Thursday 20th October marks International Chefs Day!
The Cove is part of acclaimed chef Michael Caines’ collection of restaurants in Devon and Cornwall. On International Chefs Day, we’re revisiting one of his interviews from last year where he answered some questions about his career as a chef.
Having studied catering from a young age, Michael began working under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire. His iconic work at Gidleigh Park began in 1994, which was awarded its second Michelin star in 1999. Michael has an abundance of successes under his belt, including the popularity of the Royal Clarence Hotel, the opening of Lympstone Manor, his relaunch of The Cove in Maenporth and The Harbourside Refuge in Porthleven and most recently, the opening of Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant and Cafe Patisserie Glacerie in Exmouth.
When and why did you decide to become a chef?
I grew up helping my mum in the kitchen. All of us kids were given jobs to do and mine was to maintain the garden and cook with my mum to earn pocket money. From there, my intrigue and passion for cooking grew.
How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?
I always say my cooking philosophy is all about taking great ingredients and amalgamating them to produce fantastic, well-presented food. Nowadays a modern chef takes into consideration technical attributes as well as cultural attributes. With cooking, you never stop learning and it never stops evolving.
Are there any chefs you admire and feel inspired by?
Any chef that gets up in the morning is to be respected. My mentor Raymond Blanc is also incredibly inspirational. There are so many wonderful chefs out there cooking amazing food and we are spoilt for choice. One chef in particular who creates some incredible food is Gav Ward. He’s a great example of the new generation of talent who produces incredibly interesting food.
Which dishes do you find the most challenging?
Understanding the art of Japanese fermentation is something that I find extremely interesting. It’s fascinating to learn about new techniques from different cultures and Japanese fermentation leads very nicely into other techniques which are found in Scandinavia. It’s culturally different to what we do here in the UK and yet it still produces such wonderful flavours.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
I would describe my cooking style as bold, technical and with a regional focus.
If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be?
I would love to entertain some of the great leaders of the world and get them all around a table to discuss how they’d put the world to rights. I really like the fact that food brings people together and I’d love to host some of the great minds from the past and present, such as Gandhi and Barack Obama.
Name five ingredients that are essential in any kitchen.
I would have to say salt, garlic, olive oil, butter, and flour. They’re pretty essential.
What is your most memorable meal?
There are so many to choose from. One of them has to be the first Michelin star experience I had ever had at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons before I got a job there. I was 19 at the time and that was amazing.
If you’re interested in experiencing the The Cove, book a table with us today and enjoy incredible local produce with a breathtaking view.