Tall order

When HCE Foodservice Equipment commences work at the Shangri-La Group’s first hotel in the UK it will quite literally reach new heights.

That’s because the expansive Hong Kong-based hotel chain’s latest property is based in the spire of the Shard, some 1,016 feet above the busy streets of London.

The deluxe 195-room venue will occupy floors 34 to 52 of the iconic London Bridge tower and offer diners the opportunity to savour tantalising cuisine from what is set to be one of the city’s finest restaurants as well as a ‘food theatre’ cafe with a choice of multiple cooking stations.

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Hampshire-based HCE, which is a subsidiary of Trant Construction, will be supplying and installing all of the food and beverage facilities, which encompasses a specialty restaurant, lobby lounge and bar. Particular features will include a number of bespoke Williams front-of-house refrigerated showcases and a champagne display unit.

The bulk of the cooking equipment, meanwhile, will come from MKN. It is supplying a Hans Dampf 20.2 combi oven and a variety of products from its Optima 850 and 700 ranges.

“It is a nice project to have given that MKN equipment is also in the tallest building in the world, which is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai,” comments Stuart Long, sales and marketing director of MKN’s UK operation. “I have a colleague who last year was able to say, ‘we have equipment on the 123rd floor of the Burj’. For me to be able to turn around this year and say we now have MKN in the tallest building in Western Europe as well is quite a nice accolade.”

All of the MKN kit going into the Shard has now been manufactured and is expected to be delivered to the site later this month following a delay in the initial project start date.

“At the moment we are on standby, but it is all ready, so as soon as HCE calls it we will deliver it and partner alongside them to make sure it gets into the building. We will also make sure everything is connected up properly and gives a lifetime of service.”

For MKN, which last worked with HCE on a scheme at the Corinthia Hotel in London, the Shangri-La project will be the culmination of many months of background work. “When this [opportunity] first came out there were 26 different companies that asked for prices in the first stages,” reveals Long. “You name a good distributor in the UK and it came for prices for this job initially. It was then whittled down to a shortlist and then from a shortlist the eventual contractor was appointed.

“It is an exciting time for us. I’m looking forward to doing the training on it, seeing everything in situ and just being involved in a fabulous building that is an amazing part of the London skyline.”

MKN insists the cutting-edge technology used in the development of its equipment is one of the main reasons it was specified for the project.

But it is the fact that it has been selected to be part of what will almost certainly be the highest kitchen in the country which provides the greatest endorsement of the kit’s perceived efficiency and longevity.

“You don’t want to take equipment up however many storeys only to then have to pull it out after a short space of time,” insists Long. “That, for me, is why they specced it: because it works, it is reliable and it’ll do the job on a consistent day-to-day basis.”

Up, up and away…

How do you get a giant cooking suite 300 metres up the tallest building in London? That’s the question MKN has been pondering after its kit was specified for the kitchen of the Shangri-La Group’s newest venture.

It can be a tough enough job getting heavy duty equipment into ground floor premises, let alone a property suspended high above the capital at the top of the Shard where the hotel is located.

Stuart Long, sales and marketing director of MKN, says the company has had to consider all of the potential logistical issues from day one, as well as the availability of services.

“It has been thought about a lot and it is actually modular equipment that is going in because to get an electric cable suitable enough to supply a suite up to the levels of that kind of building would be massive and too weighty,” he explains. “Standalone pieces of equipment that get joined together will be much easier to transport in the lifts, which are very prevalent in that building.”

Between 15 and 20 individual items of MKN equipment, including side tables, will be delivered to the site when distributor HCE officially gets the installation part of the project underway later this month.

Long insists the Shangri-La chefs will have access to some of the finest cooking technology on the market. “It is a reasonable sized kitchen installation with some decent bits of cooking equipment going in,” he comments.

“There are pressure bratt pans for fast cooking, as they are doing bulk preparation as well for banqueting, and some induction. They have also got our latest electric griddle plates too, because they are looking closely at the energy efficiency side.”

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