Midlands & East Anglia

Creating the Cookhouse

The Cookhouse Projects

A high-quality food production facility is currently under development at the Suffolk Food Hall in Ipswich.

The Cookhouse will extend facilities and create new and exciting areas for consumers and artisan producers alike. The project involves the redevelopment of a former cattle building into a state-of-the-art food and drink centre that will include ten commercial kitchens, associated function rooms and educational facilities.

Additional dining space is also being created in order to extend the amount of covers at the site’s existing mezzanine-level Samford Restaurant from 160 to 250.

Once the Cookhouse is complete, the ten commercial kitchens will provide production workspaces whilst a smaller food production area with a linked garden will provide a demonstration area for school children.

The Cookhouse Projects

The project has been funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

Work began on transforming the former cattle building in November 2011 with the complete strip-out of the structure. Following this, a crane then re-levelled the building to correct the position and a steel portal frame was constructed around the original frame in order to create a steel exoskeleton.

Whilst the steel frame was installed to provide the building with support, it is also required for the creation of a first floor level. The first floor will offer exceptional views overlooking the River Orwell and two sides of the upper level will therefore be fully glazed.

A weatherboard finish will be fitted to the exterior of the building, whilst a new entrance and paths, paving and external lighting will also be created in order to connect the Cookhouse with the main Food Hall.

The Cookhouse Projects

Additional features include aluminium windows and doors, an engineered oak floor finish in the restaurant and Kingspan pantile sheets on the roof. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and air source heat pumps will also be installed to provide internal heating.

Main contractor on the Cookhouse is Bury Developments Limited, whilst the architect is Ashton Design Co Ltd and Toby Willis is the project manager. MLM is providing mechanical and electrical services along with structural consultancy and Todhunter Earle is responsible for all of the interior design work.

Suffolk Food Hall Limited Director, Oliver Paul, said:

“We do a lot of artisan food production onsite already at Suffolk Food Hall, but the development of the Cookhouse will allow further businesses to expand the offering.

“Within the Cookhouse we will have a smokehouse and a microbrewery along with a variety of specialist food producers. Essentially what we are trying to create is something similar to the original Covent Garden market, which comprised a series of boutiques all set along a central promenade. This way people can see exactly what is being produced and it will be a place where visitors can engage with producers.

“The independent food and drink sector has a really strong trading history and despite the current economic climate we’re seeing locally produced food undergo a great resurgence.”

“Suffolk Food Hall is a great place for people to spend the day and with the addition of the Cookhouse we will be able to offer a unique facility where visitors can learn all about food and then take some home to make their own meals.”

Bury Developments Ltd Managing Director, Austin Cornish, said:

“The Suffolk Food Hall is a business that is continuing to develop, so to be involved with a project like the Cookhouse is fantastic. We’re making a name for ourselves as specialist contractors within the food industry, so a project like this fits into our client base perfectly.”

Suffolk Food Hall is located on the site of a 4th generation working farm. The site brings together food and drink specialists all under one roof and includes a butcher, baker, fish monger, delicatessen, wine merchant, café, restaurant, garden centre and more.

The Cookhouse is scheduled for completion in July 2012.

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