Founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Johan Kadar and chef David Berggren, the AVEQIA brand combines a top-class restaurant with a cookery school, offering guests the ideal venue for both entertainment and education.
To date AVEQIA boasts three sites, two of which are located in Sweden, whilst the latest edition is situated at St Bride Street, in London.
Launched on 17th September, AVEQIA Farringdon is the brand’s first international venue. The site has the capacity for 80 guests and includes a bar and lounge and five kitchens each with its own dining room.
Unlike conventional cookery schools AVEQIA Farringdon allows guests to prepare meals which they then share together over a few glasses of wine. The concept behind the AVEQIA brand is that guests should enjoy the social aspects of cookery, whilst they learn a thing or two about food preparation along the way.
AVEQIA Farringdon is ideal for corporate organisations keen to indulge in team building exercises and with a group of Swedish chefs at the helm the concept is currently going down a storm.
Work began on AVEQIA Farringdon in July 2012 and was completed in early September, ahead of its grand opening. The £1.5 million project involved the transformation of a 400 sq m basement site into a fully-functional dining and kitchen area.
Three of the kitchens on the site were designed in conjunction with Gaggenau, whilst the remaining two kitchens were completed in conjunction with Siemens. All of the kitchens at AVEQIA Farringdon were fitted with a stunning selection of top of the range equipment and this helped to create a mixed workspace which is part Michelin-starred restaurant and part luxurious home kitchen.
Lambert Shopfitting Ltd was the main contractor on the project, whilst Jenny Anderson from Brinkworth was the interior designer on the site. Prior to working on AVEQIA Farringdon, Jenny Anderson provided design services for number of Stockholm-based restaurants and her involvement on the London-based project was seen as integral to its success.
AVEQIA Co-founder, David Berggren, said:
“AVEQIA Farringdon is not a cookery school. It is a totally new concept in cooking and dining. Friends and colleagues can cook and eat together, which offers our guests a great way to socialise and the concept works perfectly for businesses. Instead of kidnapping clients for hours at a time and taking them around a golf course, companies wishing to develop good relationships with their clients can now bring them here, cook with them, socialise with them and ultimately bond with them.
“We have had many important people travelling from London to our Stockholm site to try the AVEQIA experience, so naturally it made perfect sense for us to take our latest site to London. The AVEQIA concept works very well in Sweden, but to have the concept working in London gives us the opportunity to grow the brand. Within the next five years we plan to open 27 additional AVEQIA restaurants so before we do this we want to ensure that our London site is a big success.”
“The transformation of the site has been fantastic, and the feedback so far for AVEQIA Farringdon has been extremely good. I am very happy with the site and in particular the work completed by Jenny Anderson, as well as our project manager.”
An evening spent at AVEQIA Farringdon includes a glass of champagne, a four course taster menu and a selection of wines specially selected by the in-house sommelier. The menu focuses on Swedish cuisine and every meal is prepared to the highest level of quality making use of the best locally sourced produce.
The name AVEQIA comes from the Latin word AVE which means welcome; whilst the Q stands for quorum; the I is for inspiration and the A stands for accubo, which translates as ‘to the table’. Whilst AVEQIA Farringdon might be the latest site in the portfolio it is the flagship site in Stockholm which holds the crown for being the largest AVEQIA restaurant to date.
AVEQIA Stockholm houses the largest cooking venue in Europe with six kitchens and has a capacity to cater for up to 160 guests. Meanwhile its sister site – AVEQIA Gothenburg – is a slightly smaller restaurant which can accommodate approximately half the guests of AVEQIA Stockholm.
Discussing his experience in the industry and the subsequent creation of the AVEQIA brand, chef and AVEQIA co-founder David Berggren, said:
“Back in 1996, after a number of fantastic years at Operakällaren under one of Europe’s most famous chefs, Werner Vögeli, I was asked to start working as the Swedish representative chef at the Swedish Foreign Ministry. This gave me a great opportunity to perfect my skills at arranging larger events.
“I cooked for the Royal family, the Prime Minister and the Government offices and arranged special dinners for Heads of State, leading business people and various dignitaries from other countries in Sweden.
“In 1998 I was recommended to travel to The Cellars Hohenort in South Africa to work together with Jean-Christophe Novelli, a famous French chef who introduced modern cooking as we know it to the world. Naturally I jumped at the chance.
“At the time the trend of building open kitchens, where guests could watch the chefs at work, was all the rage. There was a great curiosity to know what happened behind the doors in the restaurant. One night at The Cellars Hohenort, with the restaurant filled to capacity, I went out in the dining room and sat down with the guests to share the secrets of their experience with them. A lady asked me, as a kind of a joke, if she could have the recipe – which I gave her, written on a napkin.
“Weeks passed and I got more and more enquiries from curious guests who wanted me to come out into the dining room; which I gladly did. I noticed that the guests liked to meet the chef, share my knowledge and ask all sorts of questions about the recipes and learn the art behind cooking a great sauce.
“This was the birth of AVEQIA as an idea: a new kind of restaurant where the guests could cook their food together with the chefs. We now call it ‘active cooking’. Today active cooking has gone from being AVEQIA’s unique business concept, to a niche category with several competitors.”
“Now that AVEQIA is taking its next step out into the bigger world, the vision is to continue to develop, run and refine the category of active cooking, based on the values that have so far driven the concept. For this reason, unlike our competitors, we are going to develop this category by focusing on the power of gastronomy as a connector between people rather than through food only. That the food is top quality; that our chefs have experience from star-restaurants; that we were the ones who created the category – they are all factors that allow us the credibility to take it further and enable people to connect powerfully through gastronomy.”
AVEQIA Farringdon costs £155 per person, based on bookings of 8-12 people. The booking includes the aid of a personal chef, the use of a kitchen and dining room, a four course meal complete with sparkling wine and an AVEQIA apron. An alternative reduced booking is available for individual guests.
For more information about AVEQIA please visit: www.aveqia.co.uk.
Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd
Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd specialises in the design and installation of air conditioning and ventilation systems, primarily for use in retail stores, restaurants and offices. The company has been in operation for over eight years and in this time the company has completed work on many high profile projects, including a flagship store for Abercrombie & Fitch and a brand new store for Hollister.
Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd also has a long-running working relationship with the Arcadia Group and is currently involved with a new BHS/Outfit store in Milton Keynes.
Working on Aveqia, Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd was responsible for the installation of heating, cooling, ventilation and extraction systems, as well as the installation of plumbing and hot water.
Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd Company Director, Joe Sugden, said:
“Our involvement with Aveqia was very important to us. This is the first Aveqia restaurant that we have worked on and they have been an excellent client to work for.”
“Ambient Air Conditioning Ltd has three company directors and every project that we handle has the involvement of at least one of us. This means the client is always dealing with a decision maker, which makes the work run very smoothly every time.”
Lambert Shopfitting Ltd
Lambert Shopfitting LTD specialise in internal fit-out works for projects within the leisure and hospitality industry. The company has been in operation for a number of years and undertake a wide variety of projects, with a specific focus on bars, restaurants and the retail units.
Working on Aveqia, Lambert Shopfitting Ltd was initially employed to provide expertise in health and safety, however the company was later appointed to manage the site and to provide labour, support and trades when required.
Lambert Shopfitting Ltd Company Founder, Peter Lambert, said:
“Aveqia is currently looking to expand across Europe and the UK, so our involvement with the brand is very important to a small company such as ourselves.
“At Lambert Shopfitting Ltd we are proud of our dedication to hitting all of our targets and meeting clients’ expectations. We have a great reputation in the industry and receive a lot of our business through recomendation.”