Shortlist Success for Working Chef’s Pantry

The WoodsThe Woods, a pantry concept at The Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney has made it through to the International Design & Architecture Awards 2013.

The Woods will maximise the design potential of the Chef’s pantry concept with a highly creative, yet warm and comfortable industrial-focused interior.

Rejecting any attempt to be “cutting-edge” or “trendy”, The Woods has been designed as a working Chef’s pantry, albeit a very creative and quirky one, to highlight the open hot and cold kitchens that double as breakfast buffet counters for the hotel’s very busy breakfast periods, while hiding the fact that these kitchens also function as buffet counters during lunch and dinner periods when buffets are not offered.

More important than the look and feel of the venue, the restaurant and bar will also feature “non-hotel” food from one of Sydney’s up and coming acclaimed chefs at a surprisingly affordable, “un-hotel” price-point, the combination of which has the potential to also attract patrons who enjoy the “buzz” and the “see and be seen” ambience of exciting new venues, ensuring maximum repeat business from a wide range of target markets.

Upon entering the lower, lobby level floor of this 2 level restaurant, patrons will be attracted by curved timber and leather dining banquettes essentially forming the perimeter of the restaurant with a dramatic antique brass post framed “wall” with matching brass pedestal and hanging semi-industrial lights with brass mesh surrounds. This “wall” will equally attract as well as provide privacy from the lobby to patrons within.

These custom-designed lights will also form a dramatic 3 storey cascading lighting feature from the ceiling of the 3-storey lobby atrium hovering over a large timber communal dining table near the entrance of the restaurant that will add another dimension to the lower level seating options, encouraging interaction amongst those clients who enjoy communal dining and drinking.

An unexpected and striking aged brass mosaic-tiled lower level floor will continue the tone for the many antique brass features and accents found throughout the restaurant and bar.  A 15 metre long bar will be a feature along the left-hand wall along the entrance and will provide on-going entertainment for the lower seating level and a potent “lure” for potential patrons walking through the lobby with its’ custom rear wall of internally illuminated aged brass wine “boxes” reminiscent of food packing crates and a rough hewn timber bar top.

Several bar-top height dining and snack tables will be placed in front of the bar to provide another alternate dining style to the traditional tables, banquettes tables and large communal table on the lower level.

The upper level, rough wood-plank clad floor of the 2 level restaurant will feature: Hot and cold open kitchens that will provide ongoing entertainment for the upstairs dining patrons, clad in dramatic Brazilian “Black Mosaic” (black and white) coloured granite.

The hot kitchen will feature a Queensland Poryphry stone-clad wood fired oven actually located outside the kitchen proper where Chef’s will cook a number of restaurant specialties such as breads, roasts, etc.

The hot island-style kitchen will also feature a stunning rear feature wall made of hand-cut black and white glass mosaic tiles mimicking a chef’s pantry – featuring silhouetted images of kitchen shelving with chef’s utensils, plates, etc.

Conversely, the cold kitchen rear wall will feature an equally stunning black-and-white “hair-on-hide” cowhide wall cladding also featuring the same “chef’s pantry” design theme but in a very different media, both custom designed by Dreamtime designer Jacqui Hurwitz. This custom-designed art installation is being hand made by one of the world’s most renowned leather artisans, Kyle Bunting from Texas, and will be covered and protected by specialty super-clear glass.

The central island hot kitchen ventilation hood will be clad in a custom designed, internally illuminated glass surround with a free-form art piece by Dreamtime designer Stacey King featuring Chef Hamish Ingham’s recipes, only noticeable upon close inspection.

Above the hot and cold kitchen benches aged brass hanging shelving will illuminate the stacks of plates, bowls and cups while at the same time provide the chefs with their working stock.

Finally, the upper level ceiling will feature kitchen sketches hand-painted by local artist Joy Godley of Sydney firm Wall Candy as if the Chef has used it for staff training featuring more of Chef Hamish Ingham’s recipes, plate presentations, sketches of the different species of firewood to be used (hence the name: The Woods).

An adjacent yet separate dining area will function as a Private Dining Area for groups, breakfasts and busy meal periods featuring a floor-to-ceiling network of open timber shelving units filled with pots/ pans, cookbooks, etc. and chalkboard sections along the top of each unit for further Chef’s notes – further highlighting the pantry nature of the restaurant’s design concept.

Adjacent to the hot kitchen, a very unique live vegetable display for use by the Hot Kitchen chefs designed by Dreamtime designer Jade Bolton will be a fascinating feature. Under each of the live potted herbs and vegetables a ceramic vegetable “root system”  hand-made by Sydney ceramicist Anna Culliton will be suspended under the open timber shelving, making it appear like the vegetables and herbs have been removed from the garden with their  root systems intact.

To further warm the atmosphere a several styles of stylish, comfortable timber chairs and exposed timber tabletops will be used. The Woods’ interior will also feature dramatic, yet low-key, mood lighting in addition to the stunning custom designed antique brass lights earlier described at the restaurant’s entrance that will make a crucial difference in “warming” the ambience. As well, several light fixtures will be highly creative “industrial” luminaires that will add a further touch of drama to the overall chef’s pantry atmosphere.


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