It’s fair to say that Michael Wignall produced one of our favourite dishes of 2017 as Head Chef at the prestigious Gidleigh Park Hotel. As testament to his outstanding culinary talents, Wignall has won Michelin stars in every kitchen he has headed since 1993 and without a doubt he is one of the South West’s biggest foodie names.
Ahead of Hospitality Action’s Rugby Legends Dinner this April, we caught up with Michael Wignall to find out what his top tips are for aspiring young chefs, as well as what’s next on his busy schedule.
Why did you decide to take part in the Hospitality Action’s Rugby Legends Dinner?
I think that the Hospitality Action charity is very important within our industry and I am always happy to support them. Its also great to have an opportunity to work with some great local chefs.
Do you enjoy the challenge of working with other award-winning chefs?
Yes, of course. Its great to see the different styles, techniques and ideas.
What is your favourite seasonal ingredient to work with right now?
Right now (February) is Yorkshire Rhubarb. Its in its prime right now. The hard work that goes into producing forced Yorkshire Rhubarb is phenomenal – it’s a real labour of love. Rhubarb itself is so versatile, I really enjoy experimenting with it.
If you could describe your food heaven in the form of a dish – what would it be?
My food heaven is simply grilled Langoustines (we grill on a Japanese barbeque – which is lovely), with a squeeze of fresh Yuzu juice and Cornish sea salt.
Do you have any advice for a young person hoping to begin a career as a chef?
Stay grounded! Taste as many different flavours as you can. Be inquisitive and ask lots of questions. Always keep your enthusiasm but ultimately work hard.
Where are some of your favourite places to eat in Devon?
The Elephant, Torquay. Simon is a top chef, I love his style of food.
A great place to go with the family is The Pig Hotel at Combe. I love the atmosphere and the food is really, really tasty!
The Swan at Bampton and The Cornish Arms, Tavistock are both great for Sunday lunch. For both the food and atmosphere which is topped off by fantastic service.
Since your departure from Gidleigh Park, how much can you tell us about what’s next on the cards for you?
I’m working on some exciting projects throughout 2018, whilst I finalise details for my first solo venture I should be able to release details of this soon!