There was no kitchen in existence so we literally had to create one using a couple of rooms at the front of the house, says Jean Delport, executive head chef at Restaurant Interlude at Leonardslee House and Gardens.
However, the building’s Grade II-listed status meant we needed to accommodate all the equipment without knocking down any walls or ceilings. Whilst it was relatively simple to position the smaller items it soon became obvious that the cook suite would have to be bespoke.
The Grade II status meant that a cook suite powered by gas, and the associated extract system, was not an option, but the inclusion of an Athanor Plaque within the bespoke four metre-long suite means that essentially I have a solid top on which I can cook directly or indirectly. With the addition of two multi-zone induction hobs, built-in single well fryer, roasting oven, and hot holding drawers, as well as a salamander, I have everything I need.
It’s not just the form and function of the Athanor that I love, it’s all the other benefits. The use of induction means that the kitchen environment is cooler than any other I have ever worked in and I have never come across a cook suite that is easier to clean.
If I look at what we have now it’s actually pretty amazing because what Grande Cuisine have actually managed to do, despite the site restrictions, is create a suite that does more than I ever thought was possible for less than I expected to pay.