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Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms' story

Chef plating food at Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms

Ynyshir is a Michelin-star restaurant and hotel nestled in the rural market town of Machynlleth, renowned around the world for its unique dining experience. Waves of rich dishes – sourced from Welsh produce, inspired by the world – are served to guests in its luxurious low-lit rooms to a soundtrack of pulsating music, setting up an unforgettable evening for food lovers.

Staff are able to inject their individual creative instincts into the work that they love, with owners Gareth Ward and Amelia Eiriksson valuing character and innovation above past experience while also offering on-the-job training and funding for wine and food accreditation courses to help lift their people to the next level in their careers.

Gareth Ward, Head Chef

When I’m employing a person the main thing I look for is character – either because that character is already there in them, or I can see potential to help develop it.

We take what we do very seriously, but don’t take ourselves seriously. That’s why there’s none of that shouting and throwing things in the kitchen which used to happen at restaurants traditionally – we’re focused on making this a fun and nurturing place to work.

We’ve got a big responsibility to look after the people who work here, and so that means making sure they have enough rest and time to themselves between shifts, which can be really demanding on your energy.

If you want passionate people to work for you and for them to do their best, you’ve got to be your best as an employer to make sure your business is sustainably run and your people are happy.

That’s why we’ve introduced a four-day week to the business, so we work Tuesday to Friday with weekends off. Restaurants like ours don’t need to be open on Saturdays and Sundays, so we can offer great working hours as well as a great salary and a happier environment because of that.

We also have Christmas off, and make sure people can go off on Summer holidays. I appreciate most businesses can’t afford to do that, but the industry is changing and we have to all think harder about how we can help make sure the people who work for us have happy, balanced lives. People want time to live and do the things they want to do – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Patrick McNulty, Sous chef

I studied 3D design and architecture at the University of the Arts, London, but then changed to fashion design and marketing at London College of Fashion. It was through working in kitchens part time alongside my degree that I realised that I had a talent and passion for food.

My love of cooking comes through the creative element of it all, and it’s now my main creative outlet.

People think it’s a completely different career path to fashion or design, but that mentality of not following a process that’s been done before and thinking of something new, it’s exactly the same way I think with my art.

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Amelia Eiriksson, Creative Director

I was working as an architect at my own business when Gareth started working at Ynyshir. When we ended taking this place on ourselves we realised that we could unleash our vision for what Ynyshir could be, and so I left the architectural industry to become Creative Director here.

My job is to craft the overall experience of being at Ynyshir – how it looks and feels. One day I might be drawing and redesigning the restaurant, designing a new door, the look of a new menu, new curtains, or a new bedroom.

We’re adding and producing new things all the time in-house and we have total creative control, which is really satisfying as a creative person. Working in this way allows us to be unique and express our uniqueness as people.

We’re keen to help our people develop and Ynyshir pays for training courses in specific areas like wine accreditation. But we’re also big believers in on the job training, because we’re constantly imparting information and team up our more junior staff with those that are more experienced.

We’re always searching, tasting, seeing, doing, never standing still. And that’s the best way to learn in this sort of job.

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Rory Eaton, Wine and beverage director

When I left college I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do and so I moved to France and ended up working on vineyards picking grapes. I wasn’t really into wine or alcohol really, but when I came back to the UK and needed a job I used my knowledge to my advantage to get work at a bar.

That background was really valuable when moving around to try working at new places like wine bars as well as cocktail bars, Tiki bars, before I eventually came to Ynyshir.

I love the freedom I get to choose what I want to do, to create the menu of drinks we have here, rather than work to targets or goals.

The job is about building a rapport and trust with a customer when they come here so that you can get them to branch out and pair a drink that is perhaps new and unusual or them, but will really enhance their experience and the food they’re eating. Everyone who comes in gets an individual experience rather than something rehearsed.

I also help train less experienced colleagues and it’s great to witness their development and achievements along the way.

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Nicola Amy Evans, General Manager and Events Coordinator

I started off waitressing part-time while I was still in school, and then from there I progressed and started building my career. After coming to Ynyshir I became General Manager and took on responsibility for all the weddings and events that we hold here.

No two days are the same in this industry, which is something I love. Nine to five jobs can be really tedious, compared to here where there’s something new all the time.

Everyone is on their own journey in this industry, and there are many different places you can end up in that are so rewarding. The most important thing for me was to find what I loved doing – and then it feels like it’s not work at all.

I grew up in Machynlleth and so to be able to live and work here is amazing. It’s such a beautiful area and I get to be close to my family and friends.

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