Welshman James Sommerin got his start in the kitchen as a child, baking under his mother and grandmother’s tutelage.
After a spell at The Cwrt Bleddyn’s kitchen, he ventured to Scotland’s Farleyer House Hotel for five years. Returning to Wales, Sommerin worked up the ladder at The Crown at Whitebrook, where he was Head Chef from 2003 to 2013. It proved to be a successful period for the Caerleon chef, winning a Michelin star and scooping Observer's Chef to Watch prize in 2008.
After leaving The Crown at Whitebrook in 2013, Sommerin opened up his own restaurant in Penarth in the summer of 2014 with his wife, Louise.
Keeping a safe distance from the well-trodden clichés of Welsh cuisine is imperative for Sommerin, who has said of his menus, "I wanted to focus on the more unusual products, to show there’s more to Wales". His offerings attest to Sommerin's originality - Matthew Fort commented, "Smoked eel and pig's trotter? Langoustines, fennel and white chocolate? There is clearly a distinctive palate at work here".
His dishes tend to marry three or four distinct flavours in imaginative combinations. Diners at his restaurants can take advantage of a tasting menu drawing UK ingredients, global influences and techniques from forward-thinking culinary innovators.
Chef to watch
Chef to watch 2008
The Michelin Guide
One Michelin star
The Twenty plus Ten Cook Book
Restaurant James Sommerin
It would be no exaggeration to call James Sommerin one of Wales’s greatest chefs, and his first solo venture in the bustling seaside town of Penarth does no disservice to his talent.
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