Chefs Pantry | James Sommerin

28 Aug 2016
< 1 min read
James Sommerin is most widely known for his success at The Crown at Whitebrook in Wales where he helped the restaurant gain a Michelin star. He has since gone on to open his own eponymous restaurant, James Sommerin in Penarth. He tells FOUR about his life in ingredients…

Tea had to be mentioned as it is my one vice, I am a huge lover of tea and drink plenty of it! I use different teas in various recipes, from ordinary English breakfast to green tea and even more unusual, a Chinese tea cake called Pu-erh.

Spices play a huge part in my cooking. We create all sorts of dishes using various ingredients. On the menu at the moment we have a desert called pineapple, ras el hanout, fennel, a very popular dish that has had excellent feedback. Spices bring those dishes to life and give what would be a boring dish a new lease of life.

Beef brisket holds a lot of childhood memories for me. My late grandmother taught me all the basics of cooking and her inspiration has made me what I am today. She always said to make sure with any cut of beef: ‘slow cook it and it will fall apart’. That is a method I still use today (although tweaked a little). After cooking the meat she would then make her signature gravy, which is the way I still make a good traditional gravy – it’s a secret recipe!

We are very proud of our cheeseboard and the fact that all the cheeses on it are British. UK cheeses have come on such a lot in the past few years and we definitely give European cheese a run for its money. I am not a huge dessert fan so having a plate of cheese at the end of a meal is always my preferred choice – I love it!