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National Restaurant Association Announces the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award Winners

Twenty-three foodservice equipment manufacturers’ to showcase their innovations during its 2015 convention in Chicago.

The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of its 2015 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards. The 23 selected innovations specifically address water waste reduction and enhanced energy efficiency, increased safety and sanitation, cross-functionality, faster cook-up times, space constraints — even ergonomics and smart technology that learns and adapts to various conditions.

The 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients are:

Foodwaste Reduction System by Champion Industries, Inc.: Featuring counter-rotating, slow-speed and low-noise cutters to macerate food waste in a grind chamber before heading, via a slightly sloped overhead gravity feed, to a dewatering centrifuge featuring a rapidly rotating screen and screw, this system uses repurposed gray water as its primary water supply, reducing water consumption by 20 percent to 30 percent daily.

FryerGate by Dagda Technologies, Inc.: This NSF-certified safety cover protects employees from deep-fryer burns by providing a spring-loaded barrier against dropped objects or slipped extremities, all without slowing down the cooking operation. It can be attached to any existing electric or gas fryer.

FlexTech Advanced Food Holding Platform by Duke Manufacturing Co.: Utilizing a patented atomized humidity generation system and specially designed internal vent duct panels that allow for active venting at each pan level, FlexTech extends fried product holding times, maintains product quality and freshness longer, reduces food waste and increases product availability by 10 percent to 15 percent. 

Syncra™ Total Hand Hygiene System by Ecolab: This automated, touch-free, water-and-soap delivery system follows a strict yet adjustable three-step process to ensure increased employee compliance, standardized hand-washing procedures and consistent results, all while using 50 percent less water than traditional hand washing.

Titan Max-Cut by Edlund Company LLC: Featuring stainless steel construction, the dishwasher-safe Titan Max-Cut incorporates four prep options — cutting, coring, wedging and dicing — into a single manual machine. Operators simply swap out the quick-change pusher and cartridge and move on to the next task.

EnviroPure Ozone Recirculation System by EnviroPure Systems, Inc.: Using grey water extracted from food waste to facilitate the grinding and digestion of that waste, the EnviroPure ozone recirculation system eliminates the need for fresh water to be added to the aerobic organic digester, a savings of up to 400 gallons of water per day.

EVent Ductless Downdraft Ventilation Cooking Station by Evo, Inc.: Featuring an internally ducted, self-contained downdraft recirculating ventilation system, this electric cooktop removes enough airborne grease vapor, smoke and cooking odors from the cooking surface to allow restaurants to place the cooktop in any location without the need for an externally vented air system.

Franke Air Purification System (APS300): Using the power of ozone and UV light, but entirely within the enclosure to prevent potential exposure hazards, this self-contained and affordable purification system mounts inside walk-in coolers, scrubbing the existing air of microbes, ethylene, hydrocarbons and other contaminants to reduce odors and extend the shelf life of prepared foods and produce.

FilterQuick® with Oil Quality Sensor by Frymaster (Manitowoc Foodservice): Boasting integrated oil-quality sensors, a patented technology that automatically monitors the health of the oil by measuring its total polar materials (TPMs), these gas and electric fryers reduce the cost of frying and improve food quality by taking the guesswork of out oil replacement.

Longitudinal Modular Salamander/Cheesemelter/Shelving System by Hestan Commercial Corporation: Hung without permanent hardware by means of unique, hook-like brackets of heavy-duty steel for optimum rigidity and durability, this modular shelving and broiler system, the latter easily switched from salamander to cheesemelter and back again, is supported longitudinally on a riser to allow complete horizontal movement, giving it the flexibility to be placed anywhere on the line for maximum functionality.

Tri-Ferrous French Top with Maximum Center Temperature & Gradient by Hestan Commercial Corporation: Available in 18-, 24-, and 36-inch widths, this French Top features a thick-gauge, fully-welded stainless steel radiant cone around its 35,000-Btu/hour gas burner to trap and focus radiant and convective heat within a controlled space below the center plate, resulting in 1000-plus degrees at center to as low as 320 degrees at the edges.

FT1000 Flight-Type Dish Machine by Hobart: This ventless flight-type dish machine lowers cost of ownership by leveraging such technological innovations such as Automatic Soil Removal (ASR), Auto Clean and Auto Delime that reduce water, energy, labor and chemical expenditures.

Water Conditioners by HydroFLOW U.S.A. / Genuine Energy Solutions: These chemical-free water conditioners, both featuring induced-signal and continuously conditioning Hydropath Technology, not only dissolves and removes lime scale in appliances and piping systems, but also prevents new lime scale accumulation, killing bacteria and algae in water systems and boosting filtration efficiency.

Ice Link by Ice Link, Inc.: Using vacuum technology and optic sensors, the Ice Link automatically transports cubed and nugget ice at 30 feet per second from a central ice production area to a variety of remote locations within the same building, vertically up to four stores and horizontally up to 350 feet.

Merrychef eikon e4s with Panini Grill by Manitowoc Foodservice: This semi-automated, non-stick Panini press attachment, removable from inside the oven for cleaning, flattens and/or generates grill marks on a range of products, including bread, proteins and vegetables, all while taking advantage of Merrychef’s rapid cook technology, which produces high-quality food at speeds up to 15 times faster than conventional methods.

R290 Glycol Ice and Heat Sauté Station by The Montague Company: Combining four 30,000-Btu gas burners, a glycol raised rail pan chiller and a 2-drawer refrigerated base, this 48-inch sauté station features a revolutionary Turbo Coil designed R-290 glycol assist refrigeration system to convey proper cooling power more energy efficiently than standard air-only refrigeration systems.

M360 Oven by Ovention, Inc.: Using a breakthrough rapid cook technology without microwaves, Precision Impingement, this compact oven is UL-certified for ventless operation and allows operators to prepare 1,000 menu items, each with different cook times and heat profiles.

SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses by RATIONAL USA: The SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses communicates with its operator from preheat to unloading, its suite of proprietary technologies is able to measure food size and load quantity, product condition, automatically set temperature, cooking time, air speed and cabinet climate — even learn from operator tendencies — to enhance consistency of product.

Coffee Art C HC by Schaerer Ltd.: At the push of a button on its 7-inch programmable touch screen, the Coffee Art system offers speedy bean-to-cup hot or, using a propriety chilling technology that prevents ice melt or dilution, iced coffee similar in strength to drip filter but ground straight from the bean for a full-bodied flavor profile with unsurpassed freshness, aroma and taste.

Sanisteel Anti-Bacterial Slip-Resistant Flooring by ThermalRite: Featuring a pre-coated finish that kills and prevents 99.9 percent of all bacteria, mold, algae and fungi, this NSF-certified flooring boasts a slip resistance that exceeds all other major industry options in terms of pre-fabricated walk-in flooring.

Hydrocarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant Reach-In Refrigerators/Freezers by True Food Service Equipment, Inc.: Using all-natural, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly HydroCarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant, these reach-in refrigerators and freezers reduce an operator’s energy consumption substantially, while maintaining food safety and quality, resulting in a lesser environmental impact and improved profit margins.

KODIAK Planetary Mixer by Varimixer: This 30-quart planetary mixer is an ergonomically correct machine that features a wider, shallower bowl for better sight lines, an intuitive control panel and an easy clean 3-in-1 splash guard/safety guard/ingredient chute.

Seal-A-Cup Cup Sealing System by Wilpack Packaging: Using heat and pressure to apply a tamper-evident seal in seconds to plastic cups with volumes ranging from .37-ounce to 32-ounces and diameters of 51mm, 75mm and 115mm, this lightweight, portable cup sealer prevents spillage, seals in freshness and extends product life.

An independent panel of industry experts comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multi-unit restaurant executives, and design experts selects the KI Award recipients. The 2015 Kitchen Innovations Judges are:

  • 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
  • Foster F. Frable Jr.,FCSI, founding partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee
  • Jim Krueger Jr., CMCE, NRAMF, chief, Air Force Food & Beverage Business Development & Strategic Initiatives Air Force Services Activity (AFSVA), San Antonio, Texas
  • Aaron LaMotte, director, Sodexo Performance Interiors
  • Robert Marshall, vice president, U.S. operations, McDonald’s Corporation, retired
  • Steve Otto, director, capital equipment purchasing, Darden
  • Kathleen H. Seelye, FFCSI, LEED, managing partner, Ricca Newmark Design

The 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will showcase each recipient and their product in the Kitchen Innovations Pavilion. The show runs May 16-19 in Chicago.