Michael Andrew Caines was born in Exeter in 1969 and was adopted by Mary and Peter Caines.
His passion for cooking came from his mother, Mary, who he used to enjoy helping in the kitchen. Michael attended Exeter Catering College and in 1987 won ‘student of the year’. After leaving the college, he spent 18 months working in The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London. The next 3 years were spent under his mentor, Raymond Blanc at his 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, before a stint in France working under such greats as Joël Robuchon and the late Bernard Loiseau.
In 1994 when Michael returned to the UK, he took up the Head Chef’s position at Gidleigh Park, a kitchen which had held a Michelin Star since 1981 and at the time was rated one of the very best in the country. Unfortunately, 8 weeks into his new position, due to the long hours he had been working, Michael fell asleep at the wheel of his car along a section of the M4 in Gwent, South Wales and collided with the central reservation, the accident regrettably resulting in the loss of his right arm and very nearly his life.
Astonishingly, just two weeks later, Michael returned to the Gidleigh Park kitchen and was full time again after four. This determination and unwillingness to give up in the face of adversity would be what ultimately lead him to being awarded numerous accolades during his 21 years at the helm, including his second Michelin Star in 1999, an MBE in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry and AA Chef’s Chef of the Year in 2007.
In 2011, Michael combined two of his passions, when he partnered with the Williams F1 Team, to bring his talent to the teams hospitality facility over race weekends.
At the beginning of 2016, Michael left Gidleigh Park to pursue other ventures which include the creation of his own country house hotel, that is set to open in the spring of 2017.