Ynyshir has become the first Welsh restaurant to be named the UK’s best in prestigious national awards.
The Estrella Damn sponsored National Restaurant Awards 2022 have named Ynyshir, based near Machynlleth and with Chef Gareth Ward at the heart of it, as the National Restaurant of the Year. It’s the first restaurant outside of England to win the accolade in the award’s 16-year history.
This comes after Ynyshir became the first restaurant in Wales to be given two Michelin Stars in February this year, after receiving their first one eight years ago.
Amelia Eriksson, Gareth’s partner, runs the dining room and spoke of their latest achievement: “We’re just a bit blown away! Especially after everything that’s happened over the past two years, we never stop pushing, we try to be the best possible and even in the hard times push forward.
“This part of Wales is incredible and we just hope that we are helping put it on the food map of the UK and the world!”
Speaking to Gareth, protégé of the Nottinghamshire-based Sat Bains, in February this year, he told the Cambrian News he “fell” into cooking when he was 16 and instantly fell in love.
“I’ve been cooking since I was 16. I never ever wanted to be a chef, it was something I fell into. But the moment I walked into the kitchen, I fell in love with it. There’s nothing else I could do in the world. I live and breathe what I do.
“When I first started at Ynyshir I was just the head chef. After three years, I got the chance to take it on as my own business with a business partner. And it’s just been a huge push from that. We’ve really created a unique style and destination restaurant that’s at the forefront for a lot of people.
“A lot has gone into this place, huge passion, it’s insane.”
He added: “It just shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I haven’t grown up from any privileged background, I’m just a kid from the north east. If you’re determined enough and you have the vision and you push, you can do anything you want to. Nothing is unachievable.”
A spokesperson for the awards said, in an Instagram post: “Congratulations to chef Gareth Ward, and his partner in crime Amelia Eiriksson, whose uncompromisingly edgy Welsh gem Ynyshir topped last night’s Estrella Damn National Restaurant Awards top 100 list and been named the Best Restaurant in Wales.
“It is the first time in the award’s 16-year history that a restaurant outside of Engalnd has claimed the top spot. Ynyshir is a singular restaurant that provides a culinary experience like no other - combining a thumping soundtrack with a succession of tiny plates of punchy, Japan-influenced cuisine cooked over fire.
“Produce is largely sourced locally and much of it is aged in-house and the chefs serve dishes directly to the diners’ tables.”
Gareth said he would, one day, “love to get best restaurant in the world”, and with this new award he takes one step closer to his dream.
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