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Representing Wales in Great British Menu 4, James Sommerin is renowned for his intricate creations and modern techniques.
From the age of 8 James’s passion was fuelled by the influences of his mother and grandmother. He used to stay his Grandma’s every Saturday evening they would bake bread together and make toffee. James’s dad got him his first job in an Italian restaurant in Newport, in the hope it would put James off his wild dreams to become a chef!
James finished school at 16 and after a period of formal cookery education James landed his fist job in the kitchen of a local hotel, The Court Bleddyn but was soon enticed further a field. "Further a field" turned out to be central Scotland where he spent 5 years at a well renowned three rosette’d Farley House hotel.
To be closer to his family James moved back to South Wales in 2000 when he started at The Crown as Sous Chef. In 2003 he was promoted to Head Chef and soon began to develop his own style of cooking.
James’s cooking has a distinctive style and confidence and, in his competent hands, The Crown continues to go from strength to strength. This strength and passion has resulted in a coveted Michelin Star, one of only two in the whole of Wales.
James has lots of French influence in his training, he uses foams and gels and the latest techniques, but his style is very intricate. He works from classical ideas with a modern twist i.e. apple pie mouse with rhubarb jelly and a cinnamon doughnut. For James simple ideas served in an imaginative way will always stand out from the rest.
James is constantly thinking outside the box, he incorporates different, cultural influences and combines them with what we all know to be the British classics. He is keen to develop his ideas and is a forwards thinker, as Britain is becoming more diverse so should the choice on his menu. To James, British Cuisine is still very much alive but it’s been taken over by European influences.
James says he doesn’t advocate British cooking, but is a supporter of local produce and is very aware that the quality must come first. James knows the customer is so aware, and will be curious where the produce is sourced, therefore it’s always great for James to be able to tell the guests exactly where it comes from. James is proud to be Welsh and wouldn’t buy meat from anywhere else in the world. 90% of his suppliers are local, only 3 that aren’t.