Brought up in the popular seaside town of Whitstable in Kent, James (known as Ja by most of his friends) started eating seafood from when he was a young boy. His love of food was passed on from his West Indian mother, who would add her own Caribbean flare to English favourites, and his Scottish father, who introduced him to the best of his heritage’s cuisine.
James honed his talents in the kitchens of the prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants The Ledbury and The Harwood Arms, where he established his own refined yet experimental cooking style.
He later went on to run the kitchen at James Cochran EC3 before moving on to open his new project 12:51 on Islington’s Upper Street, where Kentish produce from his hometown takes centre stage. James also took part in the BBC’s much-loved Great British Menu, winning the first ever ‘Champion of Champions’ title in the 2018 series.