Inka closes first deal as UK launch gets underway

A new indoor charcoal oven brand that launches in the market this month has got its UK business off to a flying start by signing up a Michelin-starred chef as its first customer.

Inka Charcoal Ovens, which is looking to build a dealer network to offer its products nationwide, has revealed that The Church Green in Cheshire will be the first commercial kitchen in the UK to take delivery of one of its ovens.

The restaurant is run by Aiden Byrne, the youngest ever winner of a Michelin Star and a former head chef at The Grill at the Dorchester.

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The Church Green will close for three days next week in order to undertake a makeover and install the oven, which will form the centrepiece of its kitchen and allow it to incorporate the menu of successful sister restaurant The British Grill.

“During the last few years, the surge in diners’ expectations has really raised the bar for chefs,” says Byrne. “I’m really happy to rise to that challenge, especially when customers appreciate the distinct and subtle flavours I am able to create with an Inka.”

The Inka is designed to use coconut charcoal, which burns at a higher temperature than wood charcoal and produces a flameless burn, even when in contact with fat.

“On top of that, it’s the attention to detail in the design that really works in a commercial kitchen,” adds Byrne. “The oven door window means we can see what’s cooking without constantly opening the door, fat is drained away naturally and charcoal ashes collect in the ash box at the bottom of the oven. These last two design features mean much less cleaning at the end of service.”

The Church Green will use a countertop IK450 until after Easter, when it will take delivery of a larger Inka Charcoal Oven to cater for the summer trade in its standalone outdoor grill area.

Franco Sotgiu, managing director of Inka Charcoal Ovens UK, told Catering Insight that the affordability and design of the ovens — combined with establishing the right dealer network —will soon see the brand’s UK business gain momentum.

“I can’t reveal who it is yet, but we have also got a very big name chef lined up at a high-end London restaurant. I think that once there is a couple [of the ovens] in restaurants then things will snowball.”

You can get a first look at products from Inka’s charcoal oven range in our exclusive picture gallery here.

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