Adventures (12)

Oxford pub manager wins national hospitality award

9th June 2014: An Oxfordshire pub manager has been named one of the brightest young stars in his industry by winning an Acorn Award. Owain Llwyd Jones, who runs the busy pub The Fishes at North Hinksey in Oxford was one of only thirty young achievers in the country to win the national award at a ceremony at The Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire on Monday 2nd June.

Owain, 27, was named an Acorn after demonstrating what he has already achieved in his career and by proving to the judges that he has a strong vision and determination to succeed in his chosen field. He joins 29 other talented young people working in hospitality, in restaurants, pubs, hotels and catering companies, to earn the title.

He also joins many of the greats currently working in the industry, figures such as Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Michael Caines, who were similarly singled out for recognition and went on to achieve great things in the food and drink world. In an industry that employs almost two million people, just 810 have ever earned the right to put the words “Acorn Award Winner” on their CV, putting Owain in very distinguished company.

“I’m really proud to win an Acorn Award which is a really massive thing in our industry, and hugely prestigious,” says Owain. “I’ve worked with a few Acorn winners in the past, including Corin Earland1 our former head chef here at The Fishes and Gareth Banner at The Marriot Group, who was one of the youngest ever Acorn winners. To be put into the same category as those inspirational people, and others like them, is truly amazing.

“Advice from my father, who said I should do what I love for the rest of my life, started me out on this career path, and it’s advice I’ve always appreciated. I love what I do and by working hard, taking advantage of all the opportunities that have come my way, and with the support of my family, I feel I have achieved a lot so far. Having this officially recognised is just fantastic, though, I never expected to win anything as big as this.”

Currently at the helm of The Fishes, a pub where he first learnt his trade after graduating in 2007 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management at Oxford Brookes University, Owain has worked at several of the Peach pubs across the county including The Fleece in Witney and The James Figg in Thame.

He also did a stint at The Hilton in Cardiff, where he was restaurant and room service manager, and ran The Corner House also in Cardiff for the Premium Country Dining Group before returning to Peach in the autumn of 2012.

Designed to acknowledge flair and reward good work, each year the Acorns recognise 30 people under 30 who are nominated by their peers and colleagues for having made an impression in their field. Those who succeed in the awards are invited to take part in an Acorn weekend and awards ceremony, as well as become a lifelong Acorn, widely seen as a helping hand up the hospitality industry ladder.

Hamish Stoddart, co-founder of Peach, who has worked with Owain since he started at the company, said, “When he joined us from Oxford Brookes as a graduate trainee, we instantly felt Owain was a special character. He arrived with raw talent and an evident love of pubs but at that time not necessarily the skills to make a difference. Owain grabbed the opportunity to learn industry and restaurant knowledge, service skills and management ability. He set about developing himself personally, to acquire all of these skills.

“We set him two years of extreme challenges at Peach including opening The James Figg in Thame, and at each stage his enthusiasm and natural flair combined with a little coaching from the team proved to him and us that this man is a star in the making. After continuing to take The Fishes from strength to strength, we hope he’ll ultimately go on to run one of his own pubs or become a partner with us.”

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Written by Peach People

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