One of the most formative periods of training for Michael was the time he spent in Burgundy working under the great French chef Bernard Loiseau at his country house hotel and restaurant in Saulieu.
“Bernard taught me the importance of terroir,” recalls Michael, “that all great cuisines are rooted in the products, produce and seasonal ingredients of their own locality.”
When he returned to Devon in 1994 to take over as Head Chef at Gidleigh Park, Dartmoor, he immediately began to seek out a network of local suppliers whose produce and ingredients would supply the raw ingredients for his modern British/European cuisine.
“I was fortunate for here on my own doorstep, in my own home region, I had a larder that is unrivalled anywhere. I have gone on record as saying many times that the South West doesn’t just have the best larder in the UK, it has the best larder in Europe!”
Fabulous fish landed at Brixham, Newlyn, Exmouth; outstanding and rich dairy products including artisan cheeses, cream, clotted cream, and milk; meat from native breeds such as the Red Ruby cattle, from lambs raised on upland farms, free-range pork, and more; vegetables that thrive in the rich and fertile soil of Devon; and foods foraged for free on moorland, heath and cliffside: all of these and more form part of a unique West Country larder that is simply outstanding.
Michael’s belief in seasonality and regionality means that this strong ethos is central to his cuisine and to the supply of ingredients and produce. At Lympstone Manor, Michael has developed strong relationships with suppliers like Darts Farm, Greendale, Flying Fish, Lyme Bay Winery, Salcombe Gin, Quickes Traditional, Sharpham Cheeses, and many more, relationships that go beyond business and which are based on mutual understanding, respect, and personal friendship.