One of Shropshire’s finest wedding venues, Iscoyd Park is a stunning grade II* red brick Georgian House set in idyllic 18th century parkland on the Welsh/Shropshire/Cheshire border. Having undergone a painstaking refurbishment which began in 2009, the owners of the house, Phil and Susie Godsal, decided in 2017 to bring the catering in house by renovating a former stable building into a modern induction led kitchen.
Since completing the restoration of Iscoyd Park as a wedding venue in 2010, Phil and Susie had relied heavily on external catering companies to provide guests with their wedding feasts. With longer term plans that include kitchen gardens and estate grown produce, the couple decided to bring the catering options in house by building a modern kitchen within the stable block and employing their own kitchen team.
The aim was to create a kitchen that could cater for 160 wedding guests as well as offer a production facility for use on non-wedding days for all the soups, stocks and sauces they would need.
Initially the couple had thought that they would need to install an LPG kitchen, even considering adding an extra LPG tank to cope with the extra demand.
We also had to work with and take guidance from Cadw to ensure that the historic nature of the building was not compromised.
The Design – Workflow
As with all our projects our design team looked at workflow within the space whilst always bearing in mind our design principles.
The client was adamant that there would be no plated regeneration and we therefore had to create a space with as much plating space as we could. As a result the chef now has approximately 7 metres of double heated gantry pass over a 900mm deep counter with task lighting for when heat is not required.
Usual disciplines followed, ensuring that staff and goods had their own entrance away from wedding guests and then that ingredients into the kitchen followed a natural path through sorting, preparation, storage, cooking, plating, serving and finally used dishes back to wash up.
Design – Specification
As has been mentioned there was some discussion back and forth as to whether the kitchen would end up being gas, induction or a mix of the two. Part of the challenge was, at this stage, there was no chef employed by the estate and understandably Phil and Susie did not want to install a kitchen which might put off potential head chefs. Having talked through energy saving, ease of use, cleaning and maintaining and the levels of consistency that could be achieved it was agreed that we would install a series of Ecochef-i modular units to achieve their cooking requirements. The consistency and speed were key for Phil and Susie and when chef David Cox was hired he was 100% behind moving to an induction kitchen. The Ecochef-i modules included a double pan, twin basket fryer, single pan, single basket fryer, 4 x 5kw induction top and an induction plancha. These are housed in 2 x one piece topped frames.
Another important consideration for the kitchen was ease of cleaning. The venue can host 5 weddings per week and the last thing staff wanted to do was to spend extra time ensuring that the kitchen was clean. Where possible we therefore mounted equipment and fabrication on plinths with coved flooring to enable the kitchen to be cleaned very quickly at the end of the evening.
Precision refrigeration was used throughout for the flexibility, Meiko dishwashers proved the right machines to cope with the demands of this busy venue and while the client had initially wanted to install an MKN Flexichef, budget constraints meant that a standard MKN bratt pan was put in to cope with bulk production with a view to adding the Flexichef at a later date.
We initially installed the dishwash/glasswash area in early 2017 as that end of the building was in a better state and it was a part of the existing setup that was in most need of attention. When it came to the main kitchen area we worked closely with the builder, electrician and the client, which meant that we were able to install over a week with minimal disruption to the venue schedule. Both the builder and electrician were excellent in achieving everything we asked of them via the service drawings we provided.
A full day was spent on site with David the chef to go through each piece of equipment and ensure that he was comfortable with using, cleaning and maintaining all elements of the install. As always, each piece of equipment was serialised and listed in the OEM Manual so that in the event of a service call our service department can quickly identify which piece of equipment is affected and where it can be found in the kitchen. Finally, at the time of writing we are putting together a service quotation so that Phil, Susie and David can be confident in protecting the investment with ongoing support.
Having completed the install on time and in budget, we are delighted to report that this kitchen at Iscoyd is now being used to feed guests at weddings as well as for a series of special foodie events that Phil and Susie are hostig.
Following handover Phil said of the whole process “there are a couple of minor snags, which you would expect and that are being dealt with but I have to say we are very happy and the whole process has been very good”
Chef David added to this “The kitchen is not hot, it’s easy to use and it’s easy to clean. What more could you want?”