Graham Tinsley MBE

Culinary Director – Culinary Association of Wales
Executive Chef - Carden Park Hotel

After completing my successful apprenticeship at the Midland Hotel in Manchester and winning medals in culinary competitions, I decided to move to Switzerland to work at the Five Star Atlantis Sheraton Hotel in Zurich. I then returned to England and joined the brigade of chefs at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel in London, trained under Anton Mosimann. Mosimann’s innovative approach to “Modern British Cooking” influenced my own menus and appreciation for fresh, local, and international produce.

Following my time at the Dorchester, I spent nine years with De Vere Hotels, starting as a Sous Chef and later becoming the Head Chef at The Daresbury Park in Warrington, Cheshire. During this period, I had a recipe included in the Delia Smith Food Aid Book and received recognition from Cheshire Life and the AA for our culinary excellence.

In 1991, I was headhunted to help develop and open the first 4-star hotel in North Wales, the St. David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe. I then played a key role in designing, opening, and developing the Carden Park Hotel, Spa, and Golf Resort in 1997. For three years, I oversaw food operations, quality, standards, and training at both hotel kitchens and Northop Country Park Golf Club.

In 2000, I formed a partnership with Peter Lavin and together we revitalized the Castle Hotel in Conwy, a 15th-century hotel. We aimed to restore it as a warm and friendly family hotel known for serving the finest Welsh produce. Our efforts were recognized with awards from Cheshire Life and the AA, solidifying our reputation.

In 2010, I returned to Carden Park in Cheshire, managing the kitchens of one of the region’s leading golf and spa resorts. In addition to my role as an executive chef, I have been actively involved in teaching and mentoring young chefs at local colleges, while also participating in culinary competitions and charity fundraising events.

As a captain and later manager of the Welsh Culinary Team, I led the team to numerous successes, competing in various international culinary events and winning more medals than any other Welsh team in history. I played a vital role in achieving national status for the team, allowing us to compete with other nations worldwide.

Outside of my culinary career, I have had the privilege of cooking for Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip on multiple occasions. I have also cooked for the Welsh Assembly, European Heads of State, and had the honour of creating a banquet at Cardiff Castle in honour of the Emperor of Japan.

Throughout my career, I have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the M.B.E. from the Queen for my services to the food industry. I am passionate about promoting Welsh produce and have actively contributed to the hospitality industry and culinary arts in Wales.

In summary, my journey in the culinary world has been filled with diverse experiences, from working in top hotels and resorts to leading the Welsh Culinary Team to international success. I am dedicated to culinary excellence, promoting local produce, and sharing my knowledge with aspiring chefs.