Dawnay Arms benefits from 25th Eco-Chef installation

The 25th Eco-Chef to have been designed and supplied by CHR since its launch in 2012 has been installed in the Dawnay Arms Inn.

The historic inn, built in 1779 is situated in the picturesque village of Newton on Ouse, at the gates to Beningbrough Hall and is owned by chef Martel Smith and his wife Kerry, a former Hilton Restaurant Bar Manager.

Martel had seen Twitter activity last year about CHR’s Eco-Chef installations at Castle Dairy and Wellocks and was intrigued as to what the company could do for him.

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“Originally when I first spoke to Scott Walker at CHR last year, my Bonnet suite was in need of some work which was going to cost in the region of £3,000-£4,000. I asked him if we could fund a new all electric suite on fuel savings as I couldn’t afford to simply fork out £50,000 from my own pocket for kit.

“I wanted to reduce my hefty gas bill of £11,000 pa (albeit £2,000 for heating) and move away from gas completely. At the same time the floor needed redoing so it all seemed to come together. I’d been following Twitter conversations about CHR’s previous Eco-Chef installations, and we are also a customer of Wellocks which is very happy with its suite, so we went and saw Eco-Chef in action.

“On top of that I already had some CHR experience having worked in some CHR installed kitchens in the past so I knew I’d be happy with them as they are bespoke in what they do.”

CHR Project Manager Scott elaborates: “The driving force for Martel was the potential energy savings of an all electric Eco-Chef over his gas range. The idea was to pay for the new cook suite with the energy savings as the overall goal.

“When Martel moved to The Dawnay Arms from his restaurant in Leeds he brought his Bonnet suite with him and had it reinstalled as a wall suite. Martel had always worked on Bonnet gas suites and knew them inside and out, and he wanted to ensure the quality was there with anything new.

“However, after a visit to the factory where CHR’s Eco-Chef is built any concerns he had on that score were put to rest and he was ultimately convinced to make the change. Nevertheless, replacing the Bonnet gas wall suite was not going to be easy and we had numerous revisions to the kitchen layout for Martel as we aimed to get the island range he desired.

“Also being a very old building access was difficult, and when Martel explained how his old gas range was lifted in with a wall removed to the kitchen and built up after, the decision to build the Eco-Chef range in sections made delivery and installation very simple and kept closure to a bare minimum.

“The new island suite comprises induction, a large plancha and multi-functional cook-marie, all accessible from both sides of the kitchen giving a better flow to each section. It’s great to see the actual energy use coming through and the savings for Martel are definitely there. There is also an inbuilt energy monitor on the Eco-Chef so Martel can clearly see the savings being made."

Paul Neville, managing director of CHR says: “The installation was completed in February and after six months of operation the savings, based against the old suite, speak for themselves.”

The savings are:

• £ 3,500.00 net – projected to be £7,000k in first year.
• Day use on Eco-Chef =181 days.
• Eco-Chef energy use = 19.74 kwh per day @ .109 pence per kw = £ 2.15 per day.”

Martel steps in here to disagree with Paul – but only because he reckons they are well on the road to surpassing these projected savings for the first year. ‘It looks as though we will save £9,000 on gas alone due to the Eco-Chef. Electricity costs haven’t gone up at all and after calling in an energy consultant to see where we can improve on electricity consumption he said we could economise further by using it at different times of the day which we have done. We had a new electric meter fitted and after two months we have received a rebate of £500 with more to come,” says Martel.

Time, labour costs and those of ingredients have also been sliced since the Eco-Chef went in. "We now do a lot of cooking on the plancha which in turn means we are using no pans at all – on Saturday nights alone we could use up to 50 pans. We are also using 50 per cent less butter than before, and importantly there is dramatically less washing up to be done.

“The way we cook has changed significantly – for example, we used to sear grouse in a pan before roasting and now we cook it in the water bath then colour on the plancha,” says Martel.

“As well as seeing his pan use drop by 80%, Martel reports that the average kitchen temperature has reduced from 37°C to 15°C making a much more pleasant working environment,” says Paul. (Martel adds here that the new extraction system only runs at 50% of what it used to.)

“Which when you think about reduction in staff costs, water and detergents just to wash 100 pans each service is a major contribution to the bottom line. Cleaning the induction tops is also simple, again saving staff time and effort. Another advantage in cooking is that because of the pinpoint accuracy of induction, consistency of heat means Martel is getting a more consistent product on the stove.”

The installation wasn’t run of the mill for CHR as Martel was determined to do a lot of the work himself, with friends and local labour to keep costs down. “We did a lot ourselves and we couldn’t shut down completely. We had to mothball the pastry section and produce a limited menu from there while the work went on. Basically, when CHR came to the install, which took just two and half weeks, we presented them with the prepared shell."

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