Jonathan Player knows it very well and it is why he identified this in his role managing a group of day nursery schools. Jonathan and his father John own the Seymour House Day Nursery School, a 24 Nursery Schools structure located in Essex (London) and in the surrounding area.

Instead of cooking from scratch in each of the schools they decided to have everything made in a purpose made “Central Production Unit” so they could control the quality, nutritional values and costs for all their schools.

For such a large operation they needed the help of a Catering Designer and project manager for the whole installation and selected Steve Hammond, Managing Director of PHCC Ltd from Shenfield, local to the project... When it came to the Catering Equipment supply, Steve mainly turned to the brand Baron Kitchens for professionals, which has been distributed from Universal Foodservice Equipment for 16 years in UK.


Let’s discover more about this interesting project through the impressions of Steve Hammond.


1 Let’s Talk about PHCC LTD.


PHCC Ltd is a design, supply and project management company based in Shenfield, Essex (UK). It is owned and managed by Steve Hammond who has many years and wide experience in the Catering Equipment Market. His Company deals with Blue chip companies and has designed and supplied companies like Giraffe Restaurants, Browns Hotel , London, The Howard Hotel London as well as many YO SUSHI restaurants which he is still involved with, and supplied most of them with Baron Equipment.


2. What are the most important aspects to consider when designing a professional kitchen like the one in The Professional Nursery Kitchen?


Obviously space planning and flow of staff and food are vitally important but so is the selection of materials, ventilation and food temperature control. With these are considerations to all food hygiene requirements and all environmental laws to be attained.

From then is the selection of equipment? Is it environmentally up to speed, is it durable to stand the test of time, is its performance good and reliability sound and equally will the company supplying the equipment be able to support the products with a good parts and service support.

I have used Baron in many projects and their new high tech Bratt pans and Combination Ovens are perfect for this kind of project. Because they are really flexible and they can be used in various type of structures: hotels, restaurants and also in central cooking unit used to cater as in the case of the Seymour nurseries center.


3. How to combine efficiency and design?


Space planning is vitally important as if you get it wrong, the whole of the design might fail. So first in any design I plan the space requirement which often depends on the shape of the building which sometimes restricts what we can do and so have to compromise. On new builds, like this latest CPU for the Professional Kitchen, we were brought into the project by the Player Family even before a brick had been laid and were able to produce a really efficient plan and produce drawings for the M&E contractor for services and the Builder so that they could start their work. After that we worked with the client to decide operational needs, food production capacity requirement, staffing levels and legislation.

From those elements we then started to think about equipment and its performance levels. We chose the Ali Group brand Baron Kitchens for professionals and in conjunction with Roger Flanagan of Universal, the detailing began to take shape to eventually at a point a final design and Specification was achieved.


4. What are the most hygienic and safety parameters to consider when you plan a professional kitchen?


There are many regulations anyone designing a new kitchen must comply with all mostly covered in the UK by “The Food Safety Act” and they all have to fit the industry and European standards, which sets out the regulations for the storage, preparation, serving of food and the flow of food and dishes plus many other areas to ensure the safety of fresh and raw food during its process through the operation.

This regulation covers almost all but there are others to consider:

- Ventilation Regulations have to comply with inside and outdoor air quality;

- Water and waste are covered by the WRASS regulations to prevent cross contamination (Waste and incoming water);

-Finishes should be impervious and non-absorbent and easily cleaned and subject to “Building Regulations”;

-All services have their own (Gas/Water/Waste/Electrical) controls to consider also;

-Catering equipment carries its own requirements which also are numerous to ensure all is safe and presents no danger to the user.


5. How did the relationship with Baron take shape?


It all happened at the beginning with a project for Browns Hotel in London. Universal first met Steve when he specified and designed Baron Kitchens for professionals in the world famous Browns Hotel in London. The first cooperation between PHCC and Universal and in fact Baron’s first ever order in the UK in the year 2000 and it’s still going after 17 years, a testament to the Baron quality, elegance, solidity and strength.

After the success of that project Steve started to promote the Baron kitchens for professionals brand and the personal friendship between him and Roger Flanagan grew into a really close and growing business.

I have used Baron in many projects from Casual Dining to Hotels and Chain brands to Premier Dining operations and recently two huge Central Production Units, both of which I chose Baron for their solidity and reliability.


The reaction from day nurseries has been fantastic, with fifteen joining when the service has started on the 1st of May. The Managers and staff of those settings have said how they now feel more able to meet children’s dietary needs and parent’s expectations. They said how they feel supported by a team of professionals, able to seek advice and as a result, more confident talking to parents.


Designing a kitchen could not be easy, but is very challenging! 


This is the story of Seymour House Day Nursery School and you want to tell us the story of your restaurant? 


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