Returning to Wales, Sommerin worked up the ladder at The Crown at Whitebrook, where he was Head Chef from 2003 to 2013.
The Crown at Whitebrook held a Michelin star for many years, while the Good Food Guide listed it among its top UK restaurants, and the Observer named Sommerin a Chef to Watch in 2008. 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'.
Sommerin's originality shines through in his imaginative dishes - 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, such as this duck breast recipe with lavender, beetroot and sweet potato. Visitors to his restaurants can take advantage of a tasting menu drawing UK ingredients, global influences and techniques from forward-thinking culinary innovators.
Sommerin left the Crown at Whitebrook in 2013 and is due to open a new restaurant in Penarth in the autumn.
James Sommerin has contributed recipes to the first of the Great British Chefs app. His menus on the app include a seared cod with asparagus, crab beignets and samphire and the most playful - a bubblegum panna cotta.