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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 17:05 GMT
Go local for star food, says chef
Dudley Newbury - picture: S4C
S4C's Dudley Newbury says there is room for improvement
Welsh restaurants must do more to support local produce if they want to compete with the best Michelin star places in Europe, says a TV chef.

Dudley Newbury was reacting to news that just two Welsh hotels have been awarded a coveted star in the latest edition of the Michelin Guide.

Ynyshir Hall, in Ceredigion, joins Plas Bodegroes, in Gwynedd.

The S4C chef believes Welsh restaurants should use local food to establish a stronger identity.

Ynyshir Hall, in Eglwysfach, near Machynlleth and Plas Bodegroes near Pwllheli, are the only two from Wales in the prestigious 2006 Michelin Guide which hit the shelves on Friday.

There are 94 entries for England and eight for Scotland, while Northern Ireland has one and the Republic of Ireland two.

Ynyshir Hall
Ynyshir Hall is a Georgian manor house with 14 acres of gardens

Mr Newbury, who has fronted the series Dudley for 12 years, said "We have to support local producers in Wales like the Italians and French support their producers," he said.

"Supporting local producers would form a strong new identity for Welsh food. People are still making a point of buying produce such as Scottish beef or salmon.

"Although there are quite a few restaurants who support and promote local produce, there is still room for improvement."

He added: "We do need to shake up the industry in Wales. We can compete with the best and we are up there, but we need to restructure the whole industry."

He said businesses in Wales also had to encourage more young people to take a career in the industry.

Rob and Joan Reen, the owners of Ynyshir Hall said hard work, consistency and "excellent" local produce had resulted in its star.

It has been a successful few months for them. In October, their hotel was named Wales' restaurant of the year by the Which? Good Food Guide.

Plas Bodegroes - Picture: Plas Bodegroes
Until this year, Plas Bodegroes was the only Welsh restaurant to hold a star

Mrs Reen said: "We had a star three years ago, but when our previous chef left we lost the star.

"We've been here 17 years and Michelin knows how much time we take with our kitchen.

"We use the very best local produce and work with Machynlleth butcher Will Lloyd Williams. We also use a local fisherman from nearby Borth and we grow some of our own produce."

Chris Chown, 48, who owns and runs Plas Bodegroes which his wife, Gunna, received his first star in 1991 which he held until 1997. He regained the star in 2001.

He said: "It's still the benchmark for chefs and those who say they don't want a star are probably the ones who can't get one."

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