The history of the building that now houses Cheal’s restaurant in Henley in Arden is a many and varied one.
But it was the slender dimensions of the grade II listed premises, constructed way back in 1652, which proved to be a challenge of Shakespearian proportions for Birmingham-based dealer, Bournville Catering Equipment.
The firm’s director, John McEvoy, and his team ended up having to take off a banister from the external fire exit and roof area at the back of the building in order to transport all of the equipment to the kitchen areas on the first floor.
Therefore these space constraints had to be taken into account right at the beginning of the design process.
Back in the summer, McEvoy was first contacted by Tony and Matt Cheal about a possible scheme for the kitchen of Cheal’s.
The younger Cheal, Matt, used to be the head chef at Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant in Birmingham and had brought his father, Tony, out of retirement (he was previously one of the owners of the Arden Hotel near the Birmingham NEC) to invest in and help set up this new venture.
All of the building’s interiors, front and back of house, had to be stripped out to convert the structure back into a haute cuisine eatery, as it was before its latest guise as a Thai restaurant.
Bournville worked with Matt Cheal to come up with an equipment specification – with the chef having very definite requirements of using an induction suite, as that was what he got used to for the last few years he was working at Simpsons.