Michael Caines, Executive Head Chef at the Bath Priory

PUBLISHED: 09:07 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:55 20 February 2013

The Bath Priory

The Bath Priory

Michael Caines is making waves at The Bath Priory

This is set to be a significant year for The Bath Priory as one of Britain's most acclaimed chefs takes over at the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant.

Michael Caines has held two Michelin stars at the Bath Priory's sister hotel, Gidleigh Park in Devon, since 1999 and he has built up a formidable reputation for his innovative, modern European cuisine.

At The Bath Priory, he will take on the role of executive head chef, with James Sheridan (former sous chef at Gidleigh Park) stepping up to head chef.

As well as Gidleigh Park, Caines also runs the food side of Andrew Brownsword's Abode Hotels, a small group of boutique hotels that started at The Royal Clarence in Exeter and which is expanding rapidly.

Exeter-born Caines attended the city's Catering College where his precocious talent was already evident, earning him the accolade 'Student of the Year' in 1987.

He subsequently spent a year and a half at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, before embarking on three influential years under his mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxfordshire.

He then moved to France to work for such superstar chefs as the late Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Jol Robuchon in Paris.

Caines returned to Britain in 1994 to take up the position of head chef at Gidleigh Park. Gidleigh's restaurant was already rated amongst the most prestigious in the country so the position represented a massive challenge and opportunity for a young and ambitious chef.

With his classical French training and use of the best and freshest local and regional produce and products from the West Country, Caines has created a style that is uniquely his own, at once classic yet also highly innovative, a fact recognised with the award of a second Michelin star in 1999, which he has retained for the past ten years.

Signature dishes include: Brixham scallop with celeriac puree and a soy and truffle vinaigrette; lobster fricassee with baby vegetables and herbs; partridge with quince puree, braised chicory, marinated raisins and Gewurztraminer wine sauce; chocolate orange confit mousse, orange sorbet and dark chocolate ice cream.

In Bath, Caines says he is trying to create a synergy between the experience at Bath Priory and Gidleigh Park but at the same time keeping the individuality of each house, which is expressed through the style of the cooking.


Gidleigh Park is a country house hotel and Bath Priory is a town house hotel so they are both very different but at the same time they should be able to deliver the same quality and aspirations for the guests,"

says Caines.


Our immediate goal is to prove that what we'

re doing at the Bath Priory will retain its Michelin star.



ll bring an element of my signature dishes to Bath but I have a big enough repertoire and depth after 15 years at Gidleigh Park to make them different.


There will be two tasting menus - a classic one of my signature dishes and one that evolves each week - plus an a la carte of five starters, five main courses and five desserts. We'

ll also have weekly changing lunch and pre-theatre menus.


Sixty per cent of them will be my dishes and the rest will be dishes from the new head chef, James Sheridan and his team because creativity in the kitchen is important.


Also in the kitchen will be former Masterchef winner James Nathan, who has been working at Bentley


s in London for the past few months. Nathan comes from Bristol originally and had his wedding at The Bath Priory.

Says Caines:

"James rang me up and I sort of knew what he wanted before I'd even spoken to him. He's been down to Gidleigh Park and he really enjoys the style of cooking that I do so he knows that he'll learn from us and I'm very pleased to have him as part of the team.


Although clearly happy to be starting at The Bath Priory with one Michelin star, Caines can


t hide his long-term ambitions for the place.


Two stars would be a wonderful ambition for us to have but you have to be realistic. We need to focus on what we'

re doing first of all, but in the long-term two stars has to be an ambition.


Ultimately, we just want people to fall back in love with The Bath Priory and have a wonderful experience.


The Bath Priory Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, Weston Road, Bath. Tel: 01225 331922


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