The Crown at Whitebrook, near Monmouth, has been named the best restaurant in Wales in The Sunday Times Food List 2012.
Located in the tiny Wye Valley village, the Crown uses 90% Welsh produce in its delicious tasting menu.
Executive chef, father of three James Sommerin, aged 34, who is originally from Caerleon and now lives in Pontypool, gained his first Michelin star at the age of 28. The Crown at Whitebrook, a three AA rosette restaurant, gained a coveted Michelin star in 2007 which it has retained ever since.
The Sunday Times Food List is compiled in collaboration with Harden's, whose own restaurant guides base their ratings on the views of diners who eat out regularly.
The Crown at Whitebrook has moved up 30 places to 60 in the top 100 for 2012 , with a score of 9.23 out of 10 after being placed at 90 in 2011.
James said: “This recognition from The Sunday Times and Harden’s further underlines the consistent excellence we have achieved at The Crown at Whitebrook and the high regard in which we are held by the most important people of all-our customers
“The extremely hard working team that we have at The Crown, from front of house though to the guys in the kitchen, is quite exceptional.
“I’m delighted that we have been singled out in this way by The Sunday Times and Harden’s for this very welcome recognition of all the effort we put in to ensuring a trip to The Crown at Whitebook is a truly memorable experience for all of our customers.”
Jonathan Davies speaking on behalf of the owners, Crown Hotels and Restaurants, said: “This is another very exciting accolade and yet more positive recognition, this time from The Sunday Times and Harden’s , for The Crown at Whitebrook , its exceptional team and our Executive Head Chef James Sommerin.
“The fact that the chart is compiled from the views of the public makes this acclaim even more valuable, meaningful and special.”
Second on the Sunday Times Top 100 Wales list is Shaun Hill’s The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, a new entry at 82 and score of 9.15, and third is Tyddyn Llan at Llandrillo, Denbighshire, is at 88 down from 76 last year with a score of 9.14. The other restaurants which make up the top five in Wales are The Hardwick, in Abergavenny and Mint and Mustard, Cardiff, neither of which are placed in this year’s Sunday Times top 100.
Karen Robinson, Editor of The Sunday Times Food List, said: “The Sunday Times Food List is the ultimate taste test. It represents the views of the food-loving public rather than a clique of food critics or anonymous restaurant inspectors telling us where to go and spend our money.”
The full 2012 Sunday Times Food List, listing the top 100 restaurants in Britain, was published in The Sunday Times on Sunday, October 28.
James Sommerin recently returned with junior sous chef Michael Hendry, from a week long stint representing the UK at a prestigious cultural event in Singapore. The St Regis Singapore British Arts celebration was supported by the British Council and also the British High Commission Singapore. The 45-day celebration of British culture comes after the hotel showcased Spain, Russia and Japan in 2010