Chef James Sommerin to open first solo venture
James Sommerin, the former head chef of the Michelin-starred Crown at Whitebrook, which closed last month, is to open his first solo venture later this year.
The chef will launch a fine dining restaurant at Beachcliff, the luxury conversion of the historic Edwardian building on Penarth Espalanade in South Wales, in the autumn and hopes to regain the Michelin star he held at the Crown for five years.
Commenting on the launch, Sommerin said: "I am thrilled to be opening my first restaurant and Beachcliff is the perfect location. A restaurant of my own has been a dream for many years and it's incredibly exciting that it's now becoming a reality."
The new 3,500sq ft restaurant, overlooking the Bristol Channel, will accommodate up to 70 diners, with a 55-seat main restaurant and a 10-12-seat private dining room. Its décor will have an elegant yet comfortable feel incorporating local materials such as Welsh slate and locally-sourced woods. There will be a large window into the kitchen as well as a chef's table in the heart of the kitchen.
Sommerin's menus will offer modern British dishes, using the finest local and seasonal ingredients.
"We are now working very hard to get everything up and running ahead of the opening later this year [2013[ and I then hope to get Michelin recognition as soon as possible."
Richard Hayward, the developer behind Beachcliff, said: "We are thrilled that James will be opening his exciting new venture at Beachcliff. Wales has some of the UK's finest food producers and we really wanted a restaurant that would showcase their wonderful produce. We have always been passionate about food and once we had met James - and tried some of his work - we knew he was the perfect fit for the project."
Sommerin trained under Richard Lyth at Farleyer House Hotel in Aberfeldy, Scotland, before returning to his native Wales joining the Crown at Whitebrook in Monmouthshire in 2000 as sous chef. In December 2003 he became head chef and gained a Michelin star in 2007. The Crown closed last month due to poor trading.
Michelin-starred Crown at Whitebrook closes due to poor trading >>