Meet the chef: Michael Wignall interview

Michael Wignall, new chef at Gidleigh Park, Chagford, speaks to us about his inspiring staff, favourite foodie destination and guilty food pleasure

In my fridge there’s always a lot of cheese and cured meats – I love soft cheese, aged Comté, Lord of the Hundreds English cheese and organic feta. We make our own cured meets at Gidleigh Park, so I usually have homemade mutton and venison bresaola in the fridge.


If you gave me a tenner I‘d spend it on simple, good quality produce – a decent Maldon or Anglesey salt, Cotswold White eggs or Burford Brown eggs, unpasteurized, unsalted butter, and a decent rustic loaf.

My favourite 15-minute supper is stir-fry – English pak choi, prawns and fresh peppers with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli paste – simple and healthy.

My guilty pleasure is a bag of Haribo Tangfastics!

I admire all fellow chefs who have the passion and drive to still be in the kitchen inspiring and teaching people. Seeing my staff maturing and coming up with new ideas is so inspiring. I always ask for their input and each day is a learning process that we embark upon together. I like to teach my staff never to be afraid of failure, as it is important to experiment, otherwise we would never find new exciting combinations.

My favourite country to visit for foodie inspiration is Japan. I am staggered by the respect that the Japanese have for food, culture and each other. Hajime, a three Michelin starred restaurant in Osaka, is one of the best meals I’ve ever had – the service was the best I’ve come across.

I think that the next big food trend should be people not following a trend, but rather believing in themselves to show individuality and personality in their cooking.

On a day off I like to go cycling and wakeboarding in Torbay – I’m so lucky to have moved to an area with so many beaches nearby.

Michael will be at Gidleigh Park, Chagford, from 22 January.

gidleigh.co.uk, 01647 432367

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