Upgrading gas kitchen to electric came with threat of £200k bill for famous gastro pub

Michael Wignall, The Angel at Hetton

One of the UK’s most famous gastro pubs has installed a high tech energy optimisation solution after being told by the electricity board that upgrading its gas kitchen to an electric one would cost it £200,000.

The Angel at Hetton, which has been under the stewardship of chef patron Michael Wignall and his wife Johanna for the last three years, decided to completely redevelop the kitchen and bar, with the emphasis on using the latest equipment and efficiencies to create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business.

One of the key changes for the famous 15th century inn, which gained a Michelin star in 2019, was to transition from gas to an all-electric kitchen.

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“We felt very strongly that it was important to move away from LPG gas and over to electricity, to allow us to create an energy efficient kitchen that would be future-proof,” explained Mr Wignall.

However, there was an obstacle: the planned kitchen would create a peak electrical load that would be considerably more than the old gas-powered one had required.

Unfortunately the local substation was already operating at capacity, and the cost to upgrade it, to cope with the new kitchen’s peak load, would have been around £200,000.

At this point, the contractor that The Angel had appointed, CHR Equipment, contacted Ki-Tech Solutions, to see if the company’s Sicotronic energy optimisation system could provide a solution.

The Sicotronic system intelligently manages a site’s electric power consumption, constantly scanning the connected circuits to share and divert power when needed to where it is needed.

Calculations determined that the system could bring the new kitchen’s peak demand load down by over 50%, which would allow the pub to continue with its wish of making the Angel Inn more eco-friendly, efficient and sustainable, and become all-electric.

Kitchen equipment needed to be compatible and connectable to the Sicotronic system, so two Rational iCombi Pro combi steamers were installed in the prep kitchen.

“The iCombi Pros fit seamlessly into our system,” said Mr Wignall. “We’ll be using the iCombis for a wide range of cooking processes, including smoking, sous vide, low temperature cooking and baking.”

With the Sicotronic energy management system, chefs and operators see no discernible drop in performance, as the power is cut to elements only for a matter of seconds when the peak is neared. Equipment can be prioritised, timed or locked out according to operational requirements, and the system can be expanded to non-kitchen applications such as laundry, spa and car charging.

Mr Wignall said: “Sustainability and energy efficiency are hugely important, especially in a rural area. Being the first restaurant to use the Sicotronic linked with the iCombi Pro must make us one of the most energy efficient kitchens in the UK.”

THE BIG FRYER DEBATE: Should you buy gas or electric?

Tags : RationalSicotronicThe Angel at Hetton
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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