One company that has achieved a well-deserved reputation for its design work is the award winning Sterling Foodservice Design.

Andrew and Elaine Powis founded the company in 1994 to offer every client, irrespective of size of project or budget, a unique, professional design and creative consultancy service. Elaine says, “As far as we know, we are the only husband and wife partnership working as consultants in this sector of the industry. From the customer’s point of view, they are always guaranteed the attention of one of the partners, thereby providing a very personal service”.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH) and a Professional Member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI). Elaine, a Member of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene (MRIPHH), obtained her extensive knowledge of catering equipment through managerial involvement in all sectors of the industry and by working with several major equipment manufacturers. Both are professionally trained chefs and have been involved within the industry for over forty years.

Aquinas College, a Roman Catholic sixth Form College in Stockport, appointed Sterling Foodservice Design to design and specify the £350,000 main kitchen, servery, deli bar and coffee shop being part of a £25 million new build redevelopment. Chester-based C & C Catering Equipment Limited won the tender, prepared by Sterling, for the overall kitchen package and was contracted to supply and install the equipment under the main contractor, Vinci Construction. All three companies worked closely to ensure the installation was completed as intended, on time and within budget.

“The new build offered the College the opportunity to upgrade the kitchen and dining areas with the most appropriate and reliable equipment on the market”, says Elaine. “We always embrace the sustainable route, so this was an eco project from conception.”
The kitchen staff have welcomed the innovative technology and even the concept of using a tray return carousel which is also suitable for wheelchair users – previously everybody was using tray clearing trolleys in the old building – didn’t faze them and all agreed this has made life a lot easier.

The College caters for up to 1923 students, in addition to 250 staff and visitors. According to Principal Danny Pearson: “From the outset Sterling’s design was ambitious…. in all areas it specified high utility facilities and fittings. The kitchens include staff social space, offices, food preparation, cold rooms and walk-in storage, conveyor warewashing, hot food servery, cold buffet servery and a satellite coffee bar”.

Sterling specified Williams Refrigeration for the cold room suite, Baron for major cooking items and their determination to utilise the best equipment continued by selecting for the main wash-up area a Meiko K-Tronic series basket transport machine, with energy saving integral heat pump.

The roll up grid on the floor channel is also a boon. Gone are the days when staff injured themselves lifting heavy gratings over drains and gullies. The unique stainless steel, custom made integrated floor channels and grids supplied by ADO-Metal UK Limited were the obvious choice. The grids are made in manageable sections, which can be rolled up to be thoroughly sanitised in the dishwasher.
The Leigh Tec Solutions ceiling in the main kitchen contains integrated ventilation and lighting therefore providing an open view through the kitchen from the dining area without the interruption of a canopy. “The College wanted everything streamlined and visible”, says Andrew.

Newly appointed Catering Manager, Simon Cheadle states “Students vote with their feet by eating here regularly and in large numbers, there are plenty of food outlets off-site, but now the majority of students stay on campus”.

The fifth floor coffee shop is an upmarket area, selling high quality coffee, drinks and a wider selection of snacks and sandwiches at more affordable prices than other establishments in the area whilst the Deli located in the Refectory dining room sells made-to-order alternatives and relieves the pressure on the servery.

Sterling appreciated the trust which the College placed in their knowledge and expertise to realise their expectations.

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