St Chad’s College is the smallest of the colleges residing under Durham University and is situated in a picturesque spot, right next to Durham Cathedral.

Accommodating a small but diverse range of students, including a host of international students, the college operates independently from Durham University and are responsible for their own internal budget and in-house catering operation.

The combined open kitchen and servery areas were last updated around 25 years ago and following a recommendation from the University, they enlisted the services of GastroNorth to design and install an updated and improved facility, separating the kitchen and servery areas and generally modernising the space.

The design needed to be contemporary but with a traditional feel in order to contrast with the grand dining hall, creating an enhanced environment for the students and staff. The operational brief was to provide a facility to support general day-to-day catering as well as formal evening dinners for the students.

GastroNorth took possession of the site on December 15th working to a January 12th handover deadline. The project commenced with a full strip out of the entire kitchen space including the existing M&E infrastructure, ventilation system, coldroom, in-built safe and nine sash windows.

With the exception of the safe, these were all renewed and a new partition wall was constructed between the kitchen and servery. New hygienic wall and floor coverings were fitted and the servery area decorated prior to the installation of new kitchen and servery equipment. The tight time scale meant that the Christmas and New Year period would have to be worked around to help deliver the project efficiently and on schedule.

As well as the time-based obstacles for this project, the team also had to consider the project approach due to the location of the site. With no on-street or on-site parking, no vans or skips would be available and the nearest parking was roughly one mile away. This required materials and deliveries to be quickly brought onto site via multiple trips outside of normal working hours and waste to be disposed of off-site in the same manner.

The project handed over successfully on time and within budget on 12th January to high acclaim from the client who was delighted with the finished result. The staff were trained off site during the construction phase at GastroNorth’s in house development kitchen to ensure they hit the ground running when they moved back into their completed kitchen.

The GastroNorth development chef then attended site for the first two days of service to assist staff with the operation of the equipment, which ensured a smooth handover for all concerned.

Vice Principal & Bursar of St Chad’s, Alistair Jenkins commented “From the moment we first spoke to Gastro North we knew that we had an exciting and viable project. In all of our dealings with Tim and the team we have been impressed by their professionalism, attention to detail and commitment to deliver a first class project.

“The end result is a kitchen and servery which looks and feels so much better and is far more functional than anything our students and customers have enjoyed in the past. We would have no hesitation in recommending Gastro North to others and hope to build on our relationship with them in the coming years.”

GastroNorth provided products for the project from Frima, Unox, CED, Roller Grill and Celltherm.

Tim Whitfield, GastroNorth Director, said, “We’re really happy with this project, especially given the constraints we were working to in terms of time and location. We also had to contend with snow, Australian flu, and Santa Claus, yet still managed to deliver on schedule. A magnificent effort from all involved and a fantastic example of the complete turnkey solution available from GastroNorth”.