Michael Caines, Gidleigh Park Hotel

The Staff Canteen
Michael Caines

Michael Caines discusses his role as Executive Head Chef at Gidleigh Park and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Michael Caines

Place of work: Gidleigh Park

Role: Executive Head Chef

Bio: With an MBE to his name and two Michelin stars for his restaurant at Gidleigh Park Hotel, Michael Caines has achieved a great deal over the course of his career. After leaving catering college as the ‘Student of the Year’ in 1987, Michael spent time in kitchens of Grosvenor House Hotel, Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Saulieu and Joël Robuchon, Paris. Michael returned to Britain in 1994 to take up the position of Head Chef at Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon, where he has remained ever since.

Follow Michael Caines on Twitter: @michaelcaines

Chef Skills

Michael Caines takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role? 

20 years, so since 1994.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Put themselves in some of the top kitchens and make sure they are applying a patient but the progressive approach in terms of their learning. A lot of people want to get there too quickly and miss the detail, so be patient. But also make sure that you are having a broad base of learning, the industry keeps changing, the way we used to eat 20 years ago has changed and is still changing; the next generation can’t lose sight of why people go out to eat.

The recession has certainly shaped the market to a more casual/fine dine market and there’s been less grand openings and young people need to make sure that they don’t get confused between the technical obsession of cooking and the reality of what people want to eat. What people want to eat is great food with good service in a wonderful environment.

It’s important that a Chef understands that they are not just staff in the kitchen, they have to create around that. Work with the front of house team, have an understanding of the business and what the business is in terms of food cost and creations and regional/sustainable approach.

The best advice I can give is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, to learn and develop your craft over time. Put yourself in the right places and recognise that you should cook great food for your customer with flair and imagination and good attention to detail. Beyond that, you should be training with the right Chefs in various experiences to broaden your options in the future when you want to work within a business.

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Editor 20th April 2017

Michael Caines, Gidleigh Park Hotel