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Acorn winners 2017: Liam Barrie

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Written by:
Acorn winners 2017: Liam Barrie

Managing director, the Marram Grass and Gardd Rhosyr Farm

Nominated by Ellis Barrie, chef-director, the Marram Grass

Proudest moment “Receiving planning permission to make more of our 20-acre site by developing a butchery unit, a tutorial/development kitchen, a venue and a car park.”

Greatest inspiration “I’m constantly inspired every time I eat out or stay somewhere new. There’s always something you can do better or differently, and there’s always higher levels or finer details you can aim to achieve.”

Ambition “In the short term, I’m aiming to get the Marram Grass into a self-organising, profitable business. The restaurant initially depended on me and [brother] Ellis, but over the years we have found some great staff to share out the responsibility.”

Liam Barrie opened the Marram Grass with his brother and fellow Acorn, Ellis, eight years ago at the age of 21. Despite its unusual location in a caravan park in Anglesey, he has taken the business from an all-day breakfast place to a neighbourhood bistro.

More significantly, he has increased the revenue from £15,000 to a predicted £750,000 this year. But instead of taking a decent salary, everything he makes goes straight back into growing the business.

The business, which employs 30 people, already rears its own pigs and has a kitchen garden through Gardd Rhosyr, an open-farm concept that encourages the community to get involved. But Barrie’s vision is even bigger. He is currently overseeing a £500,000 investment plan to build a state-of-the art kitchen, a multi-use venue and an on-site butchery. Reflecting his quest to help youngsters in the area into work, it will also incorporate a tuition centre to provide hospitality courses. He is also designing online tutorial videos, with his latest video receiving 40,000 views.

Certainly, he believes success comes from working with the community. One example of that is the football pitch the business has built in the village for youngsters.

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