The AA began awarding Rosettes to restaurants in 1956, and introduced the top rating of five Rosettes in 1991. It defines it as “awarded only when the cooking is at the pinnacle of achievement. Flavour combinations and textures show a faultless sense of balance, giving each dish an extra dimension”.
Traditionally, the top accolade of five Rosettes has been announced in September, but inspectors made an exception for the Devon hotel restaurant, stating that it was “felt we could not delay this award until then”.
Gidleigh Park, previously overseen by the chef Michael Caines for 21 years before being taken over by Wignall – himself previously at Pennyhill Park in Surrey ‒, won two Michelin stars in October 2016.
The restaurant offers seven- and ten-course tasting menus, a five-choice a la carte menu, and lunch, plus a wine selection of over 1,300 bins.
Alistair Sandall, commercial manager at AA Hotel Services, said: “Michael Wignall has transferred his exquisite skills and style to Gidleigh Park and has made this undoubtedly worthy of this accolade.”
Wignall said: “This is great news to start 2017 and richly deserved by the brilliant team here at Gidleigh Park. We’re delighted that the inspectors enjoyed their visits to the restaurant and are honoured that they have made an exception to give us this award now. We look forward to welcoming both new and returning guests throughout 2017 and beyond.”
Set on the edge of Dartmoor, Gidleigh Park was built by a shipping magnate in the 1920s, in the Arts & Crafts style.
It is now part of the Andrew Brownsword Hotels collection, which comprises 13 hotels, privately owned by Andrew & Christina Brownsword.
The portfolio also includes seven countryside properties and five city centre ABode properties (including the Abode Exeter/The Royal Clarence, which is undergoing restoration following a fire in October 2016).