Chichester College has undergone a large development project, taking place from February to October of last year, worth nearly £3 million. The project included new state-of-the-art kitchens for student training, a café ‘Café 19’ and a new student-run restaurant ‘64 Restaurant & Bar’, which are both open to the public. Both Café 19 and 64 Restaurant & Bar use the new kitchens to prepare each of their menus with students at the heart of the process.
“Initially, the refurbishment was for it to be one huge kitchen that would service two restaurants and staff. Alongside that there would be a training kitchen and back of house area but because of structural reasons the one kitchen is now separated to serve both the café and the restaurant as well as to train students,” commented Julia Williams, Head of Learning for Service Industries at Chichester College.
“The bar and restaurant are much more involved with the college as we have moved its location to make it more visible in the centre of the college. You can now look into it when walking past,” added Julie Sleeman, Chief Operating Officer at Chichester College. All three of the projects sit across the ground floor to enable customers and students alike easy access in order to enjoy the superb dishes that are on offer.
Seating 65 covers comfortably, Café 19 is the perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee or sandwich. The interior of the café incorporates much of the college’s branding through the use of their colour scheme in the accents in the design.
“One of the unique features of both Café 19 and 64 Restaurant & Bar is that at any point the customers can look through into the kitchen and see their food being prepared,” said Julia. “We also have a modern serving counter in the café and used wooden flooring with a slight distressed grey effect which offsets the lovely cedar wood on the ceiling. Our architects, HNW, came up with the ceiling design which was then handmade by our fantastic contractors Amiri Construction.”
The use of this cedar wood ceiling across all three areas helps to create a warm atmosphere that runs through the whole space. The exterior of the café has been enhanced with the use of a Café 19 motif on the windows which ensures that the site is distinctively branded.
The 80 cover 64 Restaurant & Bar also keeps the Chichester College branding with the use of teal on the wall as well as a mix of pink and pale grey leather seating. “We’ve tried to bring in different types of seating to create a space that can be used for different occasions from formal to informal with high backed dining chairs in the restaurant area and more comfortable seating in the bar area,” Julie explained. “It’s a very flexible space as it can be used for lots of different functions such as conferences and events.”
For events involving larger parties, the bar and restaurant can be opened up into one larger room that can house around 120 people. “We have some amazing glass partitions that make a hallway between the bar and restaurant which we can open,” commented Julia.
The new state-of-the-art kitchens are separated into three in order to cater for the café, restaurant and student training. “We can have 62 students in the Café 19 kitchen and 64 Restaurant & Bar as well as another 60 in the back training kitchen which is all fitted out with brand new equipment,” added Julia. “Early on we realised that we needed to invest in fairly sophisticated catering equipment so that the students have everything they could possibly need. We made a conscious decision to go with the brand MKN for our ovens. It’s very high-tech and is equipment that not all local businesses have yet.”
With equipment such as 11 touchscreen oven systems, with USB technology allowing them to be programmed away from the kitchen, an MKN FlexiChef and an MKN oven with a smoker attachment, the kitchens can cater to every need.
Thanks to this investment, an area that was over 40 years old and with outdated equipment has been transformed into a new and innovative site that caters perfectly to the college’s needs.
“For me, it’s a once in a lifetime experience to budget and design a kitchen that will take students forward. It’s incredibly exciting,” commented Julie.
Julie added, “From my perspective, it’s just great to be able to have that amount of money to spend on an area that was in desperate need of investment. It’s been a wonderful.”