TAG triumphs with project praise

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TAG’s redesign of a five star hotel’s catering areas meant the sight line’s from the chef’s table were clear through to the kitchen.

The root of TAG Catering Equipment’s project expertise is forming partnerships with its clients and the supply chain, as epitomised by its most recent CEDA Grand Prix Award-winning scheme. The kitchen design house worked with the five star central London hotel in question over a period of years to understand its needs.

With no specific initial brief, both parties decided together that the updated scheme should encompass a main kitchen with a chef’s table and wine rooms within, a breakfast and in-room dining kitchen, a banqueting and function kitchen, all while creating a pizza kitchen area in the main complex too.

Adding to the challenge, all of the overhaul had to take place while the catering facilities remained open, with the installation taking place in three phases over a 10 week period.

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Creative and project director, Tyron Stephens-Smith detailed: “Diners at the chef’s table previously didn’t get to see much of the action even though they were in the middle of the kitchen. So we redesigned it to create focal points and clear lines of sight, raising the ceilings and installing hydraulic gantries.”

The redesign called for the main kitchen’s ranges to be rotated 90 degrees, which allows the chefs to be more efficient, therefore reducing the amount of equipment and personnel required.

As the prime cooking equipment was switched to induction and the ceiling is fully ventilated, the chefs can now also carry out fruit and veg prep in the kitchen, whereas previously they had a separate chilled room for this.

Energy efficiency was a key consideration and the kitchen complex runs with miniscule power consumption thanks to the De Manincor Total Control System, linking all appliances via Ethernet cable to an open source application, which then monitors and controls performance and load. With 24/7 monitoring, TAG, the manufacturer and the client then receive alerts if any parameter is exceeded, which can pre-empt and prevent failures.

Tyron revealed: “In a kitchen that size, the refrigeration is running on 3kW of power and the biggest spike for the full kitchen load is 4.2kW. We have installed the system in previous sites and it effectively pays for itself in 3 years.” One of the other sites was Frederick’s in Islington, for which TAG won a Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers Award for energy efficiency in 2017.

Another recent project nominated for a CEDA accolade was the Wild Food Café in Covent Garden, London, which was created as a wellbeing concept. According to TAG’s business development manager Michael Bradley: “Everything this client did had to be good for the environment, down to the flooring and the concrete used to build the interior walls.

TAG brought the Wild Food Café’s pizza oven front of house to create cooking theatre for diners.

“The restaurant wanted as few pieces of cooking equipment as possible, so there are only four ways of cooking in that kitchen, including a combi oven, a wood-burning pizza oven and induction hobs.”

A unique element is a wall of 12 dehydrators which help to minimise food waste, as the site produced kale crisps and then any stock left over is used as crackers for soup. The arrangement as a bank of appliances also helped to save space.

The site acts as a production kitchen for a second location, as well as being an open kitchen itself. Bradley explained: “Interior designers had initially created the kitchen layout, not specialists. So we convinced the owners to move the pizza oven front of house to become a focal point and allow diners to experience the theatre of that.”

One project just completed is for Warner Holiday Villages’ new flagship 250-bedroom resort at Studley Castle, Warwickshire. The large scheme comprised eight areas: three kitchens, four bars and a servery counter.

Michael revealed: “Planning around a historic building was challenging and we were on site for 3 months.” From initially analysing the site’s requirements to the final install took around 18 months, some of which overlapped with the five star hotel project, so TAG had to be highly organised to keep all those metaphorical plates spinning simultaneously.

Plus another recent scheme is for the Grove Hotel in Watford, redesigning its Glasshouse restaurant. Tyron detailed: “All of the cooking happens within the restaurant experience. We’ve done things that we’ve never even considered before to create this build.”

These unique elements include cabinets for living herbs, meat ageing and pasta refrigeration display. Tyron added: “There is a high level of detail within the manufacturing, so there is very little stainless steel and the counters are all marble, richlite and wood.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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