Born in Caerleon, Sommerin baked with his grandmother on Saturdays as a child. Determined to become a chef, his father secured the 12 year old Sommerin's first Saturday job in an Italian restaurant in the hope of dissuading his son from getting into the industry, but the job only served to convince Sommerin of his vocation.
After school he undertook formal cookery training. Sommerin's first full-time job cooking was as a commis chef at the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel, Llangybi, Gwent. Then, aged 16, he headed to the Farleyer House Hotel in Aberfeldy, Scotland, where he trained further under Richard Lyth, who gave him his under-stated French style.
Returning to Wales to be closer to his family, Sommerin joined The Crown at Whitebrook, Monmouthshire in 2000 as Sous Chef. In December 2003 he became Executive Chef. Under his control, The Crown at Whitebrook gained a Michelin star in 2007, which it retained for seven years until, due to financial difficulties, The Crown at Whitebrook ceased trading in March 2013.
In April 2013, Sommerin announced that he was going to open a new restaurant at Beachcliff in Penarth.
- "Whitebrook chef James Sommerin on Great British Menu". Wales Online. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "BBC Chef Bio's – James Sommerin". BBC Food. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "James". Restaurant James Sommerin. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- "It’s a great place for food". South Wales Argus (Newport, Wales). 11 February 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- Rayner, Jay (16 December 2007). "Rising stars: The chefs to watch in 2008". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "Leading chef James Sommerin’s family are the stars of the show this Christmas". Wales Online. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- "Michelin-starred Crown at Whitebrook closes". BBC News. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
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