In the second of a special two-part focus on commercial kitchen schemes which stand out for utilising cutting edge technology to enable a high level of efficiency, we put TAG Catering Equipment’s project at Julie’s Restaurant in Notting Hill, London under the microscope.
The kitchen design house knew that only excellence would suffice in this project, as the famous site is a historic icon of West London, bringing the wine bar party concept to London in the late 60’s, which made it a Holland Park favourite and hang-out of the Hollywood set, high society and rock stars, attracting regulars including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Madonna and later Princess Diana and Kate Moss.
TAG’s brief was to design a modern and operationally efficient, cost-saving kitchen that would be positioned in the now lower, basement location. This would be required to cater for an increase in covers despite the kitchen being smaller than before, accommodating lunch, dinner, and banquet parties.
Due to the confined space, it would also need to create a great working environment for the chef patron, Shay Cooper, and his team, whilst creating a sense of theatre with views from the dining space.
TAG was also briefed to create a new bar that would be the focal point of the new cocktail and wine bar, as well as design a way of integrating the large wine menu and storage within the overall aesthetic.
Project and creative director Tyron Stephens-Smith detailed: “One of the challenges to overcome was the lack of electrical power within the building, due to its age. Had this not been achieved, the project would have not been feasible.”
There were several factors that made the kitchen particularly energy efficient: upgrading all refrigeration, including chef base drawers, cold storage, wine walls and wine cellar, to a remote pack system; switching from a gas to induction cook suite; and managing all power with the DeManincor TCS monitoring system.
According to Stephens-Smith: “The key driver for incorporating induction cooking was not only how it creates a better working environment, but how it is more energy efficiency than gas or more traditional electric equipment.
“By its very nature, the induction only works when a pan is placed on top. This reduces ambient heat and means that energy is only used when cooking is taking place; there is no need for the chefs to leave burners on or turn on the range at the start of service waiting for it to heat up.”
Due to the significant refrigeration throughout the building, both in the kitchen and wine storage, this was a major consideration for energy efficiency and usage. The wine storage would use state of the art refrigeration to ensure the wine is kept at the right temperature and humidity, regardless of how often the door was opened or if staff were standing in the cellar.
To ensure this was as efficient as possible, all refrigeration including the main kitchen refrigeration and chef-base drawers, would be connected to a central, remote pack system. This would maximise efficiency, space within each area (due to no local condensers) and reduce heat from the condensers.
However, the inclusion of the induction range and remote refrigeration pack system would have imposed a high-energy load on the electrical infrastructure, which was problematic due to the age of the building.
Therefore, the installation of the DeManincor TCS (Total Control System) enabled all this equipment to be used. The TCS works in several ways:
- Continually monitoring power consumption up to 30 times per second preventing energy spikes.
- Share power between appliances, reducing power use when not require, making it available for other equipment.
- Phased equipment start-up process for the entire building and catering equipment, to minimise energy spikes.
The result of using the TCS technology is a total power usage of just 49kWhs as opposed to 150kWhs, ensuring the available power within the building is never exceeded, whilst saving energy.
Stephens-Smith emphasised: “The DeManincor induction cook suite primarily reduces energy usage, creates a better working environment in compact kitchen space and is quicker to clean (immediately after service) with no chemicals.
“Bespoke wine rooms were a requirement of the design, but the use of a DeManincor refrigeration and pack system reduced refrigeration energy consumption and ambient in the kitchen and dining space, plus this saves space in such a compact kitchen.
“Without the DeManincor TCS the whole project would have not been feasible; it enables the sharing of power and reduction of overall consumption, ensuring the property keeps within the power limit. Furthermore, Rational’s combi oven could be connected to the TCS system so that the power usage could be shared, plus it enables multi-function cooking, future-proofing the kitchen and menu.”
As well as energy efficiency, TAG considered the operational efficiency of the kitchen to make it more cost effective to run:
- Increased ergonomic flow of the kitchen including reducing chef travel times to allow for a reduced kitchen size but increase in covers.
- The ergonomics also allow for a flexibility during busier and quieter times to cope with demand.
- Focused on creating a truly hygienic installation, reducing cleaning times and the need for chemicals.
- Hygienic features included fully sealed fabrication to the walls and between equipment, removing dirt and food traps.
- Equipment was placed on plinths with fully seamless flooring, making cleaning quicker and removing any dirt or food traps beneath equipment.
Considering how TAG will incorporate efficiency learnings from this project into future schemes, Stephens-Smith analysed: “Sustainability and energy efficiency is going to be a key consideration for all kinds of commercial kitchen operators, which has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. With potential reduction in covers and limited working hours, reducing costs where possible is vital for the hospitality sector to remain profitable.
“Utilising induction technology and remote refrigeration can both reduce energy costs and ensure the kitchen brigade is more efficient through a better working environment. However, certainly in older buildings and London, this causes issue with the power availability of the building.”
He concluded: “Having a connected kitchen such as the DeManincor TCS system enables these power restrictions to be overcome, whilst monitoring power usage. This also helps to spot any potential issues with equipment (such as refrigeration running at high temperature). This means a kitchen can be more efficient with increased up-time (i.e. recognising faults and carrying out preventative maintenance before a breakdown occurs).
“This results in the energy efficient equipment which is typically electric (reducing reliance on gas or oil) being accessible to a vast range of kitchens, regardless of size and location, when it would have not been previously considered.”