Last July, Exeter City Council unanimously agreed at an extraordinary meeting to bestow the honour of Freedom of the City on Michael Caines MBE.
On Thursday 21st April, after a lunchtime ceremony at the city’s historic Guildhall, Michael ‘drove’ a pair of sheep down the High Street. Those unaware of the planned sheep herding were left a little bemused, but the local press (and I) were out to capture this celebratory and unusual moment.
Michael seemed in excellent spirits, holding on tight as the sheep seemed to behave themselves, even when the occasional press camera was in their path.
It’s been a busy week for the 2 star Michelin chef with an exquisite 7 Chef’s Dinner being held earlier in the week, and the 21st April also being the launch night of the excellent Exeter Food and Drink Festival, of which Michael is co-founder. The festival takes place from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th and is now in its 13th year.
Freedom of the City is an honorary position which the City Council can bestow on anyone who has, in its opinion, undertaken something which is outstanding or has helped enhance the reputation of the city.
As stated on Exeter City Council website – Caines has been recognised for his achievements in the field of cookery. Born and bred in Exeter, Caines has helped put Exeter’s name on the world map as a city that supports cookery.
This year will be the 10th anniversary since receiving his MBE; amongst other projects, Michael is currently working on renovating the former Courtlands House into his own vision that is Lympstone Manor, which is due to open on Valentines Day in 2017.