Chef biographies

Hywel Jones Executive chef at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa.

Born in Newport, Hywel is currently the executive chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones and The Brasserie at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa near Bath, where he holds a Michelin Star.

Hywel started his career with David Nichols at The Royal Garden and then moved on to work as Chef de Partie in two Michelin 3-star establishments; Chez Nico at 90 and Marco Pierre White. He then furthered his skills as junior Sous Chef at Michelin starred Le Souffle. From there he went on to earn his first Michelin star at Foliage restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park where he was Head Chef for five years. 

Prior to his move to Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, he was Executive Chef at Pharmacy Restaurant in Notting Hill.Hywel is the patron of the Newport Food Festival. 

Wynne Evans Celebrity MasterChef Champion 2023 

Wynne Evans the broadcaster, presenter, and professionally trained opera singer will be showcasing his cooking abilities. Wynne is a familiar face and voice on TV and radio, having rose to prominence playing the spoof opera singer Gio Compario in a series of advertisements for Go Compare.

He has been recognised for his natural and creative culinary skills and was crowned the Celebrity MasterChef Champion 2023. Wynne will be judging our Teenchef competition, as well as taking part in our chef demonstrations this year. He will be serving a dish inspired by the Welsh rugby team making the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup.

Carl Cleghorn Executive chef at Thornbury Castle Hotel & Restaurant.

Carl joined thornbury castle in 2019 after a multimillion-pound refurbishment, since the reopening he has been awarded 3AA Rosettes for culinary excellence, with his contemporary take on British food with an influence of European and Asian flavours and incorporating this with home grown produce straight from his kitchen garden.

Aswell focusing on his relationships with local suppliers, and commitment to seasonality in his menus, underpin the quality that he offers to his guests at thornbury castle whether its afternoon tea or the fine dining experience in the castle’s restaurant.

Prior to working at thornbury castle carl, worked for multiple Michelin starred chefs in bath and southwest including Queensberry hotel & olive tree restaurant and the manor house in castle combe. 

Paul Ngigi Head Chef, The Grill, Celtic Manor Resort

Having started his career at five-star hotels in Kenya, Paul undertook training placements at Claridge’s and The Savoy in London before becoming a pastry sous chef at The Savoy. He progressed to senior sous chef and head chef positions at 2-AA rosette restaurants in Bristol and Cardiff before joining The Celtic Manor Resort in 2014, where he is head chef at The Grill restaurant in the Golf Clubhouse.

Byron Burns Senior Sous Chef, PAD, Celtic Manor Resort

Byron began his career as a commis chef at Celtic Manor’s Olive Tree restaurant before progressing his career as chef de partie at Restaurant 1881 at The Grand Hotel in Torquay. He returned to The Celtic Collection in 2018, rising to senior sous chef at PAD Asian restaurant in the Manor House. He was part of the Welsh Culinary Association team which served up a St David’s Day reception at No 10 Downing Street this year.

Francesca Keirle – Chef-Owner of Geshmak.

Having worked in education, teaching English for many years, Fran applied for the amateur series of MasterChef in 2014/15 with an aim to explore the possibilities of a career outside education. 

Even though she didn’t win the series, she was very successful with many of her dishes impressing the experience was inspiring for her. Fran left teaching in 2021 and ran a café at a local arts centre for 4 months. 

In early 2022, Fran found a premises on Charles Street in what used to be Hunky Dorys Vegetarian café. After 2 months of renovations, Geshmak emerged from the wreck and Fran has been serving high quality freshly cooked cuisine ever since.

Fran describes her cuisine as fresh, delicious and real and focuses on treating great ingredients well and doesn’t bother with frills. The menu changes frequently and each week dishes come on which explore our beautiful seasonal British produce. Fran believes that food should be delicious, interesting and accessible.  

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