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The Flitch of Bacon is a traditional 16th century, family-friendly inn at the heart of the Essex village of Little Dunmow. The pub gets its name from the tradition of awarding a side of bacon (the eponymous flitch of bacon) to married couples who can prove that they have not regretted their marriage for a year and a day. The custom dates back to medieval times. It was mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and flitch trials are still held every four years just down the road in Great Dunmow.
The pub has recently undergone a complete but sympathetic restoration, including the installation of a state-of-the-art professional kitchen to become a modern restaurant and pub with rooms. It offers a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy high quality food and drinks.
A cosy bar offers cask conditioned real ales and guest ales from local brewers. The wine list includes over 50 red and white wines with 25 fine wines carefully selected with the connoisseur in mind.
Three rooms named after English rare-breed pigs are available, allowing diners to extend their stay to include breakfast and an opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside.
One of the key features of the Flitch is the ‘Kitchen Table’ which offers diners an ‘up close and personal’ view into the busy kitchen. Seating just three diners it provides an intimate insight into the Flitch’s engine room where they can see dishes come together as head chef Luke Finegan and his team work their magic on the carefully selected ingredients before each dish is plated up for service.
The menu is an expression of the seasons and fresh ingredients are sourced from local producers and growers.
Grande Cuisine delivered the central cook suite and associated support cooking items as part of the new kitchen working in partnership with Salix.
Motivation for investment:
Daniel Clifford – the two Michelin starred Chef Patron of Midsummer House in Cambridge – has lived nearby The Flitch of Bacon for some years and had driven passed it many times. He had long held the ambition to take the pub on. When the opportunity arose to purchase the Flitch he wasted no time in buying it and started a refurbishment in the spring of 2015. The newly refurbished Flitch, complete with new kitchen, was re-opened in December 2015 following soft openings in the last two weeks of November.
When Daniel bought the Grade II listed pub the only cooking equipment on the premises consisted of three microwave ovens connected to the mains by a power lead that ran outside through the kitchen window. The décor was very 1970’s and needed updating, along with the furniture, fixtures and fittings. The Flitch needed renovating, redecorating and a new kitchen designing and installing that would be capable of delivering the high quality that Daniel demanded.
Once the strip out of the building had taken place there was no kitchen equipment on the premises so Daniel was very much starting from scratch. With the reputations of himself and Luke Finegan at stake the kitchen needed to be every bit as good as the kitchen in Midsummer House.
Because the menu consists of a wide range of traditional pub food and forgotten classics the kitchen needed to be versatile. Space was also an issue.
In addition, the dining area includes a Kitchen Table with a full view of the workings of the kitchen and the ‘pass’ between kitchen and dining rooms, the kitchen had to look good.
Grande Cuisine delivered a bespoke Athanor all-electric peninsular cook suite to Daniel Clifford’s own requirements.
The suite measures 2850mm x 1150mm and comprises a double fryer and a single inset deep fat fryer. Stylish versatility is delivered by two double Plaque Athanor plancha cook plates and two multi-zone/multi-point 14 kW induction hobs. Food is kept at the required temperature prior to serving by a set of 1/1 GN hot holding drawers.
Also installed as part of the suite is a 1/1GN cast iron roasting oven, which enables Luke Finegan to deliver classic British pub dishes that emphasise quality.
The kitchen also features a CAPIC hi-light quick-therm salamander grill mounted on the Athanor suite and an Adventys 4-zone three-phase heavy duty induction hob in a separate preparation kitchen.
Benefits for the customer:
The kitchen at the Flitch of Bacon delivers high performance cooking, with a high degree of energy efficiency, low heat pollution and ultimate safety and control, all made possible through a combination of powerful induction cooking equipment and Plaque Athanor cook plates/plancha.
The kitchen’s front of house role is fully realised by the Athanor suite’s polished stainless steel finish and mirror polished trims.
The benefit of working with Induction technology is that it heats the cookware, whilst the surrounding area stays cool to the touch. Built-in safety features include overheat and boil-over sensors and an empty pan detector. Precise temperature control and instant response deliver perfect and consistent results every time.
Induction cooking is twice as fast as any other cooking method and is 90 per cent energy efficient. It is easy to maintain and is ideal for all types of cooking including searing meat, braising, boiling, sauté, shallow fry, stir fry, casseroles, crepes, omelettes, eggs or melting chocolate. All in all, it’s great for ‘theatre cooking’ and delivers the versatility required.
Grande Cuisine provided full support throughout the design and installation process, which include Daniel visiting the Athanor factory in France to see the suite in production and finalise the specification prior to delivery.
Daniel Clifford said: “Grande Cuisine was able to deliver a high quality suite as good as the one we have at Midsummer House. Our aim is to deliver high quality food in a relaxing atmosphere and this kitchen enables us to do that – one of the main reasons for choosing Athanor and Grande Cuisine was and is the great reputation they have with delivering high quality cooking appliances and on-going support post installation”.