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National Restaurant Association Announces 2014 Kitchen Innovation Award Recipients

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Kitchen Innovations Awards program recognizes foodservice equipment and technology that increase energy efficiency, waste reduction, and more for the foodservice industry.

The National Restaurant Association today announced the 24 recipients of its 2014 Kitchen Innovations Awards, which honor equipment and technology that specifically improves the back-of-the-house operations. This year's winners address such areas as waste reduction, energy conservation and enhanced sanitation, as well as increased efficiency with equipment that employs hybrid cooking techniques and reduced cooking times.

Following is a list of the 2014 Kitchen Innovation Award recipients and a brief description of their products as provided by the National Restaurant Association.

  • Alto Shaam, Inc.'s CT PROformance Combitherm Oven: This touch-screen controlled combi-oven features an accelerated start-up temperature booster and requires zero clearance for other equipment, giving operators more flexibility in the kitchen and cook times reduced by as much as 20 percent.
  • BioZone Scientific International, Inc.'s IceZone X: Scalable to treat almost any commercial ice machine, this clean-in-place sanitation system uses patented ultraviolet light oxidation to prevent contamination and eliminate more than 99 percent of surface microcontamination.
  • BKON's Craft Brewer: The BKON Craft Brewer uses a proprietary negative pressure brewing technology allowing operators to effortlessly craft any loose-leaf tea beverage, third wave coffee, or made-to-order infused cocktail with precision and speed.
  • Champion Industries' Dry Assist: This under-counter and door-style dishwasher technology draws cool, dry air up and through the rack of sanitized ware via a duct in the bottom of the chamber, removing moisture and speeding drying/turnaround time for dishes.
  • Edlund Company's Model KSUV-18 U.V. Knife Sterilization Cabinet: This patent-pending knife cabinet utilizes UV light technology to sterilize cutlery in as little as five minutes without the use of expensive chemicals and no risk of rust/pitting on knives.
  • Environmental Products and Services' GreaseShield ECO 1850 PreFilter Low Level: This system protects drainage systems and harvests renewable energy resources by using waste thermal energy to remove emulsified FOGs before they solidify, additionally removing and dewatering organic waste to eliminate foul-smelling anaerobic conditions.
  • Fired Up Kitchens' Smoke Zapper: This filtering system works with a hood or oven-direct vent to yield EPA-compliant emissions from wood-, coal- or charcoal-fired equipment, allowing safe, clean use for more operations.
  • Garland's Induction FlexiHob Technology: An intelligent technology that automatically adjusts electrical input to offer flexibility to cook with multiple pans of varying sizes on the same induction unit, making it appropriate for à la carte or batch cooking, all while saving energy.
  • Henny Penny Corporation's Velocity Series Pressure Fryer: This pressure fryer uses automatic oil filtration, which does not require operator intervention, enabling filtration to occur after every load for improved oil quality and 4X longer oil life without sacrificing productivity.
  • Industrial Skins' Bio-Tile Multi-Layered Ceiling Tile Application: This 100 percent recyclable, protective surface is applied to new or existing vinyl ceiling tiles, and features five layers that peel away individually to provide a clean, contamination free surface for restaurant and non-commercial kitchens.
  • Manitowoc Beverage's Multiplex Manual Fill Blend-in-Cup System (BIC-MF): This automated system makes and dispenses smoothies, frappes, blended and over-ice drinks completely in the cup to help operators efficiently prepare a broad range of drinks and expand menus.
  • Nieco Corporation's BroilVection: This burner system captures waste heat and blows it back down on the products being broiled, utilizing both radiant heat and forced convection for faster cooking and up to 40 percent gas savings.
  • Novothermic Technologies' NVX 2060 Heat Recovery System: A self-contained system that recovers otherwise wasted heat from drained hot water to warm incoming fresh water, significantly enhancing the energy efficiency of any existing commercial dishwasher.
  • Ovention's Shuttle Oven: This ventless impingement oven transitions seamlessly between conveyor and matchbox mode at the touch of a button to contain heat, moisture and grease-laden air for improved speed, menu flexibility and energy efficiency.
  • Pearl City Manufacturing's Convection Gas Fryer: This unique fryer design continually circulates oil through a remote heat exchanger and incorporates a dual filter system to accomplish significant oil savings, 70 percent cooking energy efficiency, instant temperature recovery and reduced cook times.
  • RATIONAL USA's VarioSmoker: A small, plug-and-play, mobile smoke system that retrofits with nearly every RATIONAL combi-steamer built since 1997, allowing operators to successfully smoke and cook simultaneously, saving on time, space and investment costs.
  • Star Manufacturing's Holman Impingement Conveyor Toaster: This conveyor toaster combines radiant heat with impingement by recirculating heated, high-speed air over bread and other products for faster, efficient and more even toasting.
  • ThermalRite's CypenVac Technology: This vacuum technology significantly increases the thermal resistance of insulation panels used in blast chillers and other insulated cabinets and, used in conjunction with conventional polyurethane insulation, can reduce energy consumption by up to 43 percent.
  • Turbo Coil: A stainless steel, fully assembled compact evaporator coil, uniquely designed with a patented twin blower system, enabling reduced energy consumption and superior installation versatility.
  • TurboChef Technologies' TurboChef Fire: This countertop convection oven features integral flow cylinders that channel airflow to rapidly increase heat transfer, reaching evenly dispersed temperatures up to 800 degrees F to cook 14-inch, fresh dough pizzas in as little as 90 seconds.
  • The Vollrath Company's Downdraft Vent Module: A front-of-the-house cooking station that integrates downdraft venting, fire containment, fire suppression, and drop-in induction in the same base to meet the commercial requirements for emissions and foodservice fire safety.
  • Vulcan/ITW FEG's PowerFry5 with FivePass Heat Transfer: This Energy Star-qualified fryer maximizes energy use with a signature technology that reclaims and circulates heat five times both inside and outside the tank, resulting in faster recovery/cook times, more productivity and less wear.
  • Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners' Professional Series: A precision, angle-controlled knife-sharpening machine that allows kitchen staff to easily maintain professional-grade sharpness for all kitchen cutlery without professional services.
  • Wilbur Curtis Company' Wireless Freshness Monitoring System (FMS): This remote monitoring system tracks the freshness of food and beverages/coffee, and uses proprietary communication technology to report to a single interface, increasing quality, reducing waste, safety risk, cost and equipment downtime.

KI Award recipients were chosen by an independent panel of industry experts, including:

  • Dan Bendall, FCSI, Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.
  • Martin Cowley, Senior Manager, Design and Standards, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • William Eaton, FFCSI, Chairman of the Board, Cini-Little International
  • Robert Forrester, Principal, Restaurant Industry Solutions
  • Foster F. Frable, Jr., FCSI, Founding Partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee
  • Jim Krueger, Jr., CMCE, Chief, F&B Research and Business Development, Air Force Personnel Center, Services Directorate San Antonio, Texas
  • Aaron LaMotte, Director, Sodexo Performance Interiors
  • Robert Marshall, Vice President, U.S. Operations, McDonald's Corporation
  • Kathleen H. Seelye, FFSCI, LEED, Managing Partner, Ricca Newmark Design

Each recipient and their product will be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, held from May 17-20 in Chicago.