Michael Caines – Gidleigh Park


M Caines

Michael Caines is one of Britain’s most acclaimed chefs. AA Chef’s Chef of the Year in 2007, and awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry, Michael is an Operational Partner and Director of ABode Hotels and Michael Caines Restaurants, in overall charge of all food and beverage operations throughout the fast-growing group. He is also Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park, the acclaimed and prestigious country house hotel on the edge of Dartmoor at Chagford, Devon, where he has earned his reputation – as well as two Michelin stars – serving distinctive modern European cuisine utilising the finest local and regional produce and ingredients.

In 2000, he founded Michael Caines Restaurants and took over food and beverage operations at The Royal Clarence, Exeter, Britain’s first hotel. A chance encounter with Andrew Brownsword led to the creation of ABode Hotels. Amongst numerous other recent accolades, Michael has cooked in 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister, and he took part in ‘The Great British Menu’ chef’s competition broadcast on BBC2 television for the honour of cooking for the Queen’s 80th birthday.

Early days
Michael was born in Exeter in 1969 and adopted into a large and loving family. He gained his passion for food from his mother who he used to enjoy helping in the kitchen. Says Michael, “I grew up in a large family, and my love of food and cooking came from the big family meals we always shared together, prepared by my mother, who was a wonderful cook. My father loved to grow vegetables and fruit in our garden, and so I grew up appreciating the flavours of the freshest foods, picked that day and simply prepared.”

Michael attended Exeter Catering College where his precocious talent was already evident, earning him the accolade ‘Student of the Year’ in 1987. He subsequently spent a year and a half at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane in London, before embarking on three influential years under his mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. From here he then moved to France for a further formative period of training, honing his profession under the guidance of such superstars chefs as the late Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Joël Robuchon in Paris.