A 60-seat Italian restaurant offering lunch and evening meal service seven days a week. The menu provides a wide choice of starters, pasta, fish and meat dishes together with six choices of dessert.
The kitchen operates on a daily delivery of all produce - except Sundays.
The original kitchen is 22sq m in total and is split into three very congested areas: cooking and preparation, dessert preparation, and dishwash and coldstore. The space available for each of these areas is limited, the main cooking area is too small for both cooking and preparation and the amount of available worktop is minimal.
The main cooking and preparation area is separated from the dessert preparation area by a non-load-bearing wall.
The existing ventilation system is not operating efficiently and does not comply with the current gas regulations, which now require the fitting of a gas solenoid valve so that, in the event of either the extract or supply air fans failing, the gas is automatically shut off. This is now a requirement, even when changing one item of existing gas equipment within a commercial kitchen.
The floors are uneven and a potential safety issue in all three working areas. There is no wash-down floor gulley, so cleaning the floor is also a slip hazard.
Refrigerated and frozen products are being stored in domestic cabinets not suited for use in a commercial kitchen environment.
All crockery is being washed by hand in two small sink bowls and dried on plate racks.
There is inadequate storage for the catering staff's outdoor clothing and no provision for lockable storage of detergents.
Contrary to best practice, there is only one preparation sink bowl, which is doubling up for dishwashing after service.
The existing cooking equipment is limited, poorly located and, where difficult to access, a potential safety hazard.
The challenge of designing a kitchen within a small area means trying to comply with all the requirements of the health and hygiene regulations while making sure that the areas flow correctly. You have to take into account the separation of fresh and cooked meats, clean and dirty crockery, storage of both refrigerated and frozen products, cooking, preparation, service, and storage of detergents and catering staff clothing. All these areas have to be covered regardless of whether the site is a small 60-seat restaurant or a large 2,000-seat operation.
In this case, removal of the non-load-bearing wall between two of the areas is recommended to increase the size of the general preparation and cooking area to create greater useable worktop space. Together with the introduction of a suite of cooking equipment, this significantly reduces the operating risks associated with its previous location.
The siting of a compact, versatile 2/3-size gastronorm combination oven in the cooking area means that the number of open-burner boiling tops can be reduced and still meet the menu requirements. In fact, by replacing the existing single-pan fryer with a double-pan model, even more vegetarian food offers can be developed.
As part of a new worktop arrangement, a hot cupboard with part-bain-marie top with two-tier heated shelves above increases the put-down space.
The existing domestic refrigerator/freezer storage cabinets are replaced with commercial equivalents having a greater vertical capacity while maintaining the same footprint.
A second preparation sink is introduced to avoid cross-contamination of raw and cook products. To save on running costs, the sinks are fitted with cold-water-only taps, which also prevents them being used for washing up.
In the dishwash area, in lieu of a sink bowl, a more energy- and water-efficient under-counter dishwasher enables the crockery to be sterilised and dried within the machine.
A small, self-contained workspace area for dessert preparation is furnished with integral refrigeration and freezer space, so there is no need for the dessert chef to use the main kitchen area.
By relocating the hot-water boiler under the staircase, new staff lockers can be introduced to supplement the small staff clothing area.
A small lockable detergent storage cupboard under the existing wash hand basin brings storage in line with the Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations.
The ventilation system is removed and replaced with a new stainless-steel canopy and ventilation system designed to meet the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association's DW172 standards for ventilation, including the gas solenoid valve.
Finally, the floor covering is removed, the floor levelled and a new, even, non-slip tiled floor laid with a gulley to enable all the areas to be cleaned down at the end of service.
Tony Galvin is a partner at A&E Partnership (020 8224 7609, www.aandecateringdesign.co.uk) and a member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International (01483 761122, www.fcsi.org.uk)
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Key to existing layout
1. Four-burner range
2. Wall-mounted grill
4. Six-burner range
5. Single-pan fryer
6. Domestic refrigerator
7. Domestic freezer
8. Under-counter refrigerator
9. Sink units
10. Hand basin
11. Refrigerated fish cabinet
13. Stainless-steel table
Key to revised layout
1. Wall-mounted grill over stainless-steel table
3. Range with two open burners and two solid-tops
4. Double-pan fryer
5. Mobile stainless-steel hot cupboard, bain-marie heated shelf over
6. Refrigerated cabinet
7. Stainless-steel sink unit
8. 2/3 gastronorm combination oven
9. Under-counter fridge and freezer cabinets with worktop over
11. Refrigerated fish cabinet
13. Three lockers