The pair plan to run the Angel as it is until the end of the year before closing for an extensive refurbishment in the new year.
Subject to the necessary consents, a fine dining space will be created in the building that currently houses the pub’s Wine Cave, while the main building will serve refined pub food.
The Wignalls have gone into partnership with James and Jo Wellock and expect to complete the purchase of the 15th-century, nine-bedroom property by early September.
Michael is one of the UK’s most respected and accomplished chefs and has won a star in every kitchen he has helmed since 1993.
The last two venues he has headed - The Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey and Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon - won and retained two stars under his stewardship.
Johanna is a hospitality management graduate and who worked at Gidleigh Park and Pennyhill Park following a period at Manor House in Castle Combe, Wiltshire.
Made famous by the late chef Denis Watkins and his wife Juliet in the 1980s, the Angel is currently run by Juliet and the Watkins’ son, Pascal. The venue is considered by many to be the original gastropub.
“There is so much affection for the Angel at Hetton and it’s an absolute privilege to take over the reins of this building and play a part in its history and culinary heritage,” says Michael.
“I can’t wait to get back behind the stove and work on dishes for the fine-dining restaurant as well as creating something slightly different for the pub. My food has always been inspired by the fabulous produce that has surrounded me throughout my culinary journey and I couldn’t be in a more stunning setting than Hetton.”
Michael left Gidleigh Park Hotel in January 2018, to pursue plans to open his own restaurant in late 2018.