Wellington College is a leading co-educational day and boarding independent school sited in 400 acres of grounds in Berkshire. The College has approximately 1,100 pupils and 150 staff. It partners with its two international schools in China, and is also linked to Wellington Academy in Wiltshire and Eagle House Preparatory School, also in Berkshire.
In 2012, the College identified that a new kitchen was a priority and asked Litmus to assist them with this project. However, there were challenges that needed to be met in the process:
- The new kitchen had to occupy the same footprint and eradicate ageing services infrastructure and high energy costs resulting from legacy designs and plant utilisation; and
- Temporary kitchen facilities would be essential in order that the kitchen project could be completed within a six month time frame. The college had to continue operating a first-class service to its community and external customers whilst the work was undertaken.
Together with the contract catering team Litmus’ first task was to construct a new kitchen to deliver improved efficiency and an enhanced food offering. It needed to:
- Embrace new technology and support school policies with regards the environment;
- Accommodate more hardware in the same space;
- Optimise workflows from delivery and storage through to production and service; and
- Provide for real time cooking and reduce the volume of stored food cooked prior to service.
It was key that Litmus not only ensured that the College got a truly fit-for-purpose, future-proofed facility, but at a competitive price. This was through the selection of an experienced, committed supplier/installer to help the project team deliver the kitchen on budget and on time. Litmus also had to identify the best option for temporary facilities.
Joe Parfitt, the Litmus Partnership, said: “Throughout the design process, we kept at the forefront of environmental benefits as well as ways to enhance the actual day-to-day operations of the kitchen.
“With the design brief and conceptual layouts for the kitchen agreed through consultation with the catering team, we created the detailed equipment layouts, service drawings and equipment specifications. It emerged that there were electrical supply limitations, so we needed to provide a scheme that included a mix of gas and electric-powered cooking appliances, which minimised energy consumption to stay on-brief.
“We then worked closely with the project management team to specify and procure the hired temporary kitchen facilities and evaluate bids from the equipment supplier and then supported throughout the construction period.
“Given the value and quality specification for the project, it was vital that we conducted detailed snagging of the installation at the conclusion of construction, submitting reports to the project management team identifying any issues that needed resolving. We also collated the Operating & Maintenance Manuals for handover to the College.”
Cutting edge waste management systems were introduced, including the first Rendisk food waste system set up in the UK. The final kitchen scheme reduced energy costs through introducing equipment that required less water, gas and electricity and used modern cooking modes. The kitchen design also increased productivity through modern storage solutions and effective work flows. Specific benefits include:
- A larger, self-contained pastry section, permitting a wider range and improved quality of home-produced puddings;
- The kitchen has direct access onto the servery counters, speeding up replenishment of food service points and re-connecting the production team with customer-facing service for greater theatre;
- A new dish wash system maximises tray drop capacity, improving the end-of-meal experience for students and staff;
- New ventilation allows greater control over ambient temperatures;
- Pressurised Bratt pans allow both fast and slow cooking of large food volumes but with considerably less energy used than conventional cookers;
- Electrical induction cookers and flame-regulated ranges only switch on when pans are on the stoves, minimising unnecessary steam and heat generation;
- Cooker ventilation only functions when linked cooking equipment is in use;
An innovative food waste removal system which dehydrates waste and “sucks” the residual deposits from wash-up spaces into basement bins, vastly reducing volumes of waste and minimising unpleasant manual handling.
“This was an exciting project to be a part of and saw some quite incredible design achievements made with regards the green credentials. There was also a training kitchen for staff and students created to support the development of culinary skills throughout the College.”