IMAGINE enjoying a luxurious dinner in the comfort of your own home, doesn’t that sound great? Well, here in Somerset, you can.

Steve James is a personal chef who will cook a delicious meal from his seasonal menu (or a personalised menu if you would prefer), in your home. Based near Yeovil, he covers Somerset, Dorset and East Devon.

He also hosts pop-up restaurants at Eastfield Farm in Yeovil.

Despite only professionally cooking for four years, Steve’s career has gone from strength to strength. He has won many awards, from the Lux Magazines Travel and Tourism Awards 2019 for Personal chef in the South West and the Culinary Excellence Award for Fine Dining Cuisine 2019.

Yeovil Express:

Growing up, Steve had a passion for cooking but never pursued it professionally. His mum became ill with multiple sclerosis, so he worked in a caring role for many years.

After deciding this wasn’t for him, Steve went into administration but did not enjoy the office work.

On his birthday, Steve was given an interesting present from his mum – a training course with Lesley Waters, English celebrity chef, who is based in Halstock.

He attended the course, went for a few lessons and realised that this was the career path he wanted to follow.

After Steve started assisting at the school, he decided to start his own business: Steve James – Personal Chef. He also offers holiday catering and is in the process of setting up his own Bed & Breakfast in his home in Titinhull.

Steve explained: “I like the idea of bringing a meal to someone in their own house, where they can relax and don’t have to worry about taxis or babysitters.

“It is all about fine dining in the comfort of your own home.”

Steve has cooked for up to 40 people on his own and admits it can be a challenge, especially when he is in someone else’s kitchen. However, he is now an expert and can work with all types of ovens.

All Steve’s menus are seasonal, as he believes local and fresh ingredients are so important. He grows a lot of the vegetables, fruit and herbs that he cooks with on his farm.

He will also only cook fish that is sustainable for that time of year and will only use produce grown in season.

Steve loves good quality meat, particularly slow braised cuts of meat such as pork belly, beef cheeks, pork cheeks and oxtail because he can infuse the flavours for hours and create stunningly tasty dishes.

He is incredibly environmentally aware, particularly when cooking for others, and wants to limit the amount of packaging he uses when buying ingredients for the dishes.

Steve is using ‘Take no Wrap’ in Yeovil, to help eliminate all waste packaging.

Once Steve has decided on the local and seasonal ingredients, he will have an idea for a dish, test it and then tweak it to make sure it is perfect before it is put on the menu or served to clients.

Lesley, of course, is a huge inspiration to Steve when he is cooking, but he has also been influenced by his dad – a brilliant home cook who created many Asian dishes – and his love of travelling.

Steve said: “Going out into local places abroad that serve traditional food is really interesting, learning something that maybe no one has seen before in this country and trying my own version of it.”

Yeovil Express:

One of his favourite dishes to make are deserts. He loves to combine savoury and sweet flavours to make something perfect.

“I like baking cakes, cheesecakes – any kind of cakes really” Steve added. “I also like making deserts that are sweet and savoury.

“I made sesame ice cream, which is quite savoury, but I paired it with a vanilla panna cotta and yuzu jelly, which brings in a sweet element. I am quite well rounded – I enjoy cooking both savoury and sweet.

“I also love making Canapes and Petit Fours. They are different to the main course – they are smaller, more intricate and you can make them look really pretty. They are more time consuming, but I really enjoy making them perfect.

“I love cooking, I can’t keep out the kitchen. It is relaxing for me, I find it therapeutic.”

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