Welsh former MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen launched his first restaurant called Cen, or 岑, in a joint venture with the Celtic Manor Resort back in January 2016.
Cen (pronounced “Sen”) is situated in the five-star resort’s Manor House and is Celtic Manor’s first ever Asian restaurant, joining a portfolio of six other restaurants.
Larkin’s family history is steeped in food and cooking – he grew up in his parents’ Chinese takeaway ManSang in Ely, but left to study law and became an employment lawyer in Bristol.
Larkin said, “Cen means innovation and forward thinking in Chinese and, coupled with the fact that I have always had the complete support from my family in pursuing my dream, it seemed fitting that the restaurant should be given my family name. ”
Despite his successful legal career Larkin applied for the BBC’s MasterChef to gain some credibility in the world of food and to display his passion for Asian cuisine – he eventually reached the final three.
Cen restaurant now offers Larkin the opportunity to serve an innovative pan-Asian menu ranging from delicious fluffy, steamed bao buns to succulent sharing platters, and to show people the type of cooking that he knows and loves.
As a word of warning, at £68 for a twist on duck pancakes to share, it’s definitely on the pricey side – but to read my full review of Cen Restaurant which I wrote for Olive Magazine, click here.