Kitchen Magic at the Cheltenham Food Festival

Watching a chef demonstration or two at a food festival is an absolute must for me. I’m always intrigued to know what the chef is actually like and love picking up tips along the way.  The Cheltenham Food Festival this June has a new sponsor for its chef’s kitchen theatre – Jamie Williams Design. So I suspect, that this time I will be doing more than drooling over the food, the kitchen itself is going to be amazing.

Meet the team at Jamie Williams Design.
Meet the team at Jamie Williams Design.

I recently had a chat with Jamie and I soon realised that he’s a man with the passion to create kitchens that avid cooks will adore. He and cousin Dan are big foodies themselves and do all the cooking in their households. So when creating a kitchen for clients, they use not only their cabinet making skills, but their cooking knowledge too.

At the festival, they’ll be creating not only the main cooking and preparation area and the housing for the ovens, but some other items to dress the marquee.

Creating a fabulous kitchen

A light filled kitchen
A light filled kitchen

I’m guessing that most (many) of us have kitchens that we’ve inherited when we moved into our house. There will be things that drive to distraction and others that are just niggles. I’ve got black marble in my kitchen which never seems to look smear free and is hopeless for breadmaking. The lighting is poor too and I think it should really have more storage. How about yours?

What a treat it would be to start from scratch! I quiz Jamie about the process.

Space in an L-shaped kitchen is maximised
Space in an L-shaped kitchen is maximised

Founded twenty years ago in Cheltenham, Jamie Williams design kitchens (and other furniture) that is bespoke. In-house craftsmen work on the cabinetry, joinery, painting and spraying, design (using their own in-house software) and installation.

Planning your kitchen

Jamie and his team work hard to understand what a client wants and needs and do everything possible to make the design and build process enjoyable.

Using all the available space to maximise storage
Using all the available space to maximise storage

They set the scene with questions that determine:

  • How many people will be using the kitchen
  • How the client cooks
  • Their cooking style
  • Storage needs – in my case it would be how many gadgets I need to accommodate!

Then they start to plan an ideal work flow. Rather than relying on the traditional triangle format, they consider zones for preparation, washing up and then cooking. Each kitchen is design to work for a  particular customer (or customers should you both cook) and optimised for individual needs.

Jamie hard at work in the workshop
Hard at work in the workshop

Once the zones are determined the next steps are to consider:

  • The traffic in and out of the kitchen
  • Spacing of appliances
  • Extraction
  • Making enough provision for recycling and rubbish. (Something that is often left out of most of our kitchens).
  • Lighting – focusing on lighting that really does the job rather than follows trends.
  • Socket and switch positioning. (Can you ever have enough sockets?)

Jamie mentions delivering without compromise throughout our conversation. Heartening to know that whatever your size of kitchen, you can achieve a kitchen that is effective and is a pleasure to use.

I just have to ask Jamie what enjoys cooking the most: “Definitely a roast with all the trimmings”.

Jamie (left) and cousin Dan Jamie Williams Design
Jamie (left) and cousin Dan

Cheltenham Food Festival

Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival takes place from 15th to 17th June at Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham. There are some excellent demonstrations lined up in the Chef’s Kitchen including foraging, Indian cookery and game among other great activities. Just remember to check out the kitchen itself too!

Tickets are reasonably priced at £7 on Saturday and Sunday

Cheltenham Food Festival logo

Find out more

Jamie Williams Design
Unit 8 Neptune Business Centre
Tewkesbury Road
GL51 9FB
+44 (0) 1242 649 500



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