Actually, he loves them so much that he has two in the main kitchen of his restaurant, one in the sandwich kitchen, one in the pastry kitchen, two in the wedding venue and one in the farm shop.
Lowden Garden Centre is located in Shaw, Wiltshire and exemplifies everything that a garden centre needs to be to be sustainable. Among the plants, flora and fauna can be found the main restaurant which serves locally sourced quality produce all day.
The farm shop acts as the restaurant’s larder packed with the freshest local produce, alongside the Lowden butchers and the brew store with its carefully sourced wide range of craft beers and cider, all brewed within 10 miles of Lowden.
The newest addition to Lowden is the events marquee, the ideal venue for any occasion, for weddings, parties, private events, funeral reception, business conferences and exhibitions.
“I have been using Rational ovens for many years having first acquired one 13 years ago,” explains Jonathan. “I was overwhelmed by its performance and capacity. As the garden centre has grown, it was a natural conclusion that I bought more Rational ovens to cope with the demand on our chefs.”
Attract the Best with the Best
The garden centre employs eight chefs and Jonathan is firmly of the belief that the Rational ovens were the major factor in hiring the best.
“In an industry with so many top class chefs, businesses need an edge to attract the best and providing them with the optimum cooking facilities is a major advantage,” he continues. “We alter the menu daily and on a day to day basis, we serve over 100 breakfasts and lunches as well as 250 Sunday lunches. Reliability and performance are priorities.”
Taking the Sunday lunches as an example, the Rational ovens allow the chefs to prepare and cook the meat and vegetables for the lunches in sequence for a full three and a half hour service, with all food piping hot and cooked to perfection throughout the whole lunch period.
Of course, the problems come when and if the ovens break down, but Jonathan has it covered. “We have now taken out one of AC Services(Southern) excellent packages for biannual servicing,” he comments. “If anything happens to any of the appliances between services, the company is simply a phone call away. Swift service, swift solution, no down time. The service spots any small problems, down to a broken light which gives us peace of mind that the ovens will continue to function perfectly.”
With a turnover in the millions, the Lowden Garden Centre is constantly upgrading and innovating, with the family’s younger generation becoming involved in marketing and daily running. “The garden centre concept has evolved from merely a place to buy perennials to a day out,” concludes Jonathan. “We provide first-class, locally produced catering for our customers to enjoy on-site or to take away.”