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Cooking up a storm: 9 Welsh chefs doing big things in London

22 Nov, 2023

Welsh people are avid foodies, so it's no surprise that Wales is a place that some of London’s top chefs call home. From Michelin Stars to supper clubs, all these chefs were inspired by their heritage and travels around the world.

Some have even returned to Wales to delight us at home with their culinary prowess and we’re very happy about that!

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Sian Wyn Owen - Head Chef at The River Café, London

Sian Wyn Owen, is in an elite club of women heading Michelin Star restaurants in the UK. Sian dreamt of becoming a chef after learning to cook in her childhood home in Cowbridge, Wales and from experiencing exotic cuisines abroad. Since joining The River Café in 2000, Sian has retained the Michelin Star award presented in 1998 and received the 2018 Food and Drink Award from Fortnum and Mason, for her contribution to River Café 30, a cookbook celebrating 30 years of the River Café. Sian is proud of her Welsh roots and a strong supporter of Welsh businesses. She sources her lamb from the Rhug Estate in Snowdonia, her beef from Cabalva Estate near Hay-On-Wye and keeps an eye out on the blossoming food scene around Wales.

Bryn Williams - Head Chef and Owner of Odette’s, London

Born in Denbigh, Bryn’s interest in food began after visiting a local bakery on a school trip, which he later worked at as a teenager. After working at Cafe Nicoise in Colwyn Bay, Williams moved to London and was employed by Marco Pierre White at The Criterion. He later went on to work for Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche, studied patisserie in Paris and worked at Michelin Star Hotel Le Negresco in Nice, before moving to London to work at Michelin Star restaurant, Orrery

Finding fame from his appearance on BBC Two’s The Great British Menu in 2006, Williams was offered the head chef position at Odette's in London, which he later went on to buy in 2008. Williams is also the owner of restaurant Bryn Williams Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay and Bryn Williams at The Cambrian in Switzerland.

Tomos Parry - Head Chef and Co-Owner of BRAT and Mountain, London

Raised on the shores of Anglesey, Tomos Parry found inspiration in the local Welsh produce, which have become staples of his menus today. Originally, with dreams of becoming a guitarist, Parry wasn’t expecting to pursue a career in food. While studying at Cardiff University, Parry was mentored by Grady Atkins at Le Gallois in Pontcanna, Cardiff, where his passion for cooking was ignited. 

After moving to London at 25, Parry started his professional chef career at The River Café, before moving to Kitchen Table and later on to Climpson’s Arch. Today, Parry owns three successful London restaurants, Michelin Star BRAT in Shoreditch, BRAT in Climpson’s Arch and new venture Mountain in Soho. In 2021, BRAT was included in the 'top 100 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants' as the highest new UK entry to the prestigious collection and has also continuously featured in the top 10 of the National Restaurant Awards, ‘UK Top 100’ list since 2019. 

Dixie Fingal-Rock Innes - Chef and Recipe Writer for Dixie Rocks Food, Dominica Supper Club & Sohalia, Shoreditch

Born and raised in South Wales, Dixie’s parents ran a deli and wine merchants in Monmouth meaning food was always a topic of conversation. 

After studying an arts and crafts foundation course at Cardiff Metropolitan University in ceramics, Dixie moved to London to become a professional chef. Dixie previously featured on Channel 4s The Taste in 2014 and now works part time for social enterprise restaurant Sohalia in Shoreditch. Dixie also runs her own street food business, hosts supper clubs and sells her Pomegranate Ketchup to Selfridges. Recently Dixie has launched her Dominica Supper Clubs to connect with others and celebrate her Dominican heritage.

Jonathan Woolway - Executive Chef and Co-Owner of The Shed, Swansea (coming soon)

Originally from Gorseinon in Swansea, Jonathan Woolway was most recently Chef Director at St. John, one of the world’s most iconic and influential restaurants. It pioneered the “nose to tail” approach, where no part of an animal goes to waste. He recently moved back to Swansea and is using his expertise to embark on a new venture, with the opening of The Shed, located on the Waterfront, in the next few weeks. 

Having studied a Master’s degree in History, Jonathan started his cooking career at a restaurant in Mumbles. In 2008, he moved to London to work at St. John, the year it gained its first Michelin Star. He was St. John’s Head Chef in 2014, working closely with its founders, Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, and became Chef Director in 2021.

Hywel Jones - Executive Chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Colerne

Born in Newport, Hywel Jones had the childhood dream of becoming a professional rugby player but found his second love in cooking. Starting his career with David Nicholls at ‘The Royal Garden’, Jones has gone on to work in two, Michelin 3-Star restaurants; Chez Nico at 90 and Marco Pierre White and gained his first Michelin Star as Head Chef at Foliage, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Hywel is now the Executive Chef at Michelin Star Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park and The Brasserie.

Tom Simmons - Chef Director at Thomas Pontcanna, Cardiff

Having previously worked at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges and having reached the Quarter finals of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2011, Simmons is a well-known name in the food scene. Inspired by his life in Pembrokeshire, Tom Simmons opened his flagship restaurant Tom Simmons Tower Bridge in 2017, highlighting the best of Welsh produce to the London food industry. After moving back to Wales, Tom opened his second restaurant Thomas in 2020 with inspiration from both British and French cuisine, which has been awarded two rosettes.

Angela Hartnett - Chef Patron for Murano, Mayfair, Café Murano in St James's & Covent Garden and Cucina Angelina in Courchevel (France)

Although born in Canterbury, England, Angela Harnett recognises the influence of her mother’s Italian-Welsh heritage in her culinary career. After working abroad in Barbados, Angela returned to the UK and worked with Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine, Zafferano and L’Oranger before joining Marcus Wareing as Sous Chef at Petrus. Hartnett later became Chef patron at Angela Hartnett’s Menu at The Connaught where she gained her first Michelin Star. Since then, Angela has published a book, Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking and opened her own restaurants, including Michelin Star restaurant Murano, in Mayfair London.

Phil Carmicheal - Chef Director at Sirleaf Hospitality

Born in South Wales, Phil found his passion for cooking when working in the kitchen at a local restaurant in Cowbridge. After being trained by Michael Roux Jr in Le Gavroche in the early 2000s, Carmichael worked as Head Chef in Gordon Ramsay’s Maze where he met Great British Menu champion Jason Atherton. The pair later went on to launch Mayfair-based, Michelin Star restaurant Pollen Street Social in 2011 and Berner’s Tavern in 2013. Carmichael is currently Chef Director at Sirleaf Hospitality and is also a well known face on The Great British Menu, competing three times and making it to the finals in 2017.

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