Celebrated chef Michael Caines MBE is the co-founder of Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink, which returns for its 14th year over May Bank Holiday 29th April-1st May 2017, patron of the Michael Caines Academy at Exeter College, and is still involved in The Coach House at Kentisbury Grange in North Devon. With a long list of tricks up his sleeve, Michael’s latest venture will be his biggest and most exciting yet.
After leaving Gidleigh Park, where he held two Michelin stars for 18 years, Michael is back with an impressive solo project you’ll want to know about. We caught up with him to discover what’s in store this spring.
Why were you drawn to Lympstone Manor?
It wasn’t a question of being drawn to it, we found each other. I was looking at another property at the time but then Lympstone Manor near Exmouth came on the market and so I had to take a look. Instantaneously I realised it was the place for me. They say all things happen for a reason and that seems to be the case – we had an immediate connection. A huge amount of work was required but I had a clear vision and it was meant to be.
What makes it extra special?
The house’s location and outstanding view make it extremely special. The property is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion, which is more contemporary than other periods so is easier to refurbish and design. However, I think more than anything, it is the location that is breath-taking. The view of the estuary and River Exe is magical.
It’s an exciting project – what are you most looking forward to?
It’s opening in April! I just can’t wait to welcome our first guests into the 21-bedroom hotel and 60-cover restaurant. Oh, and of course cooking in the new kitchen.
How is your new venture going to differ from your previous projects?
Massively! This is the first opportunity I’ve had to fully express myself through to every element of the house itself from the interior to the menu. It’s unique thanks to its setting, the style of the house and the property. What we’ve done to transform it into a hotel and restaurant is unique as it hasn’t been done here before. It’s not often you get an opportunity in your career to be able to do something like this – it’s a massive privilege, which is why I appreciate the trust that my investors put in me to create this project.
You’ve achieved so much – can you tell us about the proudest moment in your career so far?
The two Michelin stars and my MBE are two highlights. Although, I think my proudest moment is yet to come and that will be turning Lympstone Manor into one of the best country house hotel and restaurant in the UK, and perhaps even the world.
Which chefs have most inspired you?
There are three chefs I worked for. The first was Raymond Blanc. His inspiration was brilliant and he taught me that there are no boundaries in cooking, as well as how to accurately season and understand the palate – not to mention Raymond’s passion for working with the seasons. From there I moved to Paris to work for Bernard Loiseau. He taught me the importance of regionality and how to fully extract flavour. The third chef is Joe Robuchon. He was so precise and disciplined. As a mentor and as a friend, Raymond is someone I’m still very close to and he has provided me with a lot of advice and encouragement in my career.
COMPETITION – WIN A PRE-OPENING LUNCH FOR TWO
When it comes to being spoilt, there are few places as luxurious as Lympstone Manor. If you’re just as excited about the opening as we are, listen up. Michael and his team are giving one lucky winner and their guest the chance to experience Lympstone Manor with an exclusive pre-opening lunch (dates to be confirmed). The winner will indulge in Michael’s impeccable, original modern British dishes within the opulent surrounds of the country retreat’s fine dining rooms.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill in your details below and we will announce a winner on 28th February.
TERMS & CONDITIONS:
By entering this competition you agree to be bound by the following terms & conditions:
- A VOUCHER WILL BE ISSUED TO ENTITLE THE WINNER AND THEIR GUEST TO AN EXCLUSIVE PRE-OPENING LUNCH
- THE LUNCH PRIZE MUST BE REDEEMED WITHIN THE SPECIAL OPENING PERIOD, DATES TO BE CONFIRMED
- THE VOUCHER MUST BE REFERENCED AT THE TIME OF BOOKING AND PRESENTED FOR REDEMPTION ON THE DAY
- VOUCHER MUST BE USED ONLY AS SPECIFIED
- LUNCH MUST BE PRE-BOOKED AND IS SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY
- THE VOUCHER IS NON-REFUNDABLE, HAS NO MONETARY VALUE AND IS NON-TRANSFERABLE. NO REPLACEMENT CAN BE ISSUED FOR A LOST OR STOLEN VOUCHER.
- TRANSPORT IS NOT INCLUDED
- OPEN TO RESIDENTS OF THE UK AGED OVER 18
- PRIZE IS NON-TRANSFERABLE
- NO CASH ALTERNATIVE
- ADDITIONAL COSTS INCURRED ARE PAYABLE BY THE WINNER
- VOUCHER VALIDITY IS NON-EXTENDABLE
- CERTIFICATE ITSELF HAS A MONETARY VALUE OF 0.01P
- OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY
- ENTRANTS MUST BE 18 OR OLDER
- THE PRIZE SHALL BE AWARDED AT EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD & DRINK’S DISCRETION.
- THE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AFTER THE CLOSING DATE OF 28TH FEBRUARY 2017 AND WILL BE PICKED AT RANDOM AND CONTACTED BY EMAIL. IF NO RESPONSE IS RECEIVED AFTER 7 DAYS, ANOTHER WINNER WILL BE PICKED
- ANY INFORMATION SUBMITTED WILL BE SHARED WITH EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD & DRINK, FOOD & DRINK GUIDES AND FOOD FESTIVAL FINDER.