Contributors > Chef

Michael Wignall

Michael is currently Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park in Devon. 

Michael Wignall’s experience of freshly cooked food and multi-cultural cuisine started at a young age, travelling extensively from the Far East, to the United States and across Europe. Although exposed to a variety of international gastronomy, aspiring to be a top chef was not Michael’s first passion.

As a teen, Michael had a promising career as a professional BMX biker, however, his parents encouraged him to attend catering college. After three years, Michael moved to Spain to experience front of house, authentic cooking and the cuisine the country had to offer.

Upon his return to the UK, Michael’s professional career started at Broughton Park, under Paul Heathcote, moving with him to his restaurant in Longbridge, Preston, followed by a spell working with John Burton Race at L’Ortolan. Following this he headed up Old Beams, Waldo’s Restaurant in Cliveden Hotel, Michael’s Nook and the Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms, earning a Michelin star at each.

Michael joined Exclusive Hotels in November 2007. With a wealth of experience already under his belt and consequently the discovery of his own style and identity, The Latymer became one of the top restaurants in the country. It was awarded its first Michelin star and gained five AA rosettes in 2011 and added the second Michelin star in 2012. Aside from The Latymer, Michael also stagiaires at top restaurants in France and Spain, including Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

Michael produces incredibly complex, technically accomplished dishes. His attention to detail and dedication to the pursuit of perfection in flavour, texture and appearance knows no bounds. His reputation of working with suppliers and producers, ensuring all elements are fresh and sustainable, adds to the faultlessness of his dishes.

Out of the kitchen, Michael’s love for extreme sport still exists- particularly Wakeboarding which still plays a massive part in his life. He also travels the world to find new inspirations and ideas to pair with locally sourced, British produce.

From January 2016, Michael made his move from The Latymer (Pennyhill Park) to Gidleigh Park, Chagford. This was lauded the highest profile culinary takeover of 2016 by the likes of Jay Rayner and within 10 months Michelin announced its two stars retained. In 2017, he was awarded five AA rosettes – the first time the AA has ever awarded five rosettes mid-year, in its 61 year history. 

Photograph by David Griffin