History has a way of coming back. Blackpool-based Commercial Kitchen Service (CKS) has been involved in Blackpool Winter Gardens’ main banqueting kitchen (along with most of the other kitchens on site) for all of the distributor’s 40 years trading.
Additionally, Hugh Chatterton, founder and now retired chairman of CKS, has been involved with the site since his days as general manager of Mollett Catering Equipment, which date back to the late 1960s. CKS consulted the venue’s archive plans which show refurbishments completed in the early 1980s, with this information being invaluable for the current team in the completion of the new design and installation.
From the distributor’s initial discussions with Kathy Smith, general manager of the Winter Gardens, regarding a proposed upgrade, to providing drawings, quotations and cooking workshops, this was an exciting and fast moving project.
Once the design and specification had been completed and the approval given, the firm had a short window of opportunity to complete the project. From receipt of the order CKS had just 1 week to organise site meetings and liaise with contractors before Phase 1 started, with only 4 weeks until completion, as the site had a pre-booked wedding to cater for over the Easter bank holiday. CKS handed over a fully completed and working kitchen on time, on the Thursday before Easter.
Blackpool Winter Gardens was a unique project. As a grade 2 listed building, contractors were presented with a raft of additional considerations when planning and delivering projects within this iconic venue. The kitchen is located on the first floor, proving challenging at many levels with the only access via a small passenger lift or stairs, and the ducting and fans located on a delicate glass roof four floors up. The strip out alone took nearly 1 week to complete and involved great teamwork from the distributor’s engineers, fabrication team and Williams refrigeration to ensure everything went smoothly. The kitchen underwent a full transformation during these 4 weeks as well as new equipment the project included new flooring, white wall cladding, false ceiling, plumbing and a full electrical re-wire.
For this project CKS built on the relationships founded with many of the ENSE manufactures, which it believes are committed to working with distributors on price and service, resulting in supply of a bespoke kitchen with state of the art equipment.
The main cooking island featured equipment including Frima VarioCooking Center, Rational combi ovens and the new Falcon 900 series cooking suite, with all refrigeration to the kitchen supported by Williams. The kitchen design involved a designated vegetable prep area with racking provided by EAIS, raw and cooked meat preparation areas, bakery area, beverage area, new wash up and waitress station.
A second phase of refurbishment started the week after Easter Monday, involving refitting the wash up area with a new rack machine and utensil washer by Maidaid Halcyon, and bespoke fabrication by the distributor’s team. Again this was a tight timescale, and working round pre-booked functions posed challenges. CKS director Diane Moden commented: “Working with Maidaid Halcyon proved a great success, as again we had to have a machine suitable for installation on the first floor with difficult access.”
The distributor would like to thank Ron Cullen, who has been its main installation engineer for the past 19 years. Cullen worked on the main kitchen installation at the Winter Gardens alone and put in many long days; he saw the main kitchen handed over to site, but sadly he retired from the industry before the wash up was completed.
However, CKS celebrated his retirement in style and on his last day took him back to one of his favourite haunts – The Cartford Inn at Little Eccleston. Cullen has been involved in this site for all the years Patrick and Julie Beaume have owned the site and it holds many fond memories for him. CKS wishes him all the best for his retirement with his wife Jean.