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24 Nov GastroNorth Winners Blog Catering Insight Awards

We’re ecstatic to announce that last night we won the Digital Initiative of the Year Award at the Catering Insight Awards 2017! We were up against some tough competition but thankfully we have come away with 2 awards in as many years.

Not only were we winners of the Digital Initiative of the Year Award, we were also runners up for Northern Area Distributor of the Year, which we were winners of last year. Tim, Richard, Tracy and Zoe were all in attendance representing Gastronorth last night, deep in the heart of London.

We’re over the moon to have received this award for our growing online presence and our use of photo and video media online, and our work around our very own GastroLab!

Many thanks to all who have helped us and it was great to see all in attendance! We hope to see you all next year too.

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GastroNorth Catering Insight

03 Nov GastroNorth shortlisted for 2 awards at prestigious industry event…

GastroNorth are delighted to have been shortlisted in no less than two categories for the up and coming Catering Insight Awards 2017.

Taking place on November 23 in London, the event showcases the movers and shakers of the catering and foodservice sector, who hope to be victorious in their areas of expertise.

At last year’s Catering Insight Awards, we were overjoyed to be presented with the award for the Northern Distributor of the Year and this year, we hope to do the same.

This time round, we have not only been shortlisted for the Northern Distributor of the Year, but also the Distributor Digital Initiative of the Year award and are so thankful to the Catering Insight team for recognising our work.

For the Northern award, we were chosen thanks to the astounding year we’ve had in 2017, which began with the opening our onsite demonstration kitchen, the GatsroLab. We have also completed a record number of projects, as well as being nominated in the CEDA Gran Prix Awards for the £3m Glasgow College refit.

Our GastroLab is also the reason we have been shortlisted for the Digital Initiative award. The development kitchen has its own digital platform, which allows users to learn about the facility and book into upcoming events. Our new project management system and increased social media presence have also played a part in this.

We would like to thank all of the suppliers for their continued support throughout the year, without you, none of this would be possible.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on the evening and wish everyone who has been nominated for an award the best of luck.

If you would like to see the full shortlist, head to

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30 Oct We’re recruiting!

The GastroNorth team are continually getting busier, so now we’re looking for an experienced Operations Manager to join our ever-growing team.

We’re looking to hire a Foodservice Operations Manager who ideally has five-years of experience specifically in project management for foodservice projects and installations.

The main role of our Operations Manger will be to co-ordinate our Project Management teams and oversee the delivery of various size projects, from £30k to £3m across the UK.

The ideal candidate should hold a minimum of cat com 1, 3 and 5 gas accreditations.

This is a senior management position with excellent remuneration and package available, including a company car.

Those looking to apply should contact our Director, Richard, at

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17 Oct GastroNorth at Tyneside Foodservice Trade Exhibition

The GastroNorth team are heading to Gateshead International Stadium this week to exhibit at the Tyneside Foodservice Trade Exhibition.

The show, which is running throughout the day on October 18th, will give attendees the opportunity to network with the over 500 caterers, chefs and food professionals that are set to attend the trade show which is held by North East-based foodservice distributors, Tyneside Foodservice.

Those who pay us a visit on Stand 2 at the show are set to be in for a treat. Not only will our expert team be on hand to discuss any questions you might have about GastroNorth’s services, but we will also be showcasing a range of live cooking appliances that reflect the service we offer from our GastroLab, our own in-house development kitchen and restaurant based at our head office in Team Valley.

Visitors to our stand will also be table to take advantage of the wide range of products available for direct sale from GastroDirect and enjoy trade show discounts and special offers.

We’re looking forward to seeing both visitors and suppliers at the Tyneside Foodservice Exhibition, so make sure you pop by our stand for a chat and a slice of pizza.

For more information on the show visit

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James Blanchard

20 Sep GastroNorth’s newly qualified apprentice joins a string of career success stories for the firm

Leading distributors GastroNorth pledge a commitment to nurture their staff as the younger members of their team set out to forge a career within the industry.

At Tyneside-based GastroNorth, who specialise in the design, supply and installation of commercial kitchens, the philosophy is one of progression and the newest entrants follow a structured career plan which enables new talent to be brought in to replace them as they continue to develop and the cycle continues.

With a number of apprentices who have joined the ranks of the award-winning firm, GastroNorth have developed a reputation for really developing their staff members.

The latest beginner to benefit from GastroNorth’s training is James Blanchard, who came straight out of college and into an Apprentice CAD Technician role and has how now just completed his design engineering apprenticeship.

James’ position involved assisting the team with their design workload, but now he’s completed his apprenticeship he will take on the role of Junior Design Engineer and will be learning how to turn his designs into quotations by accurately specifying equipment to meet a client’s brief.

Tim Whitfield, Director at GastroNorth, said: “Since starting with us, James’ abilities have continually improved and we can’t wait to see how that progression continues as he comes increasingly involved with projects through sales or management, depending on where his natural aptitude lies’.

“One of our main aims at GastroNorth is to employ staff who we can develop within our industry, and not just hire apprentices who are going to join us and then leave after a year or two, we want to help our young staff members to progress their careers and develop a GastroNorth way of thinking and working.”

Another one of the firm’s apprentices, Shona Grant, who started around the same time as James has also recently passed her Administrative Assistant Apprenticeship and has now become Project Administrator, helping the admin team with projects, warranties and logistics.

Two new Apprentice Installation Engineers have also recently joined the team in the summer, following a run of Apprentice Field Engineers who GastroNorth have helped take a leap into the industry.

Tim added: “It is part of our mission to help young people take their first steps into a career in our industry and we are always on the lookout for enthusiastic and talented individuals to fill positions as and when they become available.”

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18 Aug The fundamentals of an open kitchen…

The open kitchen is quickly becoming not just a luxury but a necessity in catering facilities, as more and more restaurants seek to deliver an attractive environment for their guests.

GastroNorth are highly experienced in delivering well-designed and installed open kitchen areas, and are confident in offering this in-demand theatre-style kitchen to those who desire it.

When it comes to the design of open kitchens, our talented team at GastroNorth know that there is much to consider, such as the aesthetics and the functionality of the space.

It’s vital to take into account what the customers will embrace from the open kitchen, such as noise pollution, and what equipment and cooking methods are on display – it needs to be the right amount to deliver the ‘wow factor’, many cooking methods are not appealing and wouldn’t offer a good show for guests.

Space is often limited in open kitchens, so operators need to get the most out of what room they have by utilising multi-functional products. Equipment such as combination ovens or vario cooking centres allow chefs to switch cooking methods whilst remaining on one product, and also save on energy, cleaning and staff training.

Suited equipment and bespoke cooking blocks are incredibly popular as they are aesthetically pleasing when on display in an open kitchen. Stand alone units are not a good choice as the design and look of the kitchen needs to be flush, created with performance in mind.

Evaluating the preparation, production and service areas is necessary for open kitchens, as this will ensure that the whole process is pleasing to the eye, but also functional for the chef and kitchen staff.

This could be making a compromise on the how much is on display in the open kitchen, for example, the dishes would be created back-of-house and then finished off front-of-house in the open kitchen, on display for guests.

Every kitchen operation is different, so it’s essential that operators speak to professionals, like our team at GastroNorth, who have experience creating open kitchens for numerous establishments – from multisite operations to Michelin star restaurants.

To find out more about GastroNorth and how they can help you create the perfect open kitchen, give the team a call on 0191 4142882 or email

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GastroNorth | GastroLab | Frima Cook Live

21 Jul It’s time to visit the GastroLab…

It has been a few short months since GastroNorth’s GastroLab officially opened its doors and it is already impressing chefs and end users across the industry.

The idea for the GastroLab was developed from the GastroNorth team’s passion for delivering excellence, and the desire to create a development kitchen that would be constantly evolving, containing all of the most current and leading industry equipment.

The GastroLab launched in March this year and can be found on-site at our Team Valley Trading Estate headquarters in Gateshead, where our talented development chef Alan McKenna cooks up a selection of delights for visitors.

Those visiting the rustic-designed GastroLab will receive a first hand experience of the latest and most innovative equipment available on the market, and can learn about the functionality and benefits of each product, as well as enjoying live cooking demonstrations which can, of course, be taste tested.

Both current and future customers looking to purchase new equipment for their catering facility will be able to take a clear look at what’s on offer before making a decision, ensuring that the equipment they buy is right for them.

At the GastroLab we also hold a number of free events available to those in the foodservice industry, these are ideal if you are looking to come in for a fun filled day in our lab and to learn more about certain pieces of equipment.

GastroNorth | GastroLab | Frima Cook LiveComing up on September 7, we are holding the Frima VarioCooking Centre Live Demo where you will enjoy a stunning sample menu from the specialist Frima chef team and learn about the great features and benefits built into this range.

Our Unox Mind Maps Live Demo takes place on September 13, where we will demonstrate the capabilities of the Unox Mind Map Plus Combination Oven and combined Deck Top Bakery Oven/Prover.

To book onto one of the GastroLab’s fantastic free events or to find out more about the lab, visit

As one of the UK’s leading designers, suppliers and installers of professional foodservice systems, GastroNorth are known within the industry for their passion and understanding of modern cooking equipment, functional design and dining trends.

To find out more about what we can do for you, give us a call on 0191 4142882

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Power list 2017 - Catering insight

07 Jul GastroNorth team members make the Catering Insight Power list

The team at GastroNorth are absolutely delighted to learn of the inclusion of Director Tim Whitfield and Sales & Design Engineer Simon Neill in the Catering insight 2017 power list.

Simon Neill, who recently featured in the catering insight magazine for his great work at Darlington College, was again making the headlines in the “Young Trailblazers” category of the power list, which highlights the next generation of industry professionals and the great work they do for their respective companies.

Simon was recently promoted from CAD Technician and since then has been making great progress in the sales area of his role and has proven to be a real asset for the future of the company.

Handling projects in excess of £200,000 with limited experience is no easy feat, but Simon as shown maturity, intellect and confidence to deliver stunning catering facilities for our clients and will continue to do so for many years to come. The feature talks heavily around the topic of Simon’s skills to deliver the Darlington College, leaving his Directors extremely pleased with him for all the right reasons.

The first entry into the 2017 power list was our director Tim Whitfield who follows in the footsteps of fellow Director Richard Toye who was listed in the same category in 2016!

We’re delighted to report that it’s been another great year for the business thanks to the drive of all the directors. Working with new and existing clients ,Tim has founded great relationships which have ultimately opened up new opportunities for continued growth for 2017 and onwards.

Tim also recognises the importance of developing employees and promoting staff like Simon, which makes GastroNorth a very opportunistic environment to work in. Industry colleagues describe Tim as an “inspiration” and that he works with a sensible, methodical and practical approach.

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Chris Beckett and Steve Clark

13 Jun GastroNorth welcome two highly-qualified staff members to the team…

Industry veterans Steve Clark and Chris Beckett are the latest pair to join the GastroNorth ranks, who join the company to aid with the continual growth.

Both have been with GastroNorth just three weeks and are already making their mark as highly valued team members.

With a background in the electrical industry and previous experience in the commercial catering industry, Steve has taken on the role of a Project Manager at GastroNorth.

Steve’s role involves working alongside the existing Project management team, managing GastroNorth projects, processing them from orders and also creating technical drawings, managing the project with the Project Admin team to deliver amazing results for our clients.

Dealing with the technical elements of each project, Steve incorporates all of the electrics and equipment to a layout design and visits the site to ensure that everything fits correctly for a safe and efficient catering facility.

Steve said: “Working at GastroNorth has been great so far, I’ve got the experience so now I’m just learning how to apply it to the company.

“They are a fantastic squad to work with, there is always such a great atmosphere in the office.”

Chris Beckett is GastroNorth’s new operations manager, who started out in the industry when he left school, with 12 years spent in the plumbing trade before going on to achieve his gas qualifications.

Chris has worked numerous roles in the industry, including as a mechanical service manager, with experience working on the installation of new builds, commercial buildings and education facilities combined with actually being a qualified gas engineer making him a fantastic asset at GastroNorth.

As Operations Manager, Chris oversees all of the Project Managers and Operations, ensuring the smooth running of numerous, vital daily duties.

“Both mine and Steve’s roles were developed to work alongside the exisiting PM’s and Tracy the office manager to allow the directors to focus on business Direction and growth, while we tackle the day to day running of the businesson the ground,” said Chris.

“GastroNorth has been growing at an outstanding rate in the last few years, the client base and type of works is vast and varied and I hope that our roles will allow that growth to continue further.”

He added: “GastroNorth is a great company, the staff are all really lovely and always willing to help.”

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02 Jun GastroNorth welcome Development Chef Alan to the team…

Responsible for cooking up a storm in the GastroLab is Development Chef, Alan McKenna. 

When the GastroNorth team first came up with the idea for the GastroLab, we knew that we would need a talented Development Chef who would be able to execute the concept to its full potential.

GastroNorth Director, Tim Whitfield, was already aware of Alan’s extensive experience, which made him the team’s first choice thanks to his impressive talent and background in the industry.

The GastroLab launched in March this year, with Alan being brought on board to kick things off with a few demonstrations.

Alan said: “It started off as just a temporary thing, but before long I decided to come on full board, officially working two days a week in the GastroLab.

“I’ve really been enjoying the new challenge, which is why I decided to take on the role as development chef permanently, I find it really therapeutic working in the GastroLab and the team are happy with the work I’ve been doing, too, so that’s great.”


As the development chef at GastroLab, Alan’s main priority is to showcase the catering equipment that GastroNorth can offer their customers. 

“I’ve learned all the ins and outs of each piece of equipment and created dishes that I can cook in them, producing both the recipe and cooking method of each dish,” said Alan.

“Potential clients are then invited in to come and see a cooking demonstration and the equipment in action, as well as do a bit of taste testing.”

The innovative GastroLab gives Chefs the chance to try before they buy, with the chance to see equipment from leading manufacturers around the world, such as the Mibrasa oven, Unox combination oven, Ascenti F1 pizza oven and many more, all expertly designed to save time on the job. 

Alan has been in the culinary industry for over 30 years and even owns two restaurants, McKenna’s and Fell’s Kitchen, in the Newcastle area.

His expertise and passion for both cooking and the GastroLab is part of what makes the GastroLab experience such an enjoyable one, with Alan on hand to train staff in equipment and even take a side step as other Chefs have a go for themselves.

He said: “The GastroLab is going extremely well and we’re really pushing it. It’s an outstanding idea, we’ve had some fantastic feedback from everyone who has visited so far.

“Trends in the catering industry are always changing and technology is always on the move and we will aim to adhere to that with our offering.”

If you would like to pay Alan a visit and see what the GastroLab has to offer then please email or call 0191 4142882

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