Organisers of the Bangor Christmas Market and Food Festival have announced that award winning chef and star of The Great British Menu, Ellis Barrie, will be making a special appearance at the event in Bangor on Sunday 16th December. Ellis will also officially launch his new venture ‘The Fat Pig Company’ at the event.

Anglesey based Ellis began his culinary journey attending junior cooking courses in a local community college in Liverpool. In 2005, aged 15, he started at the city’s 2 AA Rosette Radisson Blue Filini under Chris Marshall whom he followed to Panoramic 34, also in Liverpool.

After a short sabbatical in Australia, Ellis joined his family in their newly located home at Newborough, Anglesey. He quickly transformed an old potting shed into one of the most talked about restaurants in Wales – the ‘Marram Grass’ – which he co-owns with his brother Liam.

The Marram Grass won the Best Bistro/Brasserie of the Year at the Anglesey Tourism Awards and is listed in the Good Food Guide. Ellis himself has won the prestigious Acorn Award in 2016 as one of the most promising figures under 30 in hospitality.

But it’s his appearances on The Great British Menu that has made Ellis a household name, after winning the North West British Menu Final 2017 this year he went a step further making it through to the Banquet finale.

As well as overseeing the development of The Marram Grass and transforming it into an award winning restaurant, more recently Ellis has been focusing on everything ‘pork’ and concept menus and dishes for the future, demos, tutorials – you simply can’t get him out of the kitchen.

The Fat Pig Company

The micro pig farm on Anglesey sits opposite The Marram Grass restaurant. From hours spent playing on the small holding, Gardd Rhosyr, The Fat Pig Co has been born.

Ellis said “We originally set out to grow vegetables for the restaurant. We jumped into getting some pigs to turn over the land and to get some organic matter and nutrients back into the soil; we got carried away.

“We blame Jimmy Doherty and the Jimmy’s Farm TV series that we watched when we were kids. Ever since then, becoming pig farmers has been buried in our subconscious, so it’s their fault.

“We started trying to rear tasty, outdoor reared pork for The Marram Grass menu. We’ve spent hundred’s of hours speaking to people, watching videos and trying to get our set up right, reading and testing to get the pork as we want it. We were blown away to find how much pork was imported into Wales, and even more so to find how much pork is reared completely indoors. We simply enjoyed getting stuck in with them in the mud outside.

“We’ve now honed into the fact that we want our pork to have plenty of fat to aid the cooking process and for the added flavour. It also means that we are keeping our pigs longer than what’s usually practiced commercially. We keep all the pigs outdoors year round, though the youngsters spend their first 6 weeks inside, in the protection of the sheds if born during the colder months.

“We sell our pork through The Marram Grass and to other restaurants and butchers. We also sell directly to our customers through the shop on site, opposite The Marram Grass on the courtyard at White Lodge Caravan Park.”

Bangor Christmas Market

Bangor Christmas Market organiser Emyr Owen said: “I’m delighted to announce that top chef Ellis Barrie will be attending the event in Bangor on the 16th December, which will also be the launch of The Fat Pig Company.

“The is not only great news for the event but also for local people to have the opportunity to see Ellis and sample his food.

“Ellis will be showcasing his rare breed pork from Anglesey, bacon, chilled sausage and he will also be barbecuing the pork as well.

“We are honoured The Fat Pig Company have chosen this event for their official launch, this is local produce at its finest, it‘s going to be a fantastic event.

“I’m also pleased to announce that The Fat Pig Company will be holding a regular stall every week at Bangor’s Friday Market on the High Street. Bangor Market is going from strength to strength, I’m very pleased.”

Bangor Christmas Market & Food Festival takes place on Sunday 16th December, 10am-5pm, based on Bangor High Street and through the Deiniol Shopping Centre, there will be nearly 100 stalls, including Market Stalls, Street Food and local produce.

Craft stalls will be located in the Deiniol Centre giving the perfect opportunity to buy last minute Christmas gifts. Fun Fairs for both adults and children will be based at Glanrafon car park (by Storiel) and the Canonry car park (opposite the police station by Bangor Library).

The event will also see live entertainment throughout the day and a Free Firework Display at 5pm (assemble near Bangor Clock). This is a Free admission event.

Photo: BBC