Imagine it taking up to an hour to get a tomato from your storage room. For Dominique LeBlanc Beers, Executive Chef at The Metropolitan in downtown Chicago, that scenario was a reality. Located on the 66th and 67th floors of Willis Tower (previously known as Sears Tower) in Chicago, Ill., The Metropolitan had been relying on a storage space in the basement to hold their backstock of food. However, last June the building flooded and everything in their storage area was destroyed.
“We took the opportunity since it all washed away that we just abandon that space, and the plan was just to have everything stored up here in the kitchen now, which square footage-wise is a challenge. So, figuring out how to utilize every square inch of space going to the ceilings and going window to window, edge to edge, corner to corner to the coolers and making sure that we’re taking advantage of every little nook and cranny that we have,” said Beers.
If they were going to fit everything in their upstairs space, Beers knew their current shelving wasn’t going to cut it.
“The kitchen here had a bunch of shelving lining the windows and stuff that probably hadn’t been replaced since it was initially installed in the last 30 to 40 years. It was in pretty rough shape,” said Beers.
In order to utilize every inch of their space, Camshelving Elements® Series was customized to specifically fit their kitchen’s unique footprint—including a portion designed with uneven legs to allow it to sit perfectly on top of a ledge.
“It’s so customized. I liked the flexibility of being able to create that custom plan and mix and match pieces and components so that each individual area had something that specifically worked for that area,” said Beers.
The Metropolitan’s old rusty metal shelving was not only inefficient, but it was extremely difficult to clean. The shelf plates on all three Camshelving models are designed with molded-in Camguard antimicrobial and they are safe to run through a commercial dishwasher.
“For me, the biggest thing is about cleanliness. The ease of being able to pop the racks out and run them through the machine and keep all the shelving nice and clean is really important,” said Beers.
The Metropolitan also utilizes Camshelving Premium Series stationary and mobile units to store serving equipment.
Another major difference between their previous shelving and Camshelving is the ability to adjust each shelves’ height independently as ingredients and needs change.
“Being able to easily adjust the height of the sections as we grow and bring the business back [is really important],” said Beers. “It’s hard to understand initially what height and dimensions and everything that we’ll need for the products, pots and pans and all that stuff, but it’s so easy to change as we grow into it that it makes it very appealable,” said Beers.
The Metropolitan has been a private venue for 45 years, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to members each day in addition to hosting weddings and events.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.