Whitstable-born James Cochran is the successful chef and businessman behind 12:51 in Islington which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. In 2018, he represented London & South East region in BBC2’s Great British Menu with his mushroom starter, ‘Cep-tional’ and was awarded ‘Chef of the Year’ by Eater London. . He returns to Great British Menu for the Christmas edition in 2020, competing against a line-up of the shows previous winners and veteran judges. James also launched his take home offering, Around the Cluck, in 2020 when his restaurant was closed due to COVID 19.
James grew up by the coast in Kent, where he absorbed the flavours and stylings of both his father’s traditional Scottish cooking and his mother’s West Indian creations, learned via her Caribbean heritage. James started his career in food as a chef at Wheelers Oyster Bar where he found his love of fresh fish and seafood. Upon moving to London, James honed his talents in the kitchens of prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants including The Ledbury and The Harwood Arms, where he established his own refined yet experimental cooking style.
James later went on to run the kitchen at James Cochran EC3 between 2016 and 2018, before launching his first restaurant, 12:51, in September 2018 to critical acclaim. Located on Upper Street, moments away from both Angel and Highbury & Islington, the playful menu at 12:51 focuses on high-quality ingredients, much of it sourced from James’ hometown of Kent.