Grande Cuisine enjoys suite success at Whatley Manor

Executive Chef Niall Keating gained a coveted Michelin star within one year of taking up his post at Whatley Manor, the luxury Cotswold hotel, restaurant and spa complex. He’s now hoping for even greater success with the help of Grande Cuisine, the company responsible for providing the stunning white Athanor cook suite as part of the hotel’s recent major kitchen refit.

The all-electric bespoke Athanor suite has replaced an all-gas cook suite, reducing the overall heat in the kitchen and creating a comfortable working environment, while reducing the level of energy consumption within the kitchen. What’s more, the suite is the UK’s first bespoke white Athanor. Finished with a white enamelled exterior finish along with mirror polished stainless trims, it certainly is the focal point of the kitchen.

‘The energy efficiency achieved is tremendous,’ says Niall. ‘No more gas burning all day long makes for a much cooler kitchen meaning less energy needed for extraction, nor do the fridges have to work so hard. All in all, it is a much more pleasant environment for the brigade to work in.’

The suite is split into two distinct sides, one side covering production and service for the casual Grey’s Brasserie, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with afternoon teas and room service, seven days a week, while the opposite side of the suite is tailored to The Dining Room, where a gastronomic tasting menu is served Thursday to Sunday.

‘As the central unit within the kitchen, the stove has to service two restaurants and private parties’ says Niall. ‘Previously, the restaurants would compete for space on the gas solid tops, so the aim was to ensure that each restaurant had clearly defined and bespoke cooking capabilities. The Dining Room now has a plancha plaque as well as four induction hobs for more controlled cooking, whereas Grey’s Brasserie has two plancha plaques to allow for the greater volume of covers. Aesthetically, I have designed the new kitchen to be clean and crisp, so although it’s a small touch, it was important to me that the stove was finished in white, along with other features in the new kitchen.’

A mixture of multi-zone induction and Plaque Athanor cooking plates can be used as traditional-style solid tops during mise-en-place and prep work, where large pans are used. During the service period the multi-zone induction surfaces can work with smaller service pans while the Plaque Athanor cook plates deal with direct cooking, giving complete flexibility and consistency.

A 1/1GN 6kw multi-cooker, centrally positioned and accessible for both restaurants, handles bulk cooking of vegetables and shellfish during the prep periods, while during service it can be used for refreshing vegetables, cooking pasta or for steaming. To the back end of the suite two single radiant hobs, predominately designed for large pan work and stock production, but also double up as additional cooking surfaces or holding and resting areas during service.

Below the range top is a cast iron double-sided service oven that allows access for both kitchen teams, while three sets of 3x 1/1Gn hot holding drawers can also be used for slow and low temperature cooking such as confit.

Additional extras include a column-mounted tap for easy pan filling during service, a small over or resting shelf, and a quick therm salamander grill.  The grill comes to temperature within 10 seconds meaning it does not need to be left on for long periods of time, radiating heat into the kitchen.

‘I always knew that Athanor stoves were very well made, but visiting the factory to see mine being manufactured confirmed that they are amongst the finest in the world. It will, without question, inspire me and the team every day,’ concludes Niall.