Ysgol Pontfadog alumnus, local lad and Adam Gaunt-Evans’ ‘go-to guy’, Oliver Potter, 24, has come a long way since his cheeky chappy days in school, where he confesses his head “just wasn’t in it”. Spotting his potential, Adam stepped in and has since played a leading role in a culinary journey that has taken Ollie, via top restaurants in London and Thailand, to The Three Eagles in Llangollen.
Adam’s own extensive experience has taken him into the kitchens of some of the most prestigious hotels and restaurants across the world; from London’s Dorchester Hotel and the Michelin starred Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair, to Dubai’s 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel and Sydney’s Flying Fish. Ollie counts himself fortunate to work alongside a chef with such impressive credentials who has eagerly nurtured his talent.
At age 17, Ollie was taken under Adam’s wing as a trainee chef when he set up a fine dining restaurant within The Swan Inn, Pontfadog. During this time, Ollie’s skills flourished, and his cheffing potential quickly became apparent. So too, did the professional and personal relationship with his mentor. “Adam and I built a strong bond from the very early days of working together that’s lasted over the years,” he smiles. “We just know how to work with one another and a really solid friendship has developed. We’re good mates.”
After a period at the Machine House in Rossett, Ollie took the opportunity to move to London, just as Adam had in his early cheffing years. “I wanted to advance my career and gain quality experience in high profile, fast-paced kitchens,” he declares. “I worked at one of Paul Merrit’s busiest gastro pubs where we’d have 150 for lunch and 150 again for dinner. It was crazy busy,” Ollie reminisces. “That first year was tough. I wasn’t being ‘walked through’ anything, it was all at a gallop from the get go.”
Ollie happily admits that being pushed so hard gave him an edge, presenting rapid promotion opportunities that saw him progress from demi chef de partie all the way up to holding a junior sous chef position training others. “I got tired of the extreme pace after a while. It was exhausting being in the kitchen for 12 hours or more.” The idea of a more relaxed environment began to appeal. “I like pace in the kitchen of course, and I still find myself wanting others to speed up around me, but I needed some element of calm in my life,” he grins.
The perfect idyllic beachfront lifestyle drew this most personable of young chefs overseas in early 2018 when he took a head chef position at a Six Senses resort in Thailand. “That really was a change of pace.” He laughs. “I loved it, it was beautiful.”
Despite his experience and expertise, cultural and social pressures on the young head chef took their toll. “There were people who brought guns into the kitchen… that got scary.” The disappointment didn’t last long. Coincidentally, Adam was also returning to the UK after a period in the Far East and asked Ollie to join him at an exceptional renovation project in Llangollen, The Three Eagles in Bridge Street.
“We have a great relationship with the owners who are incredibly supportive,” Ollie enthuses. “It’s very collaborative. We work together on menus.” The restaurant’s sensational makeover, seasonal menus, the chefs’ commitment to sourcing local produce, combined with delightful taste influences from their travels, are sure to make The Three Eagles one of the premier destination dining and drinking venues in North Wales.
If you haven’t been yet… go! The food, decor, super friendly service team and ambiance are frankly, awesome.