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An original thanks for new Swansea bistro

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 30, 2012

Chris Pearson with the Andrew Vicari artwork

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A NEWLY-OPENED bistro has had an early seal of approval thanks to Port Talbot-born artist Andrew Vicari.

Mr Vicari tucked into lunch at The Gower Kitchen in Uplands Crescent, Swansea.

While there he drew staff their very own piece of original work. Pieces by him can sell for millions.

The picture, drawn by one of Britain's richest artists, is now set to take pride of place on the bistro's wall.

He dated and dedicated the picture: "For The Gower Kitchen Swansea after the great meal".

Joint owner Chris Pearson said he hadn't recognised the artist but after striking up a conversation he quickly realised who his famous guest was.

Luckily for Chris, the artist said the inspiration for the drawing, on the back of one of their brunch menus, was the food, and not his sister-in-law, Chloe Chapman who was working behind the bar.

"I just thought it was a really nice thing to do," he said.

Mr Vicari was visiting his home county from his home in Monte Carlo. Chris and business partner Stuart Galder set up the business after moving to the city with their respective girlfriends — who both hail from Swansea.

"We were both working as chefs and wanted to do our own thing and this is the sort of place we'd go," he said.

And it's not just Mr Vicari who has given it star approval since its opening three weeks ago.

Swans player Ashley Williams tweeted them after stopping by for food.

"Long may it continue," said Chris.

Mr Vicari is ranked at 869 on this year's Sunday Times Rich List, with a fortune of £85 million. The list charts the 1,000 richest people and families in the UK.

His Italian parents moved to South Wales in the 1930s and he grew up in Neath. He studied at Neath Grammar School, before studying at Swansea School of Art before moving to London.

His art has taken him all over the world, in 1974 he became the official painter of Saudi Arabia where he made his millions.

But he has kept his ties to Wales and in 2002 he was the first artist to produce a 7ft piece for the Millennium Stadium worth £250,000.

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