CHR Equipment Ltd delivering profitable solutions to the UK Food Service Industry

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Basically, the brief Simon handed to CHR was to take the existing Elro range and rebuild a sustainable all-electric suite around it, making extensive use of induction and other technologies to conserve energy levels. A new energy efficient salamander grill from MKN was placed alongside the range and another addition also made its appearance – the impressive multifunctional MKN FlexiChef pressurised Bratt pan; it can work as a pan, cooking pot, deep fryer and steriliser; saves time, energy and money on some of the production elements.

However, as CHR’s Scott Walker, who specified and project managed the installation, explains:, “The pressure was really on for us to fast track the project as there was only a small window of time for the installation to take place. From discussion to completion, it took just seven weeks with the actual installation carried out in the two week shut down period. One would normally expect a time frame of eight to 10 weeks all in.”

Simon Rogan takes up the tale. “Although the original kitchen was built to a high standard, and we have achieved a lot in it, it was 10 years old and to be honest not very well thought out as I have been adding to it over that time in a sort of wild ‘happy shopper’ manner. I do have big ambitions, with an eye on my third Michelin star at L’Enclume, so it was high time to extend. At first I was only looking to extend in one area but in the end decided to completely gut the kitchen and start again from scratch. The kitchen has now quadrupled in size but we are still offering the same amount of covers. Being able to produce consistent product in our fabulous new kitchen will be a big help towards earning that third star.”

As well as being spot-on for preparation and cooking, the kitchen also had to look fabulous as there were to be no boundaries between the kitchen and the restaurant.  “The idea was for it to be an inspiration to kitchen staff, waiting staff and customers alike, reflecting the quality brand offered by L’Enclume,” says Simon.

“There are no boundaries – the restaurant is now part of kitchen in one amazing space. With no traditional barrier wall there are no secrets, no mysteries as everything is on view. Guests come into the kitchen and I strongly promote that; it is service at a whole new level. Amazing! This has the added advantage of encouraging even more professionalism in the kitchen as it keeps staff on their toes, working cleanly, methodically and tidily. I really believe this creates a healthy mindset in a creative kitchen,” explains Simon. “And the team respects it – they simply don’t want to let their shiny new kitchen get dirty as they are very proud of it and find it a pleasure to work in.”

Opening up the space to unite restaurant and kitchen called for a full ventilation ceiling to be installed to ensure the whole kitchen would breathe, with air flows designed for a totally balanced kitchen that would not only be quieter than a traditional vent canopy in an open kitchen such as this but also provide the team with an excellent working  environment.

Simon insisted on reusing and/or recycling existing materials and equipment wherever possible rather than manufacturing from new. “Simon has a passion to re-use anything that can be refurbished as he does not like waste of any kind,” says Scott. “Bringing together all aspects into one super-efficient whole, the new kitchen needed to be meticulously designed and built to last for the foreseeable future.”

“Although I was keen on recycling what we could, putting old stuff back into a state of the art kitchen wasn’t going to work so by necessity we have had a lot of new kit and fabrication done. The sustainable solution was to keep a few selected pieces, which have now been ‘recycled’ into the stills-room which is out of sight of diners. It just wasn’t going to work aesthetically with a mish-mash of old and new on show,” says Simon.

Scott comments: “Simon’s recycling philosophy dictated re-use wherever possible of kit that was already proven to work well, so we took a number of existing units back to the factory and altered them to fit, repolishing them to look like new. In the kitchen we focused heavily on bespoke fabrication ensuring every detail was considered from an operational point of view so every last inch could be used to accommodate the way the L’Enclume team works.”

So now the kitchen is up and running to everybody’s satisfaction, what is Simon’s favourite piece of kit? “It has to be the MKN FlexiChef Bratt pan as you can cook difficult things easily in this. In another kitchen I would have more than one of those babies I’m telling you! I would put them first on the list. And I am very impressed with Gram refrigeration. In my view no other manufacturer can match them on energy savings and sustainability, which is very important.”

The MKN FlexiChef, as well as offering many different cooking processes in one unit, delivers high speed cooking in an environmentally friendly manner and allows chefs reliable cost planning. This new multifunctional cooking appliance, with ten different cooking programmes, gives 20% more power and 50% increased performance during searing and browning while the new Turbo PowerBlock technology targets food directly for higher performance and lower energy consumption.

“The L’Enclume commission was another major coup for CHR, which is increasingly being brought in to design and build sustainable, energy efficient kitchens for top rated chefs. For us to deliver a bespoke solution, applying a very fine eye to detail to a double Michelin starred chef in a very old building with sloping walls and floors in such a tight time frame was a challenge indeed. The team at L’Enclume now has a 3-star kitchen environment that will last for many years to come,” says Scott, “And, I am pleased to say, the restaurant re-opened on time.”

Simon concludes “I had very strong views about exactly how I wanted the finished result to look and how I wanted the layout. Scott was completely onside and was a big help in identifying equipment, gadgets and suggesting space saving options in what was to be a very minimalistic space. He was also great at coming up with new ideas to make everything fit seamlessly. Together we came up with the perfect option. We had no previous relationship with CHR, only word of mouth recommendations from other chefs who were pleased with what they had achieved for them. On the basis of that we invited CHR to tender with other specialist companies and I decided they were the best people to satisfy my needs at L’Enclume.

“L’Enclume is a very old building (L’Enclume, meaning ‘the anvil’ is an 800-year-old former smithy) and I knew it was a big ask to extend two areas in the tight time frame I specified. I am very impressed with how CHR got on with the planning, specification and ultimate installation; they dovetailed very well with the tradesmen, working with them and around them and the result is a very high spec finish achieved with ease. It was very good to see”.

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