Prois, the project arm of Aberdeen-headquartered dealer Instock Group, has completed a kitchen refit project for Farlam Hall Hotel near Brampton, Cumbria.
The firm was tasked with bringing this English country house’s kitchen facilities into the 21st century.
The brief Prois received for the kitchen refurbishment project was to create a professional, efficient space that would allow executive chef Steven Pott to get the most from his brigade, and take his menu beyond the levels that had already earned three AA stars and two rosettes. All in a modern, clean, and efficient environment.
The project – which also involved new floors, wall cladding, ceilings, canopies and extraction – was due to be carried out in January 2021 but when Covid struck the decision was made to take advantage of the downtime afforded by lockdown and bring the project forward to this summer.
Pott said: “We needed to upgrade the kitchen because it hadn’t been touched for over 10 years and there is only so much you can achieve working off what was effectively just a six burner gas range and a salamander. But we also wanted to move forward in terms of what we were able to cook and how we were able to cook it – a better work flow, increased energy efficiency, consistency and reliability were my key goals for all aspects of the kitchen, not just the cook suite.”
Prois and Pott together specified an Athanor cooking range, supplied to the UK by Grande Cuisine.
Pott was new to Athanor, but the idea of switching to an all-electric, induction cooking suite was in line with his commitment to creating a ‘greener’ kitchen.
The new Athanor suite was set flush into the primary worktop, and is home to three single 5kW induction hobs, two double Plaque Athanor planchas, a single drop in fryer and two drop in spoon pots. Above the top, and set on an over-shelf, are an infrared touch plate salamander grill, a filling tap, and storage space for pots and pans.
Pott detailed: “I designed the suite so that it will allow service to flow, but will also enable us to grow. One side is used by larder, breakfast and pastry, whilst the other side is given over to the sauce section. We cook directly on the planchas which we set at different temperatures for meat and fish. We use the induction hobs to bring sauces and garnishes to temperature quickly and consistently, and the grill to finish dishes just before sending them to the pass.”
Prois’ design and project manager Scott McAllister praised: “Grande Cuisine were great, right from the initial meeting. They provided us with all the necessary drawings and technical information prior to install, including all electrical requirements, along with details of how the suite would be made in order to gain access and get the unit in place – which made life a lot easier for our installation team – and were onsite throughout the installation. The training they provided on the suite post-install was also extremely helpful to the brigade, especially those that weren’t familiar with induction.’
Pott concluded: “I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished project. I am now able to achieve what I wanted – a more consistent standard of product due in no small part to the quality and reliability of the equipment. The workflow in the kitchen has also been seriously improved – we can now comfortably accommodate 3/4 chefs in the kitchen, each with their own station and prep area. Thanks to the switch from gas to electricity energy efficiency has been greatly improved and the working environment is now much more comfortable, which makes for happy chefs.
“It’s difficult to pick out one particular highlight – it is just the suite as a whole. The reliability, efficiency and consistency, the ease of maintenance and cleaning, and just the feel and flow of the kitchen during service. I also love the badge and the fact that we have the only Athanor in Cumbria – that is a huge statement.”