Nestled away in a quiet Lancashire valley lies one of the UK’s iconic luxury hotel and restaurants. Proud holder of a Michelin star for 22 years, and a conveyor belt of talented UK chefs, Northcote has been one of the driving forces in the British fine dining scene for over 30 years. Here, Electrolux Professional heads into the kitchen to find out more.
It has been claimed that the Ribble Valley’s undulating hills and lavish greenery once provided inspiration for J R R Tolkien’s epic fantasy Lord of the Rings. Today, it is the backdrop to some of the most magical cuisine in the UK, as Northcote’s Executive Chef, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, explains:
“Our food is definitely modern British, as we are always looking to put our own twist on typical seasonal produce. I think it’s important to be in touch with the local area, and in the last 18 months we’ve focused on drawing out the flavours of individual ingredients. But we aren’t afraid to take risks, and if that means going further afield to get the right quality, then we absolutely do that.”
‘Adaptability is crucial’
Northcote’s diverse menu is testament to this commitment, offering a dazzling range of options to delight hungry customers. Providing this array of food, while continuing to extract as much flavour as possible from individual ingredients, requires kitchen equipment that is capable of keeping pace with Lisa’s demands.
Owing to their outstanding versatility, combi ovens are often the go-to piece of kit for dynamic kitchens. In need of an oven that could cope with the extraordinary output of its award-winning kitchen, Northcote turned to Electrolux Professional’s latest model, the SkyLine PremiumS.
Lisa continues: “The SkyLine combi oven is very adaptable, which is crucial when we’re cooking for a large amount of covers. We have four in the kitchen, and we’re able to create set programs to ensure food is coming out consistently, but with our own unique techniques. For example, our souffle is much bigger than regular souffles, which means traditional fan speeds would overcook the outside and leave the middle underdone. Because we can turn the fan speed right down, we are able to get a really even finish.”
‘Precision is invaluable’
The SkyLine PremiumS also offers precise temperature control, with its revolutionary air circulation system, OptiFlow, guaranteeing uniform heat distribution and constant temperatures within the chamber. Working alongside a new Lambda sensor, which provides ultra-precise, real-time humidity control across 101 different settings, this equips operators with the ability to produce fantastic results.
Lisa explains: “We roast birds at 80-100oC, because by slowing the cooking process down we can get a highly consistent texture and flavour – each and every time. The SkyLine temperature probe allows us to check that everything is being cooked perfectly, and when we want to raise the heat inside the chamber to create a crispy finish, it does this really efficiently. Being able to manage the internal cooking conditions with this level of precision is absolutely invaluable”
‘Seamless communication is a blessing’
One of the defining features of the SkyLine combi oven range is its capacity to communicate with its sister-product, the SkyLine ChillS range of blast chillers. The innovative SkyDuo function provides seamless, self-intuitive communication across the SkyLine range, enabling the combi oven to automatically alert the blast chiller to prepare for chilling, or vice versa.
“The ability of the SkyLine ChillS to take something from 40oC down to -40oC is incredible,” Lisa continues. “We use it to rapidly freeze yoghurt and chocolate to make desserts that are solid on the outside, with a liquid centre. It’s so easy to use, and when you’re working in a busy kitchen, this level of seamless communication between combi oven and blast chiller is a blessing.
“We’ve got a couple in the kitchen, and the flexibility in how these can be arranged in conjunction with the combi oven is great. We’ve got one set up where the oven is above the chiller, and another where they are side-by-side, and being able to arrange the equipment to suit the kitchen layout is priceless.
“In terms of sheer accessibility, performance, and the versatility it provides in building your own recipes and cooking techniques, the SkyLine range of combi ovens and blast chillers is second to none.”
With Northcote’s kitchen equipped with SkyLine, Lisa expects her food will continue to challenge and delight customers in equal measure: “Over the next five years, we’ll see how far we can take the food here at Northcote, as I’ve got such a passion for food and really want to push the boundaries of what is possible. Based on our fantastic experience so far, I’ve no doubt that Electrolux Professional will continue to provide us with the tools we need to succeed on this quest.”