One of the UK’s most historic theatres has described how it turned the devastation of a kitchen fire into a force for good by using it as an opportunity to modernise its set-up.
Norwich Theatre Royal has been entertaining audiences and playing host to some of the world’s greatest performers for over 260 years. It also has a restaurant called Prelude catering for both the general public and patrons.
Recently a small blaze in the kitchen gave it a chance to refurbish and modernise.
“We saw the opportunity to improve the workflow within the kitchen, as well as giving us capacity to grow going forwards,” explained hospitality manager Steven Wright.
The restaurant has room for between 70 and 80 covers, but it offers pre-show dining for guests which means that it regularly has to serve that number in a very short period of time before the show starts.
Consequently, it needs to have access to the full variety of its ingredients in quantities large enough for it to be able to produce up to 80 meals in an hour, or even less.
It hired local foodservice designers Elite Foodservice Design to draw up an entirely new layout for the kitchen and a range of equipment was chosen for the job.
With refrigeration a vital element of the design, it sourced a selection of kit from Williams Refrigeration for each stage of the production process.
“We have a new walk-in coldroom for bulk storage, a selection of cabinets and undercounter units for ingredients that need to be kept close to hand. Our Onyx prep counter gives staff access to everything they need for making sandwiches and starters,” said Mr Wright.
“The Onyx helps speed up the service during our busy periods, and it holds the temperature rock solid, even with the lids being taken off repeatedly. It’s very impressive technology.”
The theatre also selected a blast chiller, which is mainly used it for cook-chill and means itcan prepare food for the evening service during the day to save time. “It’s a very powerful addition to the kitchen, but very simple to use,” he said.