EYE FOR DESIGN: What does it take to create a ‘fit for purpose’ kitchen?

Kitchen design

What makes the perfect kitchen will depend entirely upon the objectives, priorities and focus of the operator concerned. FEJ picks out five very different kitchen projects from across the market spectrum and hears what aspects of the design and delivery made them such a success.


Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, delivered by Catering Equipment Solutions (CES)

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Nobu Hotels’ first European site in Shoreditch features 148 guestrooms and suites alongside London’s newest Nobu Restaurant. To match the outstanding work of the architects and interior designers, the quality and finish expected of the catering, dining and bar areas could only be completed to the most exacting standards.

CES provided a comprehensive service that included the design, development, installation and fit-out of the kitchen and back-of-house facilities for The Nobu Restaurant & Bar and the lobby lounge kitchen and bar. Its project managers liaised with the architect, several interior designers as well as the construction teams and tradespeople.

Each party — quite naturally — focused on different points and with different priorities and preferences.
CES kitchen designers maximised use of space in the main basement kitchen and upstairs lobby lounge kitchen, which service both the 240-seat restaurant and the hotel’s banqueting, event catering and private dining needs.

Specially sourced and imported by CES from Japan were three Tanaka food display cases, which form the counter between Nobu chefs and their customers.

A crucial part of the project design was to minimise heat output from the basement kitchen and back-of-house areas to reduce demand on ventilation and M&E infrastructure. CES designers utilised ‘remote’ refrigeration to direct waste heat externally. The compressors are sited outside of the kitchen itself and linked to fridges and freezers via dedicated pipework.


SKVP, London, delivered by Catersales

Shree Krishna Vada Pav (SKVP) was an established and successful Mumbai street food business among the Indian community. The London-based chain engaged Catersales to open the brand up to a wider audience, as well as to give it a more professional and more efficient shop-fit.

It rebranded it SKVP, adding new accent colours, snappy graphics and slogans which clearly define what it does and how it does it to a wider audience. It also developed an icon for the company that it has rolled out across the brand. Finally, Catersales overhauled its menu, presenting a new clearer version.

Since working together Catersales has fitted out two stores with service kitchens, as well as a large two-storey production kitchen. It has carried out a complete fit-out including electrics, plumbing, alarm systems, flooring, new toilet installations, extraction design and installation and much more.

Each store has bespoke wall panelling, furniture, front counters and artwork, giving an authentic look and feel to the casual dining concept. The result is a proposition which is coming together as a coherent group of stores, leading the way in Mumbai street food.


The Clink Cafe, Manchester, delivered by Sterling Foodservice Consultancy

Sterling Foodservice Consultancy was commissioned to design The Clink Café in Manchester following the defining role it played in designing the kitchen facilities for HMP Styal’s Clink Restaurant, within a deconsecrated chapel.

The sole aim of the Clink Charity is to reduce re-offending and it does this by training serving prisoners to gain their City & Guilds qualifications and then supporting them upon release. It has achieved incredible results with the lowest re-offending rate in Europe.

The Clink Café has evolved from looking at how it can stop people going into prison in the first place by working with ex-offenders, Clink graduates and also homeless clients as well as other charities such as Centrepoint.

Although space was at a premium, Sterling Foodservice adhered to all H&S legislation to provide a practical and attractive facility. The café is in an ideal situation within the city centre business community and the building is being occupied by several organisations who avail themselves of the amenities.

The cafe will give the charity the opportunity to continue its training and provide its graduates with the chance to achieve their full potential, allowing it to expand its work to help those who need, want and deserve a second chance.


The Science Museum, London, delivered by Fulcrum Kitchens

Fulcrum was asked to partner the Science Museum and provide design, supply and installation for a new event on two floors. Under contract with 8Build and working closely with caterer Moving Venue, the installation of this production/finishing kitchen, to serve 400 covers on each floor, was phased over a 12-week period.

The nature of the building structure and presence of valuable artefacts on the lower floor necessitated careful considerations, especially for mechanical services.

The facility included Rational combination ovens, portable Blue Seal convection oven stacks, a Maidaid conveyor dishwasher, Bravilor bulk brewing coffee system, Instanta bottled water stations, Scotsman bulk ice cuber and a Celltherm roll-in cold room.

Pre-prepared food was to be brought into the Museum and finished in the bank of ovens on the 5th floor. Food service was to vary between a hot beverage and bacon roll (4th floor) to full hot-fork buffets and seated functions. The lines of mobile prep tables, designed to give plenty of laying up/plating space, trending towards the point of service was backed up by six mobile hot cupboards to assist multi-zone service within the event space.

Much of the equipment, including the Blue Seal convection ovens, were mobile to allow movement between floors. Despite delays in construction, Fulcrum’s portion of the project was handed over on time and on budget in December 2018.


The Wild Food Cafe, Covent Garden, delivered by TAG UK

The Wild Food Cafe in Covent Garden called on Stevenage-based catering equipment and design specialists TAG UK to deliver the supply and installation of its kitchen, which produces a plant-based menu.

With a strong emphasis on wellbeing and a culture that focuses on the importance of ethics, TAG was presented with a project brief which would need to comply with those important requirements, including an ethical supply chain and ecological credentials with a holistic approach.

TAG’s design team took the time to understand the company philosophy, the menu and site to create a bespoke, open plan kitchen capable of 70 to 80 covers, as well as acting as a production kitchen for a smaller, existing site already trading.

The kitchen design incorporated a proposed living wall, so no heat- or steam-generating equipment could be situated close by and required the minimum amount of equipment possible to meet the brief, thereby preventing waste.

One of the kitchen’s most unique elements was the installation of a wall of 12 dehydrators. A feature not often seen in commercial kitchens, the client needed to dehydrate nuts, kale, make granola and more.

TAG was able to install the equipment without losing any critical preparation space, creating an ergonomic kitchen capable of meeting its precise menu requirements.


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Tags : designin-depthkitchens
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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