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Rational’s Vario Keeps Pushing Newcastle’s 21 Forward, Eight Years On

Award winning restaurant claims the Rational Vario has contributed to its success

Newcastle’s 21 works smarter, efficiently, and sustainably with multifunctional cooking system

When it comes to creating an efficient and productive professional kitchen, advanced multifunctional cooking systems can have positive effects that allow your business to evolve and to keep up with modern day challenges.

Few chefs know this better than Terry Laybourne MBE, owner of Michelin star winning restaurant 21 and the 21 Hospitality Group based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. “When we got our two Rational VarioCookingCenters advanced bratt pans back in 2014 I was working full time in the kitchen,” he says. “The units speed everything up and have really let me focus on growing my business to where it is today.”

Terry has seen the industry change dramatically since opening 21. “Back then we didn’t really take into consideration issues like sustainability, keeping energy usage down or making sure production was as efficient as possible,” he says. “Obviously the attitude to that has changed significantly since then. Our Rational units play a key role in helping us to work smarter, efficiently and sustainably.”

As well as a Michelin Star, 21 has been awarded an Egon Ronay Star and a range of prestigious industry awards for the quality of its food. Terry feels that the Vario has played a vital role in achieving this. “Anyone can cook one great plate of food,” he says. “Cooking a hundred plates to the same standard is a different story. You need to be able to deliver consistent results, at different times of the day, with different staff and with product that changes throughout the season, sometimes even day to day.”

Eight years since they arrived, the VarioCookingCenters remain vitally important, allowing 21 to handle its 200 covers per service capacity as well as acting as production kitchens for the group’s other businesses, (The Broad Chare pub, Café 21, 21 Express, Saltwater Fish Company and Porterhouse Butcher and Grill).

In particular, preparing stocks and sauces could take up to eight hours to complete on traditional cooking equipment. Finding ways to speed this up was a priority. “I picked up on people cooking stocks under pressure, and the time reductions were significant so I started looking for equipment that could do that,” says Terry.

He began investigating alternatives, working with Clive Groom of CNG Foodservice Equipment. “Working with Clive has always been very productive,” says Terry. “He’s very good at taking my vision and refining it, identifying ways of improving it that I hadn’t considered.”

His advice to any operators thinking of getting a Rational, for example the iVario Pro, is to research what it can do. The iVario advanced bratt pan is now available to order from an accredited RATIONAL Dealer, with a lead time of only 8-10 weeks. “It’s easy to assume that it’s just a bratt pan,” he explains. “But it’s so much more than that, its flexibility and ability to do many different tasks to a high standard bring a lot to the party!”

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


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