Waste Not, Want Not
Allison Leono - May 2009
Lean and green seems to be the marching motto for manufacturers this year, if the 18 recipients of the 2009 National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations™ Awards can be taken as categorical evidence. Allison Leono presents an edited roster of this year's breakthroughs, recognized not so much for what they add to a professional kitchen but for what they eliminate.
Consistent with these savings-sensitive times, innovative kitchen equipment manufacturers have made it possible to reduce everything from prep and cooking times to cost and carbon footprints.
Once again the judges of the National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations Awards have scouted the industry to identify 18 verifiable innovators, whose groundbreaking prototypes will be displayed this month, from May 16 to 19, in the NRA Show Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at Chicago's McCormick Place. To ensure that genuine innovations--not just improvements--are recognized, the judges' criteria are tightened every year. Despite these stiffer conditions, the search does not conclude once a qualified appliance is identified. Each must then undergo rigorous examination and repeated tests that often necessitate alterations to prove they perform what they claim to do. Here are 11 of them for your consideration.
Everpure MRS-Envi-RO 600: An advanced water filtration system using revolutionary reverse osmosis to remove dissolved solids from water. While typical systems result in significant water waste, Everpure's new model, with a 600 gallon a day capacity, averages 78 percent water conversion efficiency.
Frymaster Manitowoc Foodservice Gas Protector®: High technology lightens the lot of comfort food with this new 30 pound fry pot that delivers the capacity of conventional 50 pound fryers. A companion automatic oil replenishment system extends oil life, ensures consistent high quality food, and saves over 50 percent in annual oil costs.
Garland Manitowoc Foodservice Xpress Grill: Specifically for quick service restaurants, the Xpress Grill's upper and lower clamshell grill plates cook both sides simultaneously and reduce cooking times by 50 percent. Responding to product thickness, this advanced system's Product Recognition Controls automatically adjust cook times and temperature, ensuring consistency with minimal training required. Energy saving rapid preheat and heat recovery capabilities allow the griddle to cool when service slows.
Henny Penny Corporation Evolution Elite™: This new line of reduced oil capcity fryers cooks equivalent product loads in 40 percent less oil than the standard 50 pound fryers. For added savings, its ability to make as-needed filtering in a fast four minutes significantly extends oil life.
Hobart's Bluetooth®-Enabled Combi®-Oven with Barcode Scanner: Along with guaranteeing product consistency, this combi-oven permits an operator to program any number of recipes, each with its own unique barcode. A staff member simply scans and presses "start." Not only can you eliminate operator training (other than teaching how to scan the barcode), you can transmit recipes from afar via Bluetooth®-enabled computer, PDA, or cell phone.
Irinox USA CP Multi Function Holding Cabinet: To maintain peak quality of fresh or frozen foods, this versatile holding cabinet enables controlled humidity storage at temperatures ranging from above to below freezing.
Lincoln Foodservice Products Manitowoc Foodservice Quest Energy Management System™: Quest EMS, applied to a conveyor oven, optimizes the gas/air mixture and improves oven efficiency by decreasing air flow without diminishing heat. Along with FastBake,™ which maintains uniform heating that, if interrupted, recovers fully in 45 seconds, this two-part system reduces cost and saves energy.
Power Soak Systems High Powered Silverware Pre-Washing System: The Power Soak Silverware Pre-Washing System safely pre-washes silverware using a "vortex" of high volume, self-heated agitating water and detergent. Even stubborn baked-on food soils detach from silverware in minutes, necessitating only a single follow-up run-through in a dish machine.
Rational USA Self Cooking Center with CareControl: The Self Cooking Center cooks up to 15 percent faster than conventional combi-steamers by automatically recognizing such specifics as product size and overall load quantity. Cooking time, temperature, and ideal cooking climate can be continuously adjusted to achieve optimum results. Using only one button you can cook an incredible variety of foods.
Viking Range Commercial Division Modular Range Design: The flexibility of this Modular Range and Suites design allows you to change individual modules both before and after installation.
Winston Industries CVap Universal Holding Bin Cabinet: Available with four or eight bins, this holding cabinet uses less energy to produce more food. An expansive ability to serve up to 16 different food products from the same cabinet reduces labor and increases efficiency.