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James Sommerin

James' contemporary cuisine is inspired by France though keenly British, loyal to good quality local produce and the seasons, light on the stomach – and unique.

It’s fair to assume that James' hero is the food itself. 'I don’t like to overshadow the ingredients,' he says. The key, he feels, lies 'with fantastic produce and treating it sympathetically'. Although his approach is modern, he’s chosen not to deconstruct too much or be fancy for fancy’s sake. 'It’s not about having masses of complicated elements on the dish; you want the main element to really speak for itself. When we serve scallops with Iberico ham, it’s literally scallops and Iberico ham. The flavours are really pronounced and there’s something slightly earthy about it. That’s what it’s all about.'

At Restaurant James Sommerin, menus continue the clever flavour combos that brought James applause in his early days. Sometimes they appear revised; a dish of langoustine and white chocolate now favours turnip and tonka bean over the original fennel, for example. Menus are succinctly scribed with just three to five ingredients disclosing each dish – a bold format that’s perplexing to some, tantalising to others. Jerusalem Artichoke, Egg, Truffle is one example; Turbot, Carrot, Cockles, Ginger is another – unexpected flavour medleys that delight diners.

James Sommerin is a local-boy-done-good, a family man whose wife works in the restaurant and whose daughter is sous chef in the kitchen (with plans to hand over the reigns to her completely in the future). For as long as his cuisine brings class and invention to Wales’s fine dining scene, James' career will continue in the ascendant.

Three things we need to know

James' daughter Georgia works in the kitchen as a sous chef at Restaurant James Sommerin.

Shepherd's pie is James' favourite comfort food.

James likes to serve a few dishes himself each night to talk to diners and see what they like and what they don't.

James Sommerin