Date of birth: 20.01.69
Address: Llandegfan, Ynys Môn
Occupation: Headmaster at a Special Needs School
Describe himself: happy, adventurous, foodie
Added information: Sion loves sports, bird watching and walking. He is married to a vegetarian so a lot of his cooking is adapted to suit his wife's vegetarian preferences. He likes cooking spicy food and garlic, chilli and ginger are never far from his kitchen. He strongly believes in using local produce and likes collecting local fruit and herbs. His favourite food is Thai fish or beef and his favourite chef is Jamie Oliver because of his simple but tasty food. If he had to choose a favourite restaurant it would have to be Thalia Thai in Putney, London.
Sion on the experience
What experience stays in your mind?
The week in Spain; too many amazing experiences to list but living day to day without a clue what was ahead was a new experience and exiting even though it was not beneficial to my heart or my mental health!
The readiness of Dudley and the production/filming team to help and make sure that the experience of having a camera shoved in your face daily was not an unpleasant one!
Which challenge was the best and which was the worst?
Best - recreating the dish from scratch.
I enjoyed discovering which core ingredients were in the meal and trying to guess how the different parts were made.
Worst - The first and last challenges for various reasons.
First Challenge - because most of us felt in our minds that we had underachieved, everyone was waiting to be the first to be kicked out.
Waiting for the judgment and decision under the intense heat of the Spanish afternoon sun was torture!
The last challenge - because I had not performed to the best of my ability.
This is still in the back of my mind sometimes, but it's too late for regrets now!
What have you gained from the experience?
Confidence in my cooking because I know that I've cooked for Michelin star chefs and had praise from Dudley in round one.
Describe the experience in one/two words
That's too hard!
Amazing and thrilling ... anyone who has a real interest in food and cooking you have to give it a go next time - you will not regret it!
Sion on the others
Aneira a lovely girl and liked a bit of a tipple in the evening, I'm sure it was either Aneira or Llŵr that were the last to go to bed every night!!
Gethin joker, and group entertainer, a great guy, though emotional at times.
A dangerous man to be in his company!
Hefina a Pen Llyn girl 'can do no wrong' a fantastic cook, I still remember tasting her tapas in round two.
Daniel Dan and Geth became a bit of a double act, always joking.
Ready to risk and experiment in the kitchen- with his cooking that is!
Llŷr it was very hard to keep up with the lad from the Conwy valley, it was obvious that he was a student and kept up to the saying 'work hard/play hard'.
He had fantastic knife skills in the kitchen but needed someone to be his mother to keep his personal belongings - passport Llŷr!!
Huw a man who enjoys food, talks about food, enjoys wine, talks about wine and loves to talk about sport; all of this meant he was great company.
I spent a few nights looking at the sun setting from the veranda with Huw drinking red wine and chatting about everything and nothing like the two men from 'Last of the Summer Wine'!
Wendy Glamorous girl from Caernarfon. I'm sure Wendy's case was like the Dr Who tardis; she had 3 different outfits each day I don't know how they all fitted!
Having Wendy and Emma around the place definitely added to the beauty of the landscape!!
Tower of aubergine, tomato and goat's cheese and a fennel and white bean soup.
Quail with couscous with a sweet sauce.
Churros with chocolate and balsamic vinegar strawberries
Just for fun
If you could take any person in the world out for a meal, who would it be and why?
Without sounding boring and unimaginative, I would have liked to have had a meal with Jamie Oliver at the time when he started his television career.
He's such an enthusiastic chef he makes you want to cook, and he does not do it in a patronizingly way.
As a TV chef, he's broken the boundaries and the myth by creating delicious meals that don't need a grade in chemistry or 6 hours in preparation!!
If you were put on a dessert island with only one meal what would it be and why?
I'm not sure; it would have to be a massive meal if it's the only one I could take! It would have to include rice; I love how rice can absorb sauces.
Even though I have married a vegetarian I would have to include meat in my dish ( sorry Menna!) it would either be a piece of fish like monkfish, cod, halibut or turbot in a Thai curry sauce or beef or venison slowly cooked in red wine with vegetables.
What was going through your mind when Dudley told you that you were going to Spain?
I could not believe that I was through; I'd persuaded myself that I was not going to Spain and had prepared my Oscar face to hide my disappointment, but then I had the shock of my life when Dudley called out my name!
I don't remember much after that only the joy and celebration and embracing the other seven that were through!!!
What were your first impressions of the hotel, cookery school and area?
A beautiful region and the views from the back of the hotel towards Zahara Lake and the fields of sunflowers was simply breathtaking, it's one of the most stunning views I've seen especially in the evening once the sun had set behind Zahara village with a glass of red wine in hand – I want to be there now!
A pretty hotel and well kept gardens and friendly staff. It was amazing to see how the team had transformed the hotels' restaurant to a competing kitchen especially for Casa Dudley.
P.S. To anyone who has an interest in nature and in bird watching especially, the habitat around the hotel was amazing, I saw numerous birds that I had never seen before, fantastic!!
Sea bass with langoustine, celeriac mash and a vanilla sauce
6-10 langoustines in their shells
100g shallots finely chopped
Tomato paste sun dried
80ml Noilly Prat vermouth
2 star anis
½ litre fish stock
200ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Vanilla salt, Halen Môn
- Place langoustines in a saucepan of boiling water with some salt, bring everything to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the langoustine and put to one side.
- Remove the meat from the shell and put to one side.
- Place shells in an oven Mark 3 for 10 minutes to dry out.
- Cut potatoes and celeriac into cubes of same size and place in boiling water with a bit of salt.
- Once soft sieve and place back in the saucepan on a warm hob to dry out.
- Pass the mixture through a potato ricer and add butter, pepper and salt and mix thoroughly.
- Keep mash warm on the hob and stir from time to time to stop the mash from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Trim asparagus.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- To revive the asparagus place in a bowl of ice cold water.
Back to the sauce:
- Add shallots to a frying pan with olive oil until transparent. Add shells which have been drying in the oven and fry for a good 5 minutes.
- Add sundried tomato paste and fry for a minute.
- Add brandy and Noilly Prat, and flame and reduce the liquid by half.
- Add star anise and fish stock and reduce again by half.
- Add double cream.
- Add vanilla seeds and pod.
- Boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Pass through a fine sieve and keep warm.
- Prepare 4 long thin strips of chorizo and prepare small cubes of chorizo same size.
- Add chorizo to frying pan and some olive oil.
- Fry chorizo lightly to caramelise a bit and release the oil from the chorizo. Keep the chorizo pieces warm.
Prepare the fish:
- Trim 4 pieces of the sea bass until tidy.
- Make 3 cuts in the skin of every fish.
- Mix flour with vanilla salt and pepper.
- Put a little pepper and vanilla salt on the fish.
- Add fish to vanilla salted four and shake the excess flour off.
- Heat a frying pan and add some olive oil and wait until it smokes.
- Add fish (skin down) and cook for 3 minutes.
- Turn the fish and cook for a further 1 ½ - 2 minutes.
- Remove fish from hot frying pan.
Serve (2 plates):
- Add the langoustine meat to the vanilla sauce and heat through.
- Fry the asparagus lightly in butter to warm through.
- Add a circle of mash to the centre of the plate and spoon some of the vanilla sauce around it.
- Add chorizo cubes to the sauce.
- Add 3 asparagus on top of the mash and then 2 pieces of the sea bass on top.
- Place two strips of caramelised chorizo on top of the fish in a shape of a cross and serve with a little chorizo oil over the fish and serve immediately!
'Gorau Glas' Cheese Tart with Pears and a Sorrel and Rocket Salad
150g plain flour
125g cold Cadog butter
1 tsp icing sugar
Salt and pepper
For the Filling:
200g Gorau Glas cheese
275g crème fraîche
A knob of Cadog butter
Fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
300ml red wine
100g caster sugar
For the Salad:
Handful of sorrel leaves
Handful of rocket leaves
For the Dressing:
3 tbsp natural apple juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
8 tbsp walnut oil
Salt and pepper
For the Pastry:
- Put the nuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to process into fine crumbs.
- Place into a bowl and add half a tablespoon of water. Knead into a round ball, cover, and place in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- After half an hour, remove the pastry dough and stand for 5-10 minutes before treating.
- Roll the dough until there is enough to fill 4 small tart tins or 1 large one. Cover with grease-proof paper, fill with ceramic baking beans and place in the refrigerator for a further 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
- Whilst the pastry dough is in the refrigerator, finely chop the shallots and gently fry in some butter. Whilst the shallots are sweating, place the red wine in a small pan and add the caster sugar. Heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Whilst the sugar is dissolving, peel the pears and cut into 1cm thick discs.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, add the pear discs to the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- After the shallots have tenderised (around 10 minutes) increase the heat before adding two tablespoons of the wine stock. Stir the shallots until the wine has reduced completely and turn off the heat.
- Place the dough in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pastry, grease-proof paper and ceramic beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the pastry from the oven and cut the cheese into cubes (the size will depend on the size of the tins).
- Place the shallots on the pastry and cover with the pear discs. Whisk the eggs together and add the crème fraîche. Mix together well. Place the thyme leaves on top of the mixture and return to the oven at the same temperature for 30-35 minutes.
For the Salad Dressing:
- Whilst the tart is baking, mix the dressing ingredients. Ensure that the salad leaves are clean.
- Once the tart has cooked (place a skewer through the centre to test) remove from the oven and stand (10-15minutes for a medium tart, 5-10 minutes for smaller ones).
- In the meantime, add the dressing to the salad and mix well.
- Remove the tart from the tin, cutting a slice if the tart is large, and serve immediately with the salad.