Patrick Powell, the former head chef of celebrity haunt Chiltern Firehouse and now head chef at The Stratford Hotel, has described his new kitchen as the best he has ever worked in having taken receipt of it before lockdown.
Mr Powell oversees Allegra, a fine dining restaurant and bar on the seventh floor of the London venue that serves modern European cuisine blended with authentic old-school hospitality.
He worked closely with foodservice design consultants Tricon to ensure the kitchen he leads was everything he imagined it would be.
“I gave Tricon some sketches of how I’d like the kitchen to look, I had assessed the floor space that we had and planned out on paper what I thought would work and handed it over to them,” he explained. “They took the drawings and told me what would and what wouldn’t work from what I had envisioned and we developed the design together.”
Despite being a blank canvas, there were a lot of obstacles within the design. It was a difficult space in terms of drainage, and the extraction had to be pulled the whole way across the building to provide the kitchen with natural light.
There was also a tricky stairway that had to go in the middle of it all which caused a number of issues.
Mr Powell said there are two stand-out elements to the Allegra kitchen that he believes takes it from a good to a great kitchen, and this is down to the design and equipment Tricon implemented into the project.
Firstly, he was set on incorporating an Athanor cook-suite into his dream kitchen having used one before while working at Wild Honey in Mayfair.
“I told Tricon what I would like, and they made so many really great suggestions to create and refine what I wanted. The cook-suite has been amazing, there have been zero issues with it.
“It’s a tank of a stove; it just doesn’t stop and it’s easy to clean which is a real perk. Every time you leave service it looks new again. Ben [Harrington, head chef of sister restaurant Stratford Brasserie] and I both have one in our kitchens; we’ve found they’re really efficiently laid out. They’re efficient in the energy that they use, it’s an absolute machine of a thing, it’s amazing.”
On the outdoor terrace, meanwhile, a Robata Grill has been designed and fitted for the summer months.
The woodfired grill adds a whole other layer to the kitchen allowing Mr Powell to cook with fire as well as using induction equipment in the kitchen.
“It’s the nicest kitchen I have ever worked in and pre-Covid, we showed it off to a lot of people. When we had visitors, we always made sure to show off the kitchen and we hope to be able to do that again in time.”