Kendal College, situated on the edge of the Lake District National Park provides a wide and diverse variety of educational programmes.
At their main site, on Milnthorpe Road in Kendal, the exterior has undergone something of a physical transformation as part of a £13million new build and refurbishment project. The new landmark three storey building contains a new main entrance, reception, hairdressing salons, conference suites of seminar rooms and 250 seater cafe with adjoining kitchens and patisserie. The project also features a new construction heritage centre. However, the work did not stop there.
Providing high quality education and training courses in Hospitality and Catering required the installation of new kitchen equipment in multiple locations within the site.
Mike Mounfield, Master Chef of Great Britain and Head of The Lakes Hotel School, guides me around the new facilities that include a demonstration kitchen, production kitchen, pastry kitchen, new restaurant for student and staff dining and private functions.
How did you go about selecting your supplier for a project as diverse and detailed as this?
"We knew that this was going to be a project that needed a great deal of careful consideration at each stage, and therefore tendered for the provision of these services. Vision Commercial Kitchens won the tender based on their catalogue of experience."
We firstly visit the College Demonstration Kitchen.
"One of the things that I am passionate about is teaching theory with props. Within the demonstration room we have three HD cameras with continuous recording capability. They record the lessons held, which are then uploaded to the College?s virtual learning environment. This means that should a student miss a lesson, they can watch it at a later time online."
So what was the brief?
"The brief was to create a trendy bachelor pad style kitchen with high-end domestic equipment, blended with industrial kit, hence the induction oven, Joker Combi and the Smeg cooker."
I suppose function is everything in here, everything must have it?s own specific place?
"Absolutely, this room is also a 40 seater cinema. As you can see, we have a screen which has been fitted into the ceiling in front of the extraction.
This space required a great deal of attention to detail, for example the mirror at the back of the kitchen is not just an aesthetic consideration, it allows the chef to observe students even when facing away from them.
We have a polished steel ceiling, mirror lights, and we have even incorporated local green slate into the finish.
We are able to have a guest butcher or chef come along and do demonstrations, and, it?s also a twenty-cover private dining space. Students can cook under the guidance of a chef for guests, who can watch the cooking on the plasma screens.
It?s a fantastic resource which the students benefit greatly from."
This room alone needed to deliver a great deal, how were all the requirements handled by Vision?
In terms of project management, Vision did a sterling job. At all times they were approachable and amenable. My main contact was, and still is, Andrew Burns. The project details did mean quite a lot of conversation either face to face or over the phone, and Vision were always on hand.
As head of The Lakes Hotel School, it was very important to me to get everything just right, so those conversations sometimes went late into the evening and, whether I needed to move or change some aspect of a space, the answer was always yes. What Andrew said when he put the phone down you would have to ask him