My phone rang out at 5:15am and that was the signal, after just 4 hours sleep, to get up get showered, get some Coco Pops down my face and get in the car. My journey was to be 171 miles, and according to the good people over at Google Maps, would take 3hrs 25mins.... TomTom however informed me it would take 3hrs 11mins... who would be right??? I swear you could cut the tension with a knife at this point.
Highlights of this early morning journey were of course the beautiful country side on route to one of the countries top hotels winner of “Hotel Of The Year” in 2009, as well as the unexpected delight of passing Stonehenge at dawn, complete with a few hippies whom were probably wearing all manner of hemp based clothing whilst smoking copious amounts of its illegal cousin no doubt. There was however another reason to be visiting this hotel, and it was mainly due to the awards bestowed upon the restaurant that resides there by a certain tire company that had peaked my interest.
|Some rooms at Gidleigh Park|
|Glorious Devonshire Countryside|
|Not a bad spot|
|The bubbling stream running through Gidleigh Park and its gardens|
|Executive Chef Michael Caines MBE|
During a quiet moment at dinner one of the chefs told me to grab a spoon and try all the different jus' that were assembled by the hot plate. There were quite a few and I cant recall them all but there were such delights as duck and orange, lamb, beef, thai fish, split chicken and about 5 others.... you cant believe how these things tasted... I was truly shocked and couldn't comprehend what I was tasting and was left shaking my head after each spoonful, not because anything was wrong, but because they tasted too good! I was also passed various other bits to try such as a truffled white haricot bean soup, snail risotto, thai purée, frogs legs, duck, venison, halibut, salmon etc etc etc.
So all in all you could say I was a little bit more than blown away by my day in this amazing kitchen what with such an splendid location, friendly and welcoming staff and above all the truly awesome food. It was an experience that will stay with me a long time, and I am hoping to be able to take up the Chefs offer to come back again when I have finished my course.
All that remained was for me to drive back home to Manchester... a journey according to TomTom that would span 254 miles and take me 4hrs 32mins.... which it didn't. It took 7hrs after a few sleeps at motorway service stations and the odd Cadburys Caramel Egg... something that wasn't on the menu at Gidleigh but is also amazing!