Not to be confused with legendary actor Michael Caine (of Miss Congeniality and Batman Begins fame), chef Michael Caines has had a few blockbuster hits of his own, with his restaurants Gidleigh Park, Lympstone Manor and more.
Born in 1969, Michael Caines grew up in Exeter, having been adopted into a large family. His interest in food was sparked by his mother’s love of cooking, and Caines went on to attend and graduate from Exeter Catering College. After being named ‘student of the year’ in 1987, Caines left the college to embark on a three year role training under mentor and world-renowned chef Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Blanc wasn’t the only famous chef that Caines trained under though, as he also spent time in France learning from some of the most revered chefs in the industry, namely the late Joél Robuchon.
In 1994, Caines returned to his home county of Devon to become head chef at Gidleigh Park, a luxury 1920s manor house that now acts as a hotel and restaurant. Tragically, just two months after he had taken up the position, Caines was involved in a horrific car accident, which he remembered as “a pretty bad day at the office” in a 2015 interview with CNN. The accident, which saw the chef’s car flip over, resulted in him losing his right arm and he now cooks with a prosthetic limb. Incredibly, Caines was back in the kitchen only a fortnight after the crash and Gidleigh Park went on to be awarded two Michelin stars, which it held for the entirety of Caines’s 21 year tenure.
In 2016, Caines left Gidleigh Park to realise his vision of owning his own hotel. Lympstone Manor opened in April of 2017, comprising a five-star country house hotel, vineyard and restaurant, which was awarded a Michelin star just six months after opening. As well as his flagship site Lympstone Manor, The Michael Caines Collection also includes The Cove Restaurant & Bar and a new site in Exmouth that is scheduled to open in 2021.
Aside from his illustrious restaurant career, Michael Caines is also an example of a famous chef who gives back. In 2016, he established the Michael Caines Academy at Exeter College, which trains the future generation of chefs, restaurateurs and other hospitality staff, while he has also been at the forefront of Exeter’s Festival of South West Food and Drink since its inception in 2003. The chef’s official title is actually Michael Caines MBE, as he was awarded the accolade in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry, and he has even cooked for former Prime Ministers in 10 Downing Street.
If you haven’t had a chance to eat at one of Michael Caines’s restaurants, you might already recognise him from his regular appearances on TV cooking shows such as Sunday Brunch and Saturday Morning with James Martin.
Want to know more about chef Michael Caines? Check out below to see a whole host of quick-fire facts, famous quotes and where to buy his cookbook.