Chef-to-the stars, Joe Lynch, beefs up the menu with new deal in Denbigh

A top chef who’s cooked for superstar footballers like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney has formed a “dream team” of his own.

Joe Lynch, from the Con Amici Italian Kitchen and Bar, in Denbigh, has teamed up with award-winning butcher, Williams of Flint, whose other clients include Michelin star eateries.

Business is booming at the restaurant Joe set up nearly two years ago with his business partner Leigh O’Brien, who is the front of house specialist.

Williams of Flint have around a bit longer – the Bagillt-based company is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

Con Amici has always specialised in using local produce whenever possible.

They’re now beefing up the menu with a new grill section after taking on Williams of Flint as their approved supplier.

Joe, originally from Llandudno Junction, inherited his passion for cooking and Italian food from his Sicilian mother and he honed his skills at some of the North West’s most popular restaurants.

They included Piccolinos and Est Est Est in Chester and Alderley Edge where David and Victoria Beckham used to dine along with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand  and Wayne Rooney.

Other regulars included Coronation Street  favourites Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald) and Samia Ghadie (Maria Connor) who’s also been starring in Dancing on Ice.

It was during this period that Joe worked with and became friends with Leigh, who comes from Liverpool.

Their shared passion for good food has developed into a into a highly successful business partnership at Con Amici.

Joe said: “It was always my dream to come back to North Wales and open an Italian restaurant here.  My heritage is Welsh/Italian.

“We believe wholeheartedly in using as much local produce as we possibly can. I don’t see the point of buying cheap ingredients because you get a cheap end product then. That’s our philosophy.

“I think if you look after the product and deliver the product then the rest of the side of the business will take care of itself.

“We have now launched the new menu hence the tie up with Williams of Flint. They are providing us with some absolutely brilliant meat, including steaks to die for.

“The idea of the grill is to showcase all the local meat that we do buy from a local supplier.  We want people to know that we’re Italian but we’re also very much a Welsh restaurant using Welsh produce.

“You can come in and it’s not just about a bowl of pasta and a pizza.  You can have a fantastic steak from the Conwy Valley or the Vale of Clwyd.

“We want people to know that and to appreciate that we’re trying our best to buy local. If Elwy lamb is good enough for Barrack Obama it’s good enough for us.

“We want to support local businesses and the farmers.  All our dairy is local as well, all sourced from North Wales.  We try our best to support local business because at the end of the day we rely on local people to support us.  All these things go hand in hand.”

It was a message echoed by Leigh who added: “Con Amici means ‘with friends’ and that is very much the feeling that you get here. Our customers have become our friends and we feel as if we’ve been adopted by them.

“Whereas other restaurants can be quite rigid, we like to be  quite informal and relaxed.

“We’ve still got the rustic handmade pizza and pasta section within the menu which we’ll always have – and we’ve introduced different kinds of pasta like Bucatini, that’s thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre.

“The menu also includes fresh tortelloni and fresh lobster ravioli along with a host of other pastas you can’t find in other restaurants.

“We’re very, very lucky because the quality of local produce is so fantastic. The quality of the meat and the talent of the chefs working alongside Joe – Andy, Shaun and Josh –  do the meat the justice that it deserves.”

Terry Davies, the Sales Manager of Williams of Flint, who employ more than 40 people, was delighted they had started supplying Con Amici.

He said: “The 80th anniversary is a major milestone in the history of the company and our relationship with Con Amici is the perfect way of celebrating our birthday.

“We supply a whole host of top class restaurants including Simon Radley’s Michelin starred restaurant at the five star Grosvenor Hotel in Chester as well as Manchester City Football Club.”

“We try to source most of our meat locally and our  owner goes to market to see what’s available.

“Our reputation has grown.  The demand for traceability and good quality local meat is there for all to see these days.

“We’re very, very pleased to be supplying Con Amici.  It’s a fantastic restaurant with lots of good reviews.  Our new partnership is the perfect fit.”

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