Michael Caines MBE is a celebrity Michelin-starred chef best known for his transformation of the historic country house Lympstone Manor in Devon.
As well as running his other acclaimed hospitality offerings, including Kentisbury Grange, Caines is passionate about training the next generation of culinary stars through the Michael Caines academy.
A busy chef, as well as a father of four, he sat down with Billionaire for a quick-fire Q&A.
What is your morning routine?
I normally get up woken by my baby girl who is 16 months now, but I don’t mind. I make myself a double Nespresso; I’m not a coffee snob. I don’t do breakfast as I practice intermittent fasting. It’s the best way to be disciplined as I tend to eat poorly at other times of the day. Then I spend time with the kids before heading out around 8.45.
Where do you live?
Crockern Tor, in the middle of Devon: it’s about half an hour from Lympstone Manor. It’s beautiful, isolated and I love the seclusion away from the public eye.
What would we always find in your fridge?
There’s always a bottle of Champagne or two. Embarrassingly for a chef, there is usually more alcohol in there than food. We often host or go to friends and we never turn up empty handed. There are always cans of Coke Zero in my fridge; it’s my go-to late at night if I’m working and fasting.
What’s your style signifier?
I love my Herring sovereign velvet slippers: they bring a sharp Italian style to a black-tie outfit and look equally great with jackets and jeans. Herring Shoes is a local brand here in Devon that I like to support.
What would be your ‘death row’ meal?
Well, it would be a lengthy one, as I wouldn’t be in any rush to finish. I would start with a towering seafood platter of lobster, crab, scallops, mussels, washed down with perfectly chilled white Burgundy, probably from Chassagne-Montrachet, a sublime terroir. I spent two-and-a-half years in France so I am fussy about wine. Then it would have to be a roast dinner; you can’t beat it. I’d have sirloin steak with dauphinoise potatoes, brussels sprouts and cabbage cooked to perfection, and lashings of Dijon mustard. That would be paired with a full-bodied glass of Pétrus. To round it off, there would be apple crumble with vanilla ice cream and custard. And what better for my final mouthful than a glass of aged Yquem?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Takeaway on a Sunday; Indian, Chinese, Thai, I don’t care. We live out in the sticks and even though I have to drive half an hour there and half an hour back to get the takeaway (by which time I could have made a meal), for someone who lives in the kitchen there is something wonderful about not having to cook.
If your house was on fire, aside from family, what would you save?
The keys to my car. I am a bit of a petrol head and drive a lime-green McLaren 600LT Spider.
What was the best gift you have been given?
I recently became the delegate for Relais & Chateaux for the UK and Ireland. The outgoing delegate Malcolm Lewis gave me a hammer to bang on the table to keep order among the members during a meeting.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Take criticism constructively. That helped me a lot when I was younger. When you put your personal pride aside you can learn a lot from what people see in what you do, good or bad.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I was adopted, and my father was very inspiring to me. But career-wise Raymond Blanc has played a great influence and has given a lot of attention and time to my career.
What is the most recent book you read and loved?
When I’m in the car I listen to audiobooks, and I just finished 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B Peterson.
What is your New Year’s resolution?
In 2023 I want to achieve a better balance; the last three years have taken a lot out of me. It’s been a brutal time for hospitality with Covid, inflation and all the rest of it. Next year, I’d like to get back to normality so I’m not so stressed with work; get to a place where I can do things for myself such as going for a run. The art of delegation is part of it; I need to be better at that.
This article originally appeared in Billionaire's Healing Issue, Winter 2022/23. To subscribe contact
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