He suffered the loss of the whole of his right arm in a car accident soon after, but went back to work after only 4 weeks. In 1999 Gidleigh Park won a second Michelin star. Michael stayed with Gidleigh Park until early 2016, but had concurrently become involved in other business ventures, including the purchase of the Royal Clarence Hotel with Andrew Brownsword and then the development of the ABode Hotels chain.
Since leaving Gidleigh Park his main interest has been the purchase and redevelopment of the old Courtlands mansion overlooking the Exe Estuary near Lympstone. This has involved him in finding financial backers and specialist consultants, gaining planning permission and, after the appointed contractor was removed from the site for overrunning programme and budget, taking on the overall project management of the remaining building and refurbishment work.
The new hotel, named Lympstone Manor, opened in April 2017 and within 6 months it was awarded a Michelin star. Besides all these activities Michael does a lot of charity work and assists those starting out in the catering profession with his Academy at Exeter College. An engaging and charismatic character, Michael gave us a fascinating talk about adversities overcome on the road to ultimate success.