15th Century Inn’s High Tech Energy Optimisation Solution

Michael Wignall's new kitchen includes Rational combi steamers and Sicotronic energy management

The Angel at Hetton is widely regarded as the UK's original gastro pub. Chef patron Michael Wignall and his wife Johanna took over the famous 15th century inn in 2018, gaining a Michelin star in 2019. They decided to completely redevelop the kitchen and bar, with the emphasis on using the latest equipment and efficiencies to create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business.

One of the key changes was to transition from gas to an all-electric kitchen. Michael explains, "We felt very strongly that it was important to move away from LPG gas and over to electricity, to allow us to create an energy efficient kitchen that would be future-proof."

CHR Equipment Ltd was appointed to handle the project. However, there was an obstacle: the planned kitchen would create a peak electrical load that would be considerably more than the old gas-powered one had required.

Unfortunately the local substation was already operating at capacity, and the cost to upgrade it, to cope with the new kitchen's peak load, would have been around £200,000. At this point, CHR contacted Ki-Tech Solutions, to see if the company's Sicotronic Energy Optimisation system could provide a solution.

The Sicotronic system intelligently manages a site's electric power consumption, constantly scanning the connected circuits to share and divert power when needed to where it is needed. Calculations determined that the system could bring the new kitchen's peak demand load down by over 50%, which would allow Michael and his team to continue with their wish of making the Angel Inn more eco-friendly, efficient and sustainable, and becoming all-electric.

Obviously the kitchen equipment needed to be compatible and connectable to the Sicotronic system. In the prep kitchen, Michael installed two Rational iCombi Pro combi steamers. In fact, the two iCombi Pros are stacked on top of each other, using Rational's space-saving Combi Duo system.

"The iCombi Pros fit seamlessly into our system," says Michael. "We've worked with Rational for over 25 years. They set the industry standard for combi ovens, they keep on improving the technology and they've made them easier to operate. We'll be using the iCombis for a wide range of cooking processes, including smoking, sous-vide, low temperature cooking and baking."

With the Sicotronic energy management system, chefs and operators see no discernible drop in performance, as the power is cut to elements only for a matter of seconds when the peak is neared. Equipment can be prioritised, timed or locked out according to operational requirements, and the system can be expanded to non-kitchen applications such as laundry, spa and car charging.

"Since they use highly advanced technology, Rational cooking systems are ideal for energy management software," says Richard Fordham of Ki-Tech. "Both the iCombi Pro and the iVario are compatible with our energy optimisation controls."

Michael says, "Sustainability and energy efficiency are hugely important, especially in a rural area. Being the first restaurant to use the Sicotronic linked with the iCombi Pro must make us one of the most energy efficient kitchens in the UK!"

The Angel at Hetton is the first of several projects that Rational and Ki-Tech are working on together - future sites include hotels, restaurants and hospitals. "As the move toward nett zero carbon gathers pace the demand for electricity will only grow," says Fordham. "However, with limited national capacity, there will also be a growing need for energy optimisation systems. That's especially true in commercial kitchens, where many operators are already at their peak load."

Graham Kille is technical sales director at Rational UK. He says, "The Angel at Hetton is an inspirational example of what can be achieved by using the latest kitchen technologies. Michael and Johanna are among a growing number of operators who are committed to using the innovative, sustainable solutions that we will all need in the future."

For more information on The Angel at Hetton visit www.angelhetton.co.uk

For more on CHR Equipment Ltd visit www.chrequipement.co.uk

For more on Ki-Tech Solutions visit www.ki-tech.solutions

For information and brochures, or to find out about free Rational Live online demonstrations, call +44 (0)1582 480388, freephone 0800 389 2944 or visit www.rational-online.com

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