In a move away from their more traditional work, McEwen Boilermakers recently completed the fabrication and installation of large riveted steel plate oven fascias in two of TV chef Jamie Oliver’s prestigious restaurants in London and Brighton.
While oven fascias are not exactly the kind of work you would expect a boilermaker to undertake, company director Alasdair McEwen explains how McEwen’s proved the perfect choice for the job: “We were contacted by Du Boulay Contracts Ltd, who were fitting out Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Brighton. They informed us that Jamie had requested a traditional riveted steel plate fascia for the wood burning pizza oven and wondered if it was something we could fabricate.
“I initially sent them some pictures, including one of an old Lancashire Boiler frontplate that I have installed in my kitchen at home, which was exactly the type of fascia they were looking for.”
Alasdair then visited the site to survey the job before work began back in North Yorkshire to fabricate the riveted steel fascia. The work was completed and installed on schedule and uniquely finished with the addition of McEwen’s own Boilermaker’s cast brass nameplate for added authenticity.
“Although I never actually met Jamie,” Alasdair explains, “the contractor told me that he thought it looked fantastic, and this led to the second commission at his new restaurant in London.”
The chef himself mentions the kitchen on his website, saying: “Wonderful fresh fish and fabulous daily specials cooked in our wood burning oven make Brighton a unique addition to Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant family.”
After completing the project in Brighton, work began on a much larger wall and oven fascia plate for Jamie Oliver and American chef Adam Perry Lang’s new Barbecoa Restaurant, opposite St Pauls in central London. The collaboration of the two famous chefs draws on traditional cooking techniques from around the world in creating what is a celebration of the relationship between fire and food.
At an early stage of the new restaurant project McEwen’s visited the site to take careful dimensions of the wall spaces that were to be covered, before submitting design concepts to the contractor. Once those designs were approved, fabrication began, including the use of real steel rivets and the rendering of the steel plate work with a traditional boilermaker’s surface finish.
The completed fascia was delivered to the restaurant and installed as a central feature of the open kitchen on view to diners. The two chefs behind the restaurant designed the kitchen together and claim it is “the beating heart of the restaurant”. It features tandoor ovens, fire pits and Texan smokers, all encased by McEwen Boilermaker’s stylish steel fascia, allowing the chefs to “create dishes that truly show off the depth of flavours that smoke, fire and charcoal can bring to food”.
Alasdair is justifiably proud of the work the company has done for Jamie Oliver: “It was a big change from our normal work, which in itself made it an interesting project. While the fabrication is fairly straightforward it was a totally different experience overall, and one which I hope we’ll be able to repeat in the future."