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EastEnders Wiki

The Meal Machine was one of Ian Beale's many catering ventures, based in the refurbished premises of the previously burnt-out wine bar named The Dagmar. It was active between 1991 and 1993 and was later relaunched in 2001 by Mel Owen with Ian as a business partner.


On 27 August 1991, Ian Beale leased the site that was previously the burnt-out yuppie wine bar, The Dagmar, and refurbished it into a catering business. He quickly hired Hattie Tavernier as a waitress and then as his personal assistant. He also employed Steve Elliot and Joe Wallace as chefs, and gave a job to his cousin, Mark, who worked as a delivery driver. Steve agreed a deal with Ian to be a junior partner, but this was never finalised.

Meal Machine (14 September 1998)

Meal Machine
(14 September 1998)

On 3 September 1991, Joe is recognised by his former employer, George Lawlor, who had sacked him at his previous job for having HIV. Knowing that George is going to tell Ian, he decides to quit his job as chef. When Ian is informed by George that Joe has HIV, he immediately disinfects his whole kitchen. Mark also quits his job at around the same time.

In June 1993, Richard Cole reports Ian to Environmental Health which leads to a visit from Mike Gray, Environmental Health Officer, who deems the whole system inadequate. Struggling to comply with the demands of health & safety, Ian looks to raise funds and contacts his business associate, Harry Samson, who promises to pay him the £1,500 that he owes him. Harry later admits that he has ceased trading and doesn't have the money to pay him. On 10 June, The Meal Machine premises were boarded up and Ian scaled down the business to run from his own kitchen. Ian ends Steve's employment as he no longer needs a chef and keeps Hattie on part-time.

The Meal Machine

The Meal Machine 2002/2003

In 2001, Mel Owen occupied the site and relaunched The Meal Machine with Ian as her business partner. When Mel is falsely arrested for money laundering and drug dealing, she signs her business over to Laura Beale as protection, but Laura refuses to give it back. Ian later cons her into signing her share of the businesses over to him.



Former Employees[]