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. 

A combined effort between the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and partners ICC Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Government, helped secure the congress, which is held once every two years. 

CAW president, Arwyn Watkins OBE, said: “This is a significant landmark event for Wales. It’s the culinary equivalent of Wales hosting the football World Cup finals. We are delighted to have received the support of 28 countries around the world, including all the home nations.

“The congress theme will be ‘Pasture, Passion, Plate’ and how the event benefits future generations.”

The Worldchefs Congress & Expo has set a provisional date of May 2026, but a confirmed date will be released closer to the time to ensure as many young culinary professionals as possible can attend.

“We want to ensure that it runs while colleges across the United Kingdom are open and that they are all engaged. That has to be the legacy of this event. The hospitality industry has taken a hammering in the last few years, and we want to raise awareness about the rewarding career opportunities that are available within it.”

The Celtic Manor Resort, in partnership with the CAW and Welsh Government, successfully hosted Worldchefs meetings in 2017 and 2019.

ICC Wales chief executive, Ian Edwards, said: “ICC Wales is thrilled that the Team Wales partnership has won the vote to host the Worldchefs Congress & Expo in 2026.

“Our culinary philosophy is a big part of what we do at ICC Wales and hosting this prestigious event will provide a brilliant opportunity to showcase Wales’ amazing wealth of produce, as well as our growing food and drink industry, to an international audience.”

Holly Patrick
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Holly Patrick
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A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.

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