Alison Lea-Wilson read English at Bangor University where she achieved a Ba and a PGCE. She taught for 2 years but quickly realised that self employment was more enjoyable, if every bit as challenging.
In between having 3 children, Alison grew oysters, picked mussels and sold seafood and then started Anglesey Sea Zoo with her husband, David, and a friend. Over 23 years, it welcomed 2.5 million paying visitors and employed over 250 people. Alison took responsibility for the retailing, catering, HR and training.
In 2007 the Sea Zoo was sold to allow both Alison and David to concentrate on growing The Anglesey Sea Salt Co Ltd. It now employs 23 people, exports to at least that number of countries and has blue chip customers ranging from Heston Blumenthal, Pepsi Cola, Waitrose, and Green & Blacks Chocolate among many others.
The 2 businesses have attracted at least 20 awards with notable ones being for raising the level of world gastronomy from European chefs and gaining a 3*** Gold award in the Annual Top 50 Foods in the UK from 8800 entries. This was for Halen Môn Umami Sea Salt, developed with another Welsh business – The Mushroom Garden.
Alison is the food and drink sector representative and Vice Chair of the Anglesey Destination Partnership, a private sector/council partnership set up to attract visitors to Anglesey; Secretary of the Anglesey Farmers’ Market and Chair of Gorau Môn, Best of Anglesey, Food Group.
Her interests outside work are also food-related; cooking, entertaining friends and reading, and she has a mild obsession with sourdough- her ‘starter’ is now 6 years old.
In 2014 Anglesey Sea Salt became a Protected Designation of Origin product and in 2015 opened its new saltcote to visitors who can take a guided tour and enjoy a tutored salt tasting.