Two-Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines will step down as executive chef at Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon, to pursue the host of ventures he has spent the past year accumulating.
His final service at the five-red-AA-star, 24-bedroom hotel, which he joined 21 years ago, will be on 3 January 2016. The new executive chef appointed to replace him will be announced later this month.
Caines' departure from Gidleigh Park comes as no surprise having first announced his intention in July 2014 - when he resigned as food and beverage director at Andrew Brownsword Hotels - to undertake outside initiatives.
His key focus next year will be the development of Courtland House in Lympstone, Devon, which he has acquired with the help of outside investors, into a luxury 21-bedroom hotel with a 60-seat fine-dining restaurant. He will also oversee the refurbishment of Palé Hall hotel, a grade II-listed property near Bala, Gwynedd, belonging to former Vodafone director Alan Harper and his wife Angela, a one-time head teacher.
Caines' other ventures include his first overseas restaurant, Pearls by Michael Caines, within the 382-bedroom Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, which opened in Abu Dhabi on 1 October, and two Michael Caines restaurants; one at at Kentisbury Grange hotel, near Barnstable, Devon, and the Townhouse, Oswestry, Shropshire.
In addition, Caines works with the William F1 team on the Formula One motor racing circuit.
Caines joined Gidleigh Park in 1994 when the hotel was owned by Paul and Kay Henderson. In 2005 the hotel was bought by Andrew and Christina Brownsword, two years after they first collaborated with Caines at the Royal Clarence hotel, Exeter.
Gidleigh Park has been awarded two Michelin stars every year for the past 17 consecutive years. In 2007 Caines was AA Chef of the Year, a year after that he was awarded an MBE.
Caines said his departure from Gidleigh will be "emotional", having joined the hotel at the start of his career. "I leave Gidleigh Park with the fondest memories of one of my favourite places on earth, served by an excellent and caring team. I'm proud and confident that we have created a lasting legacy and that whoever takes over from me will be able to build on the fabulous platform that we have created."
Andrew Brownsword said he wanted to thank Caines for "a wonderful 12 years working together" and all his efforts at improving Gidleigh Park and the wider Brownsword Hotels group.
"Since we met in Exeter more than a decade ago, we have been on a journey to keep exceeding our guests' expectations and I am proud of what we have achieved. Today, Gidleigh Park is considered one of the finest country house hotels in the UK, and chefs that have trained with Michael now head up the kitchens at our sister hotels, including Michelin-starred Sam Moody at the Bath Priory and Robby Jenks at Amberley Castle".
Andrew Brownsword Hotels comprises 12 properties: six country house hotels, five Abode hotels in city centres and Sydney House in London. The two Michael Caines restaurants at the Abode hotels in Manchester, Chester and Exeter will operate until spring 2016 when they will be relaunched under new branding.