The day Michael Wignall decided to give up on his dream of becoming a professional BMX biker was a fortunate one for foodies the world over. Had he not, the world of gastronomy would be a somewhat barren place without his technically sound, often elaborately presented yet strikingly honest cuisine with its simple combination of textures, flavours and ingredients which complement each other rather than, in Michael’s words, ‘jostle for position on the tongue'.
After college, Michael spent some time in Spain working in a small restaurant. On his return to the UK, he landed a job working for chef Paul Heathcote at Broughton Park in Preston and then at Paul’s restaurant in Longridge. But Michael’s time with chef Heathcote was just the beginning of a long, prosperous culinary career. He then went on to work under the tutelage of master chef John Burton Race at his Michelin starred restaurant L'ortolan and later at several other celebrated UK-based restaurants, including The Cliveden, Michael’s Nook and The Devonshire.
In 2007, Michael opened Michael Wignall at The Latymer at Penny Park Hill in Surrey. As well as two Michelin stars, Michael and Michael Wignall at The Latymer have since gained the title of Best Restaurant Newcomer of the Year in the Which? Good Food Guide 2009 and five AA rosettes awarded by the coveted AA Hospitality Awards in 2011.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...
Taste, texture, visual, original and technical.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Everything around me inspires me. Architecture, art, the obvious...food, travel, reading and I think most importantly trying other people’s food. My team in the kitchen really inspire me. I like to get my whole team, from commis upwards involved in creating new dishes, experimenting, tasting etc. I love getting all of their feedback and ideas and running with those. We all feed off each other.
If you could take a plan ride to anywhere in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
Japan. Since being a small child the Japanese culture has always fascinated me. I love their style of cooking. The respect they have for food and culture, is a lesson for all of us.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
A fishing line, a really good knife and a surf board!
- 2 Michelin stars
- 5 AA Rosettes
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