Wesley Sniejder, new landlord of the Merry Harriers, Clayhidon can’t match the £2m a year Dutch superstar for riches or footballing genius, but he is almost certainly a better cook.
Wesley – usually known in the kitchen as Wayne to avoid confusion – started cooking when he was ten because it was the only way he could be sure of a good meal, with his Dutch mum wheelchair-bound and his dad away working. He started his catering business when he was 15, while still learning his cooking skills with Trusthouse Forte.
When he moved to the West Country he renamed the business On the Level, but continued to develop his skills in places like the Headland Hotel, Newquay, the Farmers Arms, West Hatch and the Bell Inn, Curry Mallet.
Since arriving at the Merry Harriers he has introduced The Great British Lunch, with traditional British dishes, and given the evening menu a more international flavour. Gluten free and vegetarian dishes have become an important part of the inn’s offer.
“We are trying to bring the pub back to its glory days,” he said, “We are listening to the customers and they are saying they want it to be more of a pub again and less of a restaurant.”
Since buying the lease from Reg and Lesley Payne, he has replaced St. Austell ales and other imports with locally brewed Otter ales and Bollhayes cider. His game meat comes from local farms, much of his other meat from Wallace’s, just down the road, and fish arrives daily from Brixham.
Wayne also has another business, which is attracting fleets of new customers in exotic vehicles. His ownership of the Brake Horsepower Club enables him to welcome vintage car rallies from all over the south of England. The newly extended car park has been filling with lovingly maintained old Jaguars, Ferraris and Saabs.
Wayne admits his love of vintage vehicles has got out of hand. He owns 14 cars – including a Lotus 503 and “an absolutely evil Escort Cosworth”. You can bet the other Wesley Sniejder doesn’t have one of those.
You can visit the pub online at https://www.facebook.com/Merry-Harriers-396426247231638/?ref=ts&fref=ts