Confirming its reputation as the choice of the UK’s top chefs, commercial kitchen designers and suppliers CCE Group Ltd have just completed the renovation of the kitchens at the prestigious Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington for its Executive Head Chef and leading industry figure Steve Munkley.
Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Steve Munkley originally approached CCE on the recommendation of fellow guild members, many of whom have had their own kitchens renovated or refurbished by CCE, and invited them to tender for the project.
A deciding factor in CCE’s appointment was their ability to offer a turnkey solution from design and fabrication through to fitting, including the renovation and re-installation of existing kitchen equipment.
Both CCE’s MD Ray Costelloe and his Field Design team worked closely with Steve Munkley to realise the chef’s vision, which centred on the design and fabrication of a new Hot Pass, Cooksuite and Meiko Warewasher components.
Steve Munley comments: “I’ve been working in this kitchen for 18 years, so I knew exactly what was needed. I’d done some small refurbishments prior to this, but no major ones, so I needed someone to help me put it on paper and tell me what I could and couldn’t do.
“Over £32 million has been spent on refurbishing the front of the house in the past 3 years, so a major refurbishment of the kitchens and serving areas was due: you can’t have luxury at the front without catering for it properly at the back.
“There were some major challenges to overcome, from fundamental structural changes and refurbishment of the fabric of the building – including floors, walls and ceilings – to a floor plan that optimised work flow and the design and installation of bespoke fittings and appliances.
“A couple of areas in which CCE were particularly helpful was in the re-siting and replacement of the old Meiko wash pot, a legacy of the Sixties, which was in the middle of the kitchen and a real nightmare; and the fabrication of a central hot plate and clear pass without any supporting pillars. The latter was essential in creating a clear area in which to put plates down, yet was nonetheless a mammoth construction of considerable weight.
“At the heart of it all is the Athanor range, a bespoke unit that I designed myself with the aid of Steve Hobbs of Athanor, which we had to stop traffic in Kensington High Street to transport here. It’s a mixture of everything: electric flux, induction, gas, friers and chargrill.
“I took Ray’s advice on the choice of combination ovens and went for Rational, who have the technological edge over their competitors and whose products are incredibly energy efficient. He also put me on to Thermodyne, which is really coming into its own now. We can do over 350 breakfasts, so you can’t cook each one to order, you’ve got to pre-cook.
The beauty of the Thermodyne is that it holds everything hot – bacon, sausages, hash browns, tomatoes and mushrooms – without drying it out.
“In summary, Ray has been very flexible in the way he approached the job, and nothing has been too much trouble. Before the project began he took me on a conducted tour of premises where he’d undertaken similar work – including the installation of the company’s signature hot passes – to see them in operation. Then following numerous site visits and working from general layout drawings to full 3D visuals they translated my vision into reality”.