ECO-CHEF NOW COOKING at Kidderminster Academy

Catering students at Kidderminster Academy, part of Birmingham Metropolitan College, are learning to cook on a state-of-the-art, British-made suite supplied by CHR Foodservice Equipment that uses the latest technologies, including in-built energy monitoring, designed to keep running costs down and standards up.

CHR won the tender to design and install a combined training and production kitchen for the Academys refectory area and coffee bar which would also deliver an evening offering to support a training restaurant requirement. The set up would need to cope with 200 covers in the refectory and cafe area and fine dining for 50. It was a perfect site for CHRs own environmentally friendly Eco-Chef cooking suite.

The Colleges key stipulations for the project were value for money, energy efficiency and sustainability. John Starmer Estates Director explains: It is important for any College development that right from the construction stage sustainability is built in. From my point of view, energy savings and conservation are absolutely critical. Right from the project concept we knew we wanted to move away from gas to electric convection ovens. The Eco-Chef suite, designed to the Colleges specification by CHR and built in the UK, measures 5metres x 1800mm and has five multipoint induction units, fryers, plancha, water baths, bar grill and salamander combined on the unit along with four combination ovens to provide the new eco-friendly all electric kitchen.

The bespoke CE-approved Eco-Chef suite (Kidderminster Academys version measures) also contains an integral SMART meter to monitor how much energy is being used, thereby providing the caterer with comprehensive information of exactly how much the suite is costing to run and helps to identify where further saving can be made. According to CHR Managing Director Ron Neville: The point of online monitoring is to identify misuse of energy. For example, an operator doesnt need access to five ovens, six induction hobs and a couple of fryers for breakfast. CHR can use the data to identify what the client really needs to be using at any specific time and tailor a solution.

 Neville says the use of induction for hot tops is a welcome development both for the environment and the pocket in terms of significantly reduced energy use and running costs. And he believes caterers should consider buying a complete suite like Eco-Chef rather than individual pieces. There are many advantages to this namely easier cleaning, better organisation, and they are manufactured to deliver the menu. They are also easier to install, easier to service and have a longer life span, he says. The complete installation at Kidderminster took place over four weeks. Eco-Chef immediately provoked massive interest from local hospitality businesses keen to get their hands on the unit. Demand now is so great that we are now looking at how best to extend the kitchen.

The Eco-Chef installation is a real success story. Starmer continues: For the students Eco-Chef has given them the opportunity to work on equipment that is at the forefront of cooking technology and the way of the future. At Birmingham Metropolitan College we aim to create a learning environment where students dont want to leave to go to home and this is certainly happening with the Academy students. Paul Neville of CHR adds: For those students now training with Eco-Chef, energy consciousness will be normal practice as they start their working lives, taking Green issues in commercial kitchens to the next level. Starmer adds:

It is important that operators take a longer view of equipment cost nowadays. Sustainable action targets are ever more important if operators dont want to be looking over their shoulder to Government levies on energy use.For more information on CHR and Eco-Chef contact CHR direct on 01772 499 774, or visit

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