The National Restaurant Association announced the recipients of the 2013 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, intended to recognize the most promising and cutting-edge advancements in kitchen equipment for the foodservice industry.
An independent panel of judges comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multi-unit executives, and design experts selected award recipients to be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (May 18-21, 2013, at Chicago's McCormick Place).
"This year's Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients address today's leading commercial kitchen equipment challenges with advancements in energy efficiency and sustainability, online tools for tracking and monitoring, intelligent controls, as well as versatility to conform to diverse restaurant layouts," said Jeffery W. Davis, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2013 and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation.
The 2013 Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients are:
* Aerowerks Inc. - Mesh Belt Conveyor: A cafeteria conveyor constructed with a close-knit mesh belt, eliminating the need for trays and allowing the conveyor to turn without creating gaps that cause jamming and breakage.
* Alto-Shaam, Inc. - 4.10cci CT Express: A compact combi oven with an integrated catalytic converter to transform grease-laden vapors into harmless water vapor and CO2. No hood is required, allowing the operator to place the unit wherever it is needed.
* Blendtec - Stealth blender: The sound-dampening commercial blender has an online programming tool that allows users to create their own blend cycles, which can be shared via a USB port.
* Duke Manufacturing - X-Stream IH2 Wash System: The warewasher has programmable cycles, plug-and-play components serviceability, pump, and sanitizer monitoring, and a unique wash flow to maintain wares in the impingement zone longer. This is designed to provide consistently cleaner wares with greater water/energy efficiency.
* Ecolab Inc., Equipment Care Division - Smart Care Program: The program, for critical kitchen equipment, includes scheduled maintenance as well as proprietary asset management/reporting technology, customer-facing online tracking tools, equipment cleaning and sanitation products, and pre-programmed critical parts on technician service vehicles for same-day emergency fixes, reduced operating costs, and maximum asset ROI.
* Follett Corporation - 7 Series Ice and Water Dispenser: Built-in recycling reclaims and refreezes melted ice, for reduced water waste and provide the flexibility to place the dispenser where a drain is unavailable.
* Franke Coffee Systems Americas - FoamMaster: The superautomatic espresso machine produces hot and cold milk foam in variable textures, enabling traditional and novel coffee-plus-milk combinations and help operators diversify menus.
* Frontline International - M3 Data Management System: This intelligent management technology for waste oil systems delivers detailed reports/analysis, diagnostic and "tank full" status alerts, and real-time monitoring for increased savings/efficiency.
* Garland Group - Green Heat Module Line Brazing Pan: A unique drop-in induction brazing pan design enables remote electronics placement, multiple depths, and in-unit drainage, enabling island suite integration for grilling, searing, and cooking with or without liquids.
* Hobart - The Advansys LXeR Undercounter: This high-temperature, undercounter warewasher recycles hot water vapor to preheat incoming cold water, to reduce steam release when the door is opened, and to lower overall energy consumption.
* Jade Range LLC - Even-Broiler: A unique baffled Char-Broiler design evenly distributes heat front-to-back, to do away with cold zones and better output, while individually controlled burners and boxes allow operators flexibility to manipulate individual 6-inch sections.
* KE2 - KE2 Evaporator Efficiency: A refrigeration control technology significantly reduces energy consumption and temperature fluctuation by triggering defrost cycles only when necessary and reducing defrost cycles as much as 90%.
* Manitowoc Kolpak - ArticFox: A true on-demand defrost control for walk-ins, the system activates only when needed rather than on a time schedule, avoiding unnecessary defrost cycles as much as 90% for improved energy efficiency and temperature consistency.
* Master-Bilt - Parallel Glycol Rack System: The refrigeration system builds on energy efficient glycol loop technology by utilizing floating heat pressure technology, which adjusts to ambient temperatures to lower energy consumption by up to 25%.
* Meiko - CS-70 Sanitizing, Door-Type Dishmachine: This low-temp dishwasher has automatic drain/refill and eliminates the need for a heater, while microprocessor technology and an auto prime feature provides consistent chemical dispensing.
* Middleby Marshall - WOW 2 Oven: This conveyor oven gives operators the ability to control bake temperatures and conveyor speed, as well as adjust airflow to the top and bottom impingement ports independently, for faster, consistent baking and to allow for more menu flexibility.
* Ovention Inc. - Ovention Matchbox: This intelligent, self-loading and unloading oven uses two alternating cook surfaces and cooks only with impingement. The oven requires no hood and enables food items to be cooked one after another at temperatures that vary by up to 100 degrees.
* Pentair - Everpure SimpliFlow Water Management System: This wall-mounting manifold allows water lines remain organized, accessible, and easily identifiable, to save time and reduce error when servicing water-using equipment.
* Strahman Valves, Inc. - Vari-Spray Pre-rinse Nozzle: A pre-rinse nozzle for commercial kitchens allows users to choose an infinite choice of spray patterns (broad, focused, gentle, hard) by varying trigger pressure, allowing flexibility for various cleaning needs.
* Technologies Coffea, Inc. - Coffea vacuum brewing system: A programmable, whole bean-to-cup system uses a vacuum extraction brew process and infusion brew chamber for a calculated steep time and fast, precise extraction.
* The Vollrath Company - Mirage Induction Soup Rethermalizer: This intelligent, countertop unit uses induction heating instead of water to quickly re-thermalize and maintain optimal temperature for foods like soup, chili, and macaroni and cheese.
"These innovations will have a substantial impact on the efficiency and success of restaurant kitchens, as well as the profitability of the restaurant itself," said Davis.
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