‘White elephant’ demo kitchen criticised

Susannah Youdan and the cooking unit inside the moor
Susannah Youdan and the cooking unit inside the moor
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A £12,000 food demo unit installed at Sheffield’s new market has been dubbed a ‘white elephant’ by a trader after she had to spend £70 on a cooker to use it for a quiche making event – because it does not have an oven.

Susannah Youdan, who runs S & J’s Pantry at The Moor Market, gave a quiche cooking demonstration using the kitchen unit.

But she had to rush out to a nearby department store on the morning of the event to be able to cook quiches with it when she realised it has no oven.

Susannah said: “I think it’s a bit of a white elephant to be honest.

“In hindsight they should have asked somebody to come in when they were buying it, like a chef or a cook.

“There are lots of chefs in the market but they didn’t ask anyone with expertise what they thought they needed.

“There is also nowhere to wash up in the unit, so you have to wash up in your stall or in the staff room.”

Sheffield Council said the unit was ex-display – and would have cost double if it had been bought new.

But Susannah said the council did provide utensils and equipment for the demonstration and that the new Moor market, which opened in November, is far superior to the old Castle Market.

She added: “It’s 100 per cent better than Castle Market ever was. We love it.

“I did this to promote all the stalls in the market and get it in the public eye, and all the quiche ingredients were from stalls on the market.

“It’s a technical blip rather than anything else.”

A spokeswoman for Sheffield Council said the unit was ‘never intended’ to have an oven, which could be a health and safety risk.

She said the unit was designed for five-minute cooking demonstrations and the council is planning a series of healthy eating sessions for it.

“We believe the demonstration kitchen in The Moor Market is an excellent facility for showing food preparation and hob cooking techniques,” she said.

“Because it’s for demonstrations purposes it does not have an oven because the point is to stage animated and interesting displays for people to watch.”

She added: “This demonstration area is there for market traders to use to help them market their own stalls and promote their businesses to customers.

“We have had a few well received demonstrations in this area already and we are expecting a whole lot more as we are going to be showing people how to cook on a budget in the months to come.

“The cost of a kitchen like this is normally double the price that was actually paid for it as it was ex-display. It is a high-tech kitchen to meet stringent health and safety standards – which clearly must be adhered to in the area where it is and the fact that it is open plan. We needed to ensure it was not going to be dangerous for children or other passing customers.”