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Exeter Cookery School - A working Kitchen for a Cookery Business

Posted on March 28th 2019 by

One area of our business that is not often talked about is designing and installing spaces for businesses – in the past couple of years one of the most rewarding kitchen projects we undertook was with the lovely Jim and Lucy Fisher at Exeter Cookery School.

Set in an 1830’s warehouse down on Exeter Quay, this business has gone from strength to strength and offers a variety of courses from French cooking, Jim and Lucy’s background to breadmaking and Festive treats.

The Kitchen Brief

When we were asked to come and discuss their requirements the first thing on our mind was what a fantastic space to fill – the history of the building is an inspiration to any designer, but a listed building can also come with challenges.

Jim certainly knew what he needed when it came to the kitchen layout as he has spent many years in the food and catering industry. Not only has Jim run a cookery school in France with his wife Lucy, but he has also cooked with a few famous chefs along the way, including Rick Stein.

Having created and run a successful residential cookery school in the Dordogne for several years, we approached the design of our new Cookery School venture armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding exactly what we wanted from our new teaching kitchen.”

“We asked Sapphire for a space that was both functional and flexible, professional and homely, sophisticated and relaxed, and one that exuded a high-end quality throughout. The input and enthusiasm of the entire Sapphire team have ensured our project was delivered at the highest level and created our perfect kitchen. I can honestly say that if we were to design the kitchen all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.”

Kitchen Design Focus

Our focus was to work with the openness and historical features of the building and the bulthaup b2 kitchen was a perfect starting point –striking, freestanding, workbench kitchens offer a flexible free space for cookery students to work at and put Jim’s teachings into action. 

bulthaup b2 kitchen

With such a large space to design, and different areas to create, we actually used a combination of bulthaup’s ranges; the understated b2 kitchen workbenches for course attendees, Jim’s kitchen theatre/demo area uses bulthaup’s minimal b1 design and the informal coffee area features bronzed cabinetry from bulthaup’s b3 range – the dark, metallic finish sits beautifully against original exposed brickwork and helps create a more intimate, friendly space where everyone can relax and get to know each other.

We designed the kitchen around Jim and Lucy’s needs introducing Gaggenau appliances throughout and adapting the workbenches to help them use their space in a variety of ways. This bulthaup kitchen is a great example of when a business or home needs an ever-evolving space as different elements can be changed and evolved over time.

gaggenau coffee area

We asked Jim and Lucy why they chose Sapphire Spaces and how the project worked from start to finish, here is what they had to say:

When deciding who we were going to entrust with turning our vision for Exeter Cookery School into reality, we set about seeking out and interviewing a select group of top-quality kitchen suppliers and manufacturers.

“It quickly transpired that Sapphire Spaces was the frontrunner on several counts, especially after hosting our successful pre-launch party at their stylish showroom in Topsham. Not only did they have a strong reputation within the industry, but their ability to help secure a collaboration with Bulthaup and Gaggenau has proven invaluable to our fledgling business."

We tasked Sapphire Spaces with taking our vision and creating a working kitchen that was durable, ergonomic and had a contemporary look and feel to add contrast to our 1830s converted warehouse venue, and they delivered everything we wanted and more.

“Our experience with Sapphire Spaces throughout the process, and since, has been exemplary from start to finish. Mark, Alex and the Sapphire team have been professional and surpassed our expectations time after time. As well as designing us a fantastic kitchen for our unique venue, we have also collaborated on a number of external events. These included creating a bespoke chef demo stage for Powderham Food Festival for three consecutive years, and a pop-up cookery school at the 2018 Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink.”

Exeter Cookery School, Exeter

For more information on the school, or to go and see their Kitchen Space in action, you can find them here or to see more of our projects then please take a look here

To keep up to date with our projects and news you can follow our Instagram account.






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Jennifer Nicol

Jennifer Nicol says:July 10th, 2020 at 7:28 am

Good job, I really appreciate your effort. We want more articles like this. THANK YOU

JenniferNicol says:July 11th, 2020 at 8:00 am

Great and supportive information about kitchen tools. As a kitchen worker or housewife, this is a perfect blog post for me. Good explanation on cooking instruments. Thanks for sharing this. Really helpful