How Michael Caines' Location Influences His Signature Dishes

They say home is where the heart is. Maybe it's true of the palate, too. At least that appears to be the case with Michael Caines' palate. The acclaimed British chef who grew up in southwest England has earned three Michelin stars –all at restaurants within 25 miles of his hometown of Exeter. Michelin bestowed the first two stars while Caines was heading up the kitchen at Gidleigh Park in Chagford. He earned the third at Lympton Manor in Exmouth, an enterprise he opened in 2017 (via Lympstone Manor).

Caines has made it his mission to showcase local ingredients throughout his illustrious career. It's a trait he traces back to childhood. The youngest of six, Caines was adopted as an infant (via Devon Live). He grew up cooking alongside his adoptive mother, relying extensively on homegrown ingredients (via Cuisine Noir).

"We had to grow our own stuff so dad grew vegetables and mom turned them into lovely, wholesome food. It was very much a lifestyle," Caines told Cuisine Noir in 2014. And, it's a lifestyle he continues to embrace; a choice that sets him apart from the pack.

Doing it his way

Michael Caines is one of England's most acclaimed chefs and is credited with introducing the world to modern British cuisine, according to Relais & Châteaux. He takes pride in showcasing locally inspired food at Lympton Manor where he changes the menu weekly to ensure he's cooking with only the freshest ingredients. Cuisine Noir says Caines' culinary style is modern-European-meets-West Country. Caines agrees: "When creating signature and winning dishes, I have always championed great produce, in particular, local produce in the area of the South West."

But, it's about more than utilizing garden-fresh produce as Caines also relies on local suppliers for meat and sources. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Consider a sample tasting menu — Taste of the Estuary — at Lympstone Manor. The multi-course celebration of local seafood showcases Lyme Bay scallop ceviche, Confit Loch Duart salmon, shellfish ravioli, barbecued sea bream, and butter-poached turbot. The exclamation point on the meal? Rhubarb mousse.

While Caines is open-minded about personal food preferences, he's adamant about introducing diners to his style and the bounty of the region he calls home. "The thing about being a chef of high quality, there is an element that what you are doing represents you and therefore people are going to take the meal for what it represents," Caines told Cuisine Noir. "I am conscious of the fact that palates do differ but I don't adjust my cooking style."