The National Restaurant Association Show named 11 products as the recipients of its 2022 Kitchen Innovations Awards. The following is a list of the KI winners along with a description provided by the NRA Show and edited by FE&S for style and clarity.
Alto-Shaam’s Converge Multi-Cook Ovens: Converge ovens pair vertical, patented Structured Air Technology with steam capability in each chamber. With up to three independent chambers per oven, Converge can cook three different foods simultaneously — all at different temperatures, fan speeds, humidity levels and cook times. The unit also has a self-cleaning feature.
Botrista Technology’s DrinkBot: Botrista’s turnkey beverage program includes Drinkbot equipment alongside a line of prepackaged ingredients in proprietary bag-in-box format to deliver infused teas, lattes, flavored lemonades, iced coffees and much more, all within five square feet. Drinkbot accommodates 14 BIB ingredient packs, each with its own connectors, tubes, nozzles, etc. Software automates portioning, dispensing and mixing; an aerator handles blending.
Duke Manufacturing’s Waterless Well: Waterless wells solve the chronic water issues of steam, lime, scorching, plumbing and so on. Duke’s advances include programmable temperatures for high-medium-low settings and a large, intuitive touchscreen for each well, including service diagnostics and alerts. Pop-out access and non-stick removable silicone liners make cleanup easier. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Frontline International’s Kitchen Controller: This end-to-end automated oil management system monitors oil quality via a hand-held fry-vat sensor and communicates conditions and recommended actions to help extend oil life, such as skimming, topping off or changing out. Change-outs are push-button automated and touchless. Managers can remotely monitor functions and verify recommendations are being performed.
Frymaster (Welbilt) FilterQuick Intuition: The redesign of this 30-lb fryer includes a capacitive touch screen, enhanced software, automatic internet connection, variable-speed filter pump, variable-speed combustion micro fans, and more. Collectively, these features deliver a more serviceable, reliable, and innovative 30-lb fryer.
Garland (Welbilt) Active Compression for Clamshell Griddle: Traditionally, downforce on the top platen was achieved with weight distributed across the food product. A load of two patties or 10 created different cooking results. Some alternatives are complex. Active Compression solves all that with a platen-locking mechanism that lets the operator set the gap between top and bottom cook surfaces regardless of load. Consistent compression drops cook times almost by half.
Hoshizaki America Refrigerated Pizza Prep Table: The design includes an easy-access cooling system of back-to-front ducted airflow for even rail temperatures, a single refrigeration circuit with separate temperature settings for the rail and cabinet, and a night mode allowing pan storage in the rail with the lids closed overnight, automatically adjusting the setpoint up when the lids are closed, down when they’re open.
ITW – Food Equipment Group’s IBEX Oven: The IBEX Oven features solid-state radio frequency (RF) technology combined with convection heating to deliver fast, fresh, full-batch results and premium food quality across the entire menu. The IBEX closed-loop, digital cooking intelligence adapts to feedback from food in real time as it changes, always optimizing for both quality and speed during cooking, baking and reheating.
Kuvings’ Commercial Auto Blender Chef CB1000: Vacuum blending has been the hot ticket in blending lately, pulling air out of the container before blending begins to create remarkably smooth, fine consistency with greatly reduced oxidation and foam. Kuving takes it to the next level with much quicker blending and true one-touch operation that automatically closes the enclosure, vacuum seals the container, blends perfectly, shuts down and self-opens — all in 25 seconds.
T&S Brass and Bronze Works’ T&S EasyInstall Hose Reel Cabinet: The T&S EasyInstall Hose Reel Cabinet is an all-in-one streamlined design that simplifies field installation and reduces the complexity of specifying a hose reel system. The cabinet comes preassembled, so installers only need to determine if they want top or bottom inlets, and whether to install recessed or surface mounted.
WMF Americas’ WMF 5000S+ Fully-Automatic Coffee Machine: The WMF 5000 S+ is a fully automatic espresso machine with such new features as an AutoClean system capable of eliminating common hygiene issues related to milk. The WMF 5000 S+ allows operators to execute a top-quality coffee program with minimal staff oversight.
Each of these products will be on display at the Kitchen Innovations Showroom during the National Restaurant Association Show, which will take place May 21-24 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. In addition to the 2022 KI Award recipients, the products that earned KI recognition in 2020 and 2021 will be on display, too.