Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall recently underwent a refurbishment, installing a brand new £250,000 kitchen. Diane Lane reports.
The kitchen at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall has a very special purpose. Not only does it serve up its signature style of Italian-inspired rustic food in the magnificent setting of Watergate Bay, Newquay, it also serves as a training facility for young people aged 16-24 through the Cornwall Foundation of Promise.
Following a three-week closure for an extensive refurbishment, the restaurant reopened in February with a new £250,000 kitchen. Head chef Andy Appleton, previously part of the team at Fifteen London, had clear intentions in what he wanted to achieve. "In terms of standards I wanted a London restaurant in Cornwall," he says. "We have to fit in a lot of bodies because it's a training kitchen and there are 18 in the brigade not including the apprentices."
The installation, carried out by Space Catering, presented its own challenges, with equipment having to be craned in because of the restaurant's location halfway down a cliff.
The old kitchen wasn't ideal for restaurant service. "There were two separate areas that food was going from," says Appleton. "So we wanted to open it up and spread the load. That's how the island was born."
Besides the work surfaces around the edges of the kitchen, the chefs are also able to make good use of the expanse of work space provided by the flat surface of the cooking suite. Appleton is also a big fan of the planchas. "We did consider induction but we do mainly direct cooking," he says. "The two planchas at the back are real workhorses, and since we reopened we haven't cooked any fish in a pan."
Appleton describes the Josper oven as his "pièce de résistance" and having seen some in action in London, was quick to add it to his wish list. "I really wanted one," he says. "As a training kitchen you have to look at what to teach; there's skill in learning to cook on real fire."
The kitchen also has two Rational White Efficiency SelfCookingCenters - a six-grid and a 10-grid. Refrigeration is local to each section and comprises Adande insulated refrigerated drawers and Foster Eco Pro G2 refrigerated counters with a mix of drawers and doors.
There are two Rational White Efficiency SelfCooking Centers - a six-grid that proves invaluable at breakfast service and a 10-grid located in the pastry section to take care of all baking requirements.
The Josper oven gets through four 5kg bags of Tregothnan Mereworth organic woodland charcoal a day. It is used to cook all the veg at 200oC in the morning, then runs at 300-350oC for cooking most of the meat, including steaks cooked to order and lamb legs, and also monkfish and whole mackerel.
The planchas at one end serve as a solid top for pans of sauces and soups. Others are used for direct cooking, and the radiant hobs facilitate breakfast service and can also hold a stockpot or a large pot of lobsters.
The wash-up area had to be revamped and is now equipped with a Winterhalter GS515 pass-through machine. The ‘dirties return' section had to be reconfigured due to the original entrance being closed off, so a new hatch was installed to get around this.
Foster Eco Pro G2 refrigerated counters are used for service with all sauces and garnishes stored within.
Elements incorporated into the Athanor island suite include one single and four double planchas, two radiant hobs, a 1/1GN multi-cooker and a gas oven. The surface of the suite, measuring a 4,700mm by 1,280mm, also provides additional worktop space between the cooking elements.
It's impossible to miss the bright red Sirman flywheel slicer, which takes pride of place on the counter-top at the front of the kitchen. It is hand-operated and able to produce wafer-thin slices of meat, such as Parma ham, for the popular antipasti dishes and platters.
A dedicated pastry area featuresa marble inlay set into a stainless steel unit, a Vollrath counter-top mixer and its own Rational combi-oven.
The antipasti section is at one end of the kitchen, close to the curved bar where diners can graze on a selection of small plates such as arancini con aioli -balls of risotto in crispy breadcrumbs served with aioli; and buffalo mozzarella with chargrilled pear. The section is self-contained, with its own fryer and a couple of portable induction hobs.
Three sets of Adande refrigerated drawers were retained from the old kitchen and, says Appleton, provide good space for multiple uses.
The whole kitchen area has been opened up, introducing an element of theatre to the dining experience.
Adande 0844 376 0023 www.adande.com
Athanor 01908 745500 www.signature-fse.com Foster Refrigerator 0843 216 8800 www.fosterrefrigerator.co.uk
Josper 0845 504 8050 www.jestic.co.uk
Mereworth organic charcoal 01872 520000 www.tregothnan.co.uk
Rational 0800 389 2944 www.rational-UK.com
Sirman & Vollrath 01355 244111 www.fem.co.uk
Space Catering 01452 383000 www.spacecatering.co.uk
Winterhalter 01908 359000 www.winterhalter.co.uk