GastroNorth completes university challenge

GastroNorth completed the St. Chad’s College project on time and on budget.

The team at GastroNorth has overhauled the kitchen and servery areas of St. Chad’s College, which resides under Durham University.

Located in the heart of Durham, St. Chad’s College is the smallest of the independent colleges tied to Durham University and is responsible for its own internal budget and in-house catering operation.

The college’s open kitchen and servery areas were last updated around 25-years-ago and following a recommendation from the university, enlisted GastroNorth to design and install a modernised and improved facility, separating the kitchen and servery areas.

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The brief was to provide a facility that would support general day-to-day catering as well as formal evening dinners, requiring a contemporary design to enhance the environment for students and staff, but also incorporate a traditional feel that would be coherent with the grand dining hall within the college.

GastroNorth took possession of the site on 15 December, and with a 12 January handover deadline, the team had to work around the Christmas and New Year period to help deliver the project efficiently and on schedule.

The project commenced with a full strip out of the entire kitchen space including the existing M&E infrastructure, ventilation system, coldroom, in-built safe and nine sash windows.

A new wall constructed between the kitchen and servery area, adding in new hygienic wall and floor coverings, with the servery area being decorated prior to the installation of the new kitchen and server equipment.

As well as the time-based obstacles, the team also had to consider the project approach due to the location of the site. With no on-street or on-site parking, no vans or skips available and the nearest parking was roughly one mile away, materials and deliveries to be quickly brought onto site via multiple trips outside of normal working hours and waste to be disposed of off-site in the same manner.

Nevertheless, the project handed over successfully on time, within the £215,000 budget and to high acclaim from the client who was delighted with the finished result.

GastroNorth provided products for the project from Frima, Unox, CED, Roller Grill and Celltherm.

The staff were trained off site during the construction phase at GastroNorth’s in-house development kitchen, the GastroLab, to ensure they hit the ground running when they moved back into their completed kitchen.

GastroNorth development chef, Alan McKenna, then attended site for the first two days of service to assist staff with the operation of the equipment, which is reported to have ensured a smooth handover.

Vice principal and bursar of St Chad’s, Alistair Jenkins, said: “From the moment we first spoke to GastroNorth we knew that we had an exciting and viable project. In all of our dealings with Tim and the team we have been impressed by their professionalism, attention to detail and commitment to deliver a first class project.

“The end result is a kitchen and servery which looks and feels so much better and is far more functional than anything our students and customers have enjoyed in the past. We would have no hesitation in recommending GastroNorth to others and hope to build on our relationship with them in the coming years.”

Tim Whitfield, GastroNorth director, added: “We’re really happy with this project, especially given the constraints we were working to in terms of time and location. We also had to contend with snow, Australian flu, and Santa Claus, yet still managed to deliver on schedule. A magnificent effort from all involved and a fantastic example of the complete turnkey solution available from GastroNorth.”

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