A £7m project at Northcote, a luxury hotel in the Ribble Valley, included the creation of a unique working environment inthe kitchen for chef Nigel Haworth. Diane Lane reports
When asked to compare his new £380,000 kitchen with its predecessor, Nigel Haworth utters the words "chalk and cheese".
The kitchen is part of a £7m project at Northcote, the luxury hotel on the edge of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, where chef-proprietor Haworth has plied his trade, along with business partner Craig Bancroft, for the last 30 years, and held a Michelin star since 1996.
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The kitchen space is now two-thirds bigger, thanks to an extension housing a suite of coldrooms and prep areas, and the design incorporates a dedicated breakfast area, and a glass-washing area separateKitche to the dish and pot wash. Haworth and his head chef, Lisa Allen, enlisted the expertise of CEDA (Catering Equipment Distributors Association) member C&C Catering Equipment in creating what he describes as "a unique working environment".
"The whole idea of the design was to have everything close at hand and Lisa and I worked extensively on the minutiae," he adds. "Lisa didn't want any shelving or clutter so it's all about clean lines, enabling chefs to be more calm and creative."
The design is open plan with flexibility â¨built in. "Areas are busy at different times and can expand and contract as needed," says Haworth, who was able to get a sense of how the design would work from the BIM Revit modelling software used by C&C to create a 3D model of the kitchen in minute detail.
Prep areas are plentiful and each has its own refrigerated storage built in to the Goldstar stainless steel fabrication; consequently upright refrigerated cabinets are completely absent.
A room housing a chef's table for 12, doubling as a cookery school for eight run by Michael Vanheste, occupies a prime position opposite the long arm of the pass with views of all the action on the cooking suite beyond.
A self-contained breakfast area comes complete with a Charvet cooking suite incorporating two gas burners and a plancha with an Adande insulated drawer for refrigerated storage, a deep-fat fryer and a salamander grill
Bakery prep is carried out on marble-topped mobile stations and the production kit behind includes two Thermaline bratt pans
The Meiko dishwasher and glasswasher feature built-in heat recovery â¨to re-use the steam generated from the machines and eliminate the need for dedicated ventilation
The previous kitchen relied on four portable cabins outside to house fridges and freezers, but the extension has enabled the installation of a suite of Universal Cooling coldrooms
The main cooking suite is a bespoke Thermaline range from Electrolux. Haworth and Allen visited the factory in Switzerland and chose to include two planchas - each with four independently controlled zones, two induction hobs, a bain marie and a rise and fall salamander. Gastronorm-sized warming drawers on both sides of the suite provide a holding facility for meat. The ventilation canopy is by Britannia.
A prototype solid-fuel oven developed with local company ESSE can reach temperatures up to 700Â°C and is used to give smoky flavours to steaks and fish
The L-shaped pass, with a nine-camera CCTV system and hot cupboards underneath, provides a vast area for plating up and allows Haworth and Allen to see the whole kitchen during service
Across from the main pass is a generously sized multi-prep area, with a corner given over to a controlled-environment chocolate room furnished with marble worktops and a chocolate holding tank
Raw prep is carried out in a dedicated area close to the suite of coldrooms, rather than in the main kitchen area to avoid cross-contamination
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