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Train of thought: Michael Caines

Michael Caines MBE is the two-star Michelin Executive at Gidleigh Park, a stunning Tudor-style country house hotel in Devon that serves modern European cuisine using the finest local and seasonal produce. 

It has previously been voted Best Restaurant in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants poll. Michael tell us, ‘To be number one is an absolute delight, especially as it was chosen by the public. It’s a wonderful way to champion the South West and put us on the map.’

Exeter born and bred, Michael studied catering there before working in London and France. He returned to Devon in 1994 and has been cooking up a storm at Gidleigh Park ever since. 

“People often travel through Devon 
without realising the full beauty of the place.”

‘I love being back in the South West – Devon is an amazing place to be. With two coastlines, the moors, highlands and lowlands, the scenery is truly stunning. People often travel through without realising the full beauty of the place.’ 

It’s Michael’s love of the region that helps to keep the menu fresh, local and seasonal. He and his team are always on the look-out for the best ingredients. 

‘With spring, you’ll see wild garlic pushing through, and asparagus usually comes in early April. As the seasons change you look forward to new flavours – some things will only be at their best for a very short time.
‘There’s also a long history of farming in the South West – it’s a big part of the heritage.  As a chef, you pick up on that.  It’s very inspiring.’

Living in Devon means Michael can also get back to nature. He particularly enjoys camping in the countryside. 
‘It’s this connection with our surroundings that makes Gidleigh Park so unique.  I want to make the experience special by giving it a strong sense of time and place. It makes it something to remember.’ 

If you're tempted to travel to Devon, journey in style without splashing too much cash by taking the London to Penzance Night Riviera Sleeper - check out the details here