The second Chef Eats Out event of 2017, in association with Udale Speciality Foods, will be held at the two-Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon, on 3 April. Book your place now!
Stepping into the shoes of food legend Michael Caines wasn’t going to be an easy task for even the most technically adept chef, but Michael Wignall hit the ground running when he assumed the reins at Gidleigh Park in January last year.
Taking over the kitchen after a 21-year period of culinary dominance from Caines, Wignall effortlessly slipped back into the guidebooks securing two Michelin stars for the Dartmoor hotel in September, followed by five rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide in January.
While Wignall is classically trained, a childhood taking in adventures in the Far East, the US, Europe and East Europe opened his mind to a whole host of cultures and foods from a very early age. Despite the lure of a career as a professional BMX rider, fortunately for us, his parents swayed him to try catering college which he saw out before heading to Spain where he worked both back and front of house.
On returning to the UK in his early 20s, he joined Broughton Park in Preston, where he worked under the guidance of Paul Heathcote, before he moved to the chef’s flagship restaurant in Longridge. A period with two-Michelin-starred chef John Burton Race followed at L’Ortolan in Shinfield, Berkshire, before Wignall headed back north to Old Beams in Waterhouses, Staffordshire.
Wignall was always destined for the stars, and won his first Michelin star while working under Nigel Wallis at Old Beams. A star followed swiftly at Waldo’s restaurant at Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire, before he moved to Michael’s Nook in the Lake District where he equalled the accomplishment. The Burlington restaurant at the Devonshire Arms in the Yorkshire Dales in 2002 followed suit, and then he secured a star at the Latymer restaurant at Pennyhill Park in 2009, but achieved the feat of being promoted to two stars in 2012.
Today, Wignall still boasts an inquisitive and open mind when it comes to cooking. His food is described as distinctly self-styled, and it is both perfectly formed and of the highest gastronomic order. He says that recent travels, to the Fast East and Japan in particular, have influenced him hugely in determining the direction of his menus which demonstrate clean flavours, pared back presentation and simple elegance.
Speaking to The Caterer earlier this year, he says: “I’m forever evolving my dishes. I get bored quite easily and so I like to experiment with my food, but not to the detriment of the dish. These days, customers and staff alike like lighter dishes but the flavours are all there – everything is put on a plate for a reason and every ingredient should be allowed to shine through.”
Chef Eats Out at Michael Wignall at Gidleigh Park will celebrate the chef’s award-winning cuisine, serving seasonal dishes using vegetables and herbs picked from the luxury country house hotel’s kitchen garden.
His incredible, seven-course menu includes celeriac and shell (celeriac dashi, Salcombe crab, avocado, pork and chia seed, marinated scallop); sweetbread (calves sweetbread, Dorset snails, smoked ricotta, truffle, Jerusalem artichoke skin); umami (umami broth, master stock chicken, garlic panna cotta, frozen lovage, tapioca cracker, pennywort); cassoulet of clams (cassoulet of razor clams, cockles, squid gnocchi, quail egg, cuttlefish crisp); lamb (best end of Lakeland lamb, salsify in milk and rosemary, anchoiade dressing, calcot onion, hen of the woods); rhubarb (Yorkshire rhubarb, ginger, Tahitian vanilla, burnt white chocolate); and hazelnut (praline parfait, caramel, bitter chocolate, frozen yoghurt).
The event for 40 lucky diners will begin at 12 (noon) and lunch will be followed by a tour of the kitchen. Chef Eats Out is expected to finish at around 3pm.
Chef Eats Out provides diners with an exclusive opportunity to experience the culinary excellence of outstanding restaurants and chefs. We are delighted that the venue for the next event is Michael Wignall’s restaurant at Gidleigh Park. Michael is a passionate supporter of all things British.
Udale Speciality Foods is delighted to join forces with The Caterer this year to host Chef Eats Out. It is especially encouraging that chefs such as Michael, who strive for excellence, demonstrate confidence in their suppliers. Innovation from suppliers such as Udale Speciality Foods, with its new Himalayan salt chamber, is essential, and we are thrilled that Michael will be serving our dry-aged lamb, along with our sweetbreads.
Udale Speciality Foods aims to build an on-going relationship with chefs by sponsoring Chef Eats Out events, as it continues to show its commitment to the hospitality industry.
How to book
Click here to book a place at this unique event, at a cost of £70 per person inclusive of service and VAT.
Cancellations can be made without charge up until 24 March, after which all cancellations will be charged at full price.
If your reservation for lunch is successful, rooms at Gidleigh Park can also be booked from £250 for bed and breakfast.