The Caterer

Acorn winners 2016: Ellis Barrie, 27

01 July 2016 by
Acorn winners 2016: Ellis Barrie, 27

Chef-director, the Marram Grass, Penlon, Isle of Anglesey

Nominated by Alison Lea-Wilson, sales director, Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt

Proudest moment "Getting recognition in the Good Food Guide. I also helped cook for the Queen and 90 guests when she was touring Liverpool in 2010."

Greatest inspiration "I started my business at 19 with little experience. Chris Marshall at Radisson Blu's original Filini taught me a lot when I was 15 and Marcus Wareing at Pétrus when I was 17."

Ambition "I have just bought 14 acres and 12 pigs and want to develop a cookery school."

Barrie's love of cooking started at school, when he attended Saturday junior cooking courses at Knowsley Community College, Liverpool. In 2005, aged 15, he started at the city's two-rosette Radisson Blu Filini under Chris Marshall. He went on to join Marshall at the Panoramic in Liverpool, where he learned most of his cooking principles.

When Ellis and Liam launched the venture in a chicken shed in 2009, it started as an all-day breakfast café. He maintained solid principles, sourcing local ingredients and cooking from scratch and, within just seven years, the Marram Grass had gained recognition in the Good Food Guide. The restaurant is now a finalist in the Wales Food Awards 2016.

When it comes to sharing his talents, Barrie is generous. He now employs up to 30 staff and has guided four apprentices through his kitchen. He also works alongside a college in Bangor and has been teaching two 15-year-olds to cook.

As for the future, he recently bought 14 acres and is farming pork and growing herbs and vegetables on the land. The next stage is establishing a cookery school.

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