There’s no place like home, so when an advert to take on Melin Llynnon windmill on the island of Anglesey came up, top patisserie chef Richard Holt gave it his all and is now the proud owner of the last working flour mill in Wales.
The 26-year-old Anglesey-native – who has worked as head pastry chef at Marcus Wareing’s 2 Michelin Star The Gilbert Scott in London and Anglesey’s own Michelin starred Sosban & The Old Butcher’s – had returned home and was contemplating offers at kitchens in London and Paris last year, when he discovered that Anglesey County Council were looking for someone to take on the running of the 18th century mill.
“I saw this as an opportunity rather to do what I do here on Anglesey rather than return to a big city,” Richard Holt told North Wales Live. “What often happens in Anglesey is people develop their skills and then take them away from the island. It was once my dream to leave and work in restaurants in London, now I feel blessed to be able to stay on Anglesey.”
The mill, which sits on a four-and-a-half acre site located on the outskirts of the villlage of Llanddeusant, was orginally built in 1777. It includes five listed buildings, and incorporates two recreated Iron Age roundhouses.
While there were once over 30 working windmills on Anglesey, all had fallen into disrepair by the early 20th century. Melin Llynnon was specifically earmarked for restoration due to it still retaining much of its original machinery, albeit in a deteriorating condition. The grist mill was restored during the 1980s by Anglesey’s then borough council, and the sails at Melin Llynnon have been turning since 1984.
Melin Llynnon remains open to the public as a tourist attraction, and the new management plans to open the windmill to visitors all year round. This is part of Richard Holt’s drive to boost tourism to the island of Anglesey. The pastry chef known for his phenomenal patisserie has already opened a tearoom at Melin Llynnon.
Other plans for the site include to make flour from the only working mill in Wales and to sell it commercially. The Anglesey resident, who is learning to mill flour, has made a number of connections in the village, and has secured wheat from a local who grows it. Richard Holt plans to mill the wheat during the winter.
Another way in which Richard Holt plans to boost tourism to Anglesey is by hosting events at Melin Llynnon including weddings and festivals, as well as for use by community organisations. Having studied music at Cardiff University, Richard Holt also plans to bring live music to the site.
“I have so many ambitious ideas and I am up for the challenge,” he told North Wales Chronicle. “I want to keep alive an important piece of Anglesey’s history, and I want to make a difference to boost Anglesey tourism.”
Image Credits: Richard Holt Facebook Homepage and Gareth Hughes
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com