Grande Cuisine provides home help

Grande Cuisine Home House

When Grande Cuisine was asked to be part of the team looking to refurbish the kitchen at London’s prestigious Home House club it came up with an interesting design combining modern technology with more traditional elements, just like the venue itself.

The private members club in Portman Square, Marylebone, W1 is housed in a building dating back to 1773, with the club opening its doors in 1998. Today its members can dine around the building in any of the three restaurants, with access to seven bar areas.

Executive Chef Sophie Michell was keen to see a refurbishment that would reduce the excessive heat in the basement kitchen and make for a more efficient and comfortable working environment. ‘We needed to bring down the heat levels in the kitchen which is why the new suite is a combination of gas and induction,’ says Sophie. ‘I know a lot of chefs who have installed Athanor suites and love cooking on them just for their pure quality, but we also needed a bespoke suite that could be built taking into consideration not only the building’s Grade 2 listed status, which is not easy, but also the incredibly high volumes we do here at Home House.’

The result is a suite that is 40% electric and 60% gas, combining modern elements such as induction, plaques, and hot holding facilities with more traditional touches such as gas solid tops, open burners and a gas oven.

To overcome the problems, and working in partnership with National FM the appointed kitchen contractor, Grande Cuisine installed a narrow slimline island cook suite, measuring 1100mm wide and around 5300mm long, housing a multi-zone 14kw induction top, two Plaque Athanor (plancha/cook plates), two inset gas fryers, a traditional-style gas solid top, two open vortex-style gas burners, a gas roasting oven, plus a set of hot holding drawers. Due to site access restrictions the unit was manufactured and delivered in four pieces and then top welded and polished on site to produce a one-piece finish.

The suite design gives the brigade the flexibility of using certain areas at different times of the day without having an impact on the main kitchen’s mise-en-place. For example, in the morning, the section comprising induction and hot holding is used for breakfast service. This enables the chefs to cook the protein items, such as sausage and bacon, using combination ovens located in the same kitchen space, and hold them in the hot holding drawers within the suite whilst the egg dishes are being made to order on the induction unit, with no impact on the remainder of the suite.

The multi-function configuration of the suite and the appliances within it allow for large volumes of mise-en-place to be prepared during the morning using the solid top, open burners and twin Plaque Athanor for large pan work. Then, during service, a more traditional operation takes place with a mixture of classical cooking in pans (on the solid top) and direct cooking on the Plaque Athanor (used as a plancha) to give a flexible restaurant and banquet service from the kitchen space.

‘My favourite part of the Athanor suite? The planchas! I love cooking meat and fish on them, they create such a good flavour. The brigade would probably say the thing they love the most is the cooler working environment, as well as being able to cook directly on the planchas which make service quicker and the end result better.

‘My Grande Cuisine experience has been fantastic from start to finish. Despite me going off to have a baby in the middle of it all, everyone at Grande Cuisine kept me in the loop and worked to our tight schedules. I would definitely work with them again.’