John Campbell’s ‘do everything’ combi steamers

Rational tick the boxes at The Woodspeen

John Campbell at The WoodspeenMichelin star chef John Campbell describes his new venture, The Woodspeen near Newbury, Berkshire, as a customer-focused, community restaurant where the food is simple, accessible and tasty.  “We source local, beautiful ingredients, in their prime, and we don’t do much with them,” he says.  The richly diverse menu ranges from cod loin, cockle and parsley emulsion, cavolo nero and squash to gammon, egg and chips.  But one thing all the food has in common is that it’s cooked in.

Rational combi steamers.

“We have a brand new kitchen and, as with most restaurants, there is pressure on space so we looked for multifunctional equipment.  A key reason for choosing Rational combi steamers is that they are so versatile.  Ours are on almost all the time, producing food for the whole kitchen.  Bread, egg custard tart, cottage pie, you name it.”

John has two of Rational’s new SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses combi steamers in the restaurant kitchen, a six grid and a ten grid.  They are stacked on top of each other using Rational’s space-saving CombiDuo system.  They were installed by Gratte Brothers.

The Woodspeen is a busy venue.  As well as 70 covers inside there is a terrace seating 35.  It also houses a cookery school that’s home, amongst other things, to the Baxter Storey Chef Academy.  “I’m really excited about the school, it’s a very diverse part of the business,” says John.   Obviously the school has its own cooking facilities, but it means a lot of people will be passing through the restaurant kitchen, too.  “These latest Rationals are very easy to operate – the touchscreen is very simple, it’s intuitive for chefs.  Plus, they look excellent,” he says.

The touchscreen is part of the 5 Senses’ intelligent cooking control (iCookingControl or iCC) technology.  It actually interacts with chefs, getting to know the way they work so that, together, the chef and their combi can always deliver the best possible cooking results.  iCC ensures food is prepared exactly the way the chef wants, by monitoring, controlling and adjusting temperature, time, air speed and the cooking climate – that is, the balance of dry heat and steam.

iCC also features a cockpit that enables the chef to see exactly what is happening, at any time.  For example, it tells the chef why any adjustments to the cooking process have been implemented.

“The Rationals, with their big range of functions, do everything.  More importantly, they do everything well.  They tick all the boxes,” says John.