Your kitchen of the future can be pieced together from this year’s winners of the Kitchen Innovation awards at the NRA show in Chicago
he National Restaurant Association’s annual Kitchen Innovation awards are always a highly rated event. People from all over the globe attend to enter and see the latest products that could improve their kitchen and/or restaurant functionality as well as finding out what is new in the foodservice market.
The Kitchen Innovation products are designed to enable foodservice operations to run faster and more efficiently by increasing productivity, quality, safety, cost-efficiency and environmental sustainability. The ultimate result is for foodservice operators to deliver better customer service and the highest quality meals to their customers.
“Our Kitchen Innovations award recipients contribute to the evolution of our industry, and help restaurant operators reduce costs while boosting profitability,” says Craig Reed, convention chair for the NRA 2011 show in Chicago last month, and director of food and beverage at the Broadmoor Hotel.
“Each of the judges has the hands-on experience and real-life expertise to recognize the tools that are truly going to have a substantial impact on the efficiency and success of a restaurant’s kitchen and ultimately the success of the restaurant itself.”
Cambro Manufacturing won an award for the Camduction Complete Heat System. The hot meals delivery system charges 20 heat-retention bases in one unit, allowing for a base to be ready every 12 seconds with reliable temperature holding for 60 minutes, with drying base cart and transport cart.
“The patented technology was developed in our German facility by Cambro engineers looking for a better way to help healthcare facilities with their needs for a reliable, durable and long-lasting heat retention product,” says Felix Bazgan, senior marketing manager at Cambro Manufacturing.
“The Camduction bases are inserted into charging slots in the Camduction charger. The charger can accommodate up to 20 bases at once. In a typical trayline setting, a heated base is ready every 12 seconds. The bases are heated to around 290°F (140°C). The heating element is concentrated in the centre of the base so foodservice operators can handle it without gloves. A heated plate with food goes on top of the base ready to be delivered. The heat from the base will get transferred to the plate and food over time to keep the food hot and fresh.”
The Camduction system is primarily being sold to hospitals and long-term care facilities. The logic behind targeting those facilities is that they require a reliable system that provides consistent performance.
The components of the product, like the bases, have been tested to replicate years of use prior to launch. The entire system was tested in several facilities throughout the US for a few months prior to launch with great results.
The good news is that it may reach Australian shores sooner rather than later.
“There is tremendous international potential for Camduction,” says Bazgan. “We are focusing on North America for the launch but anticipate expanding to Europe and Asia very soon.”
Getting the exhaust right in the kitchen is very important both for the food and the staff. Each requires the right temperature to work to their maximum capacity.
Keeping a kitchen clean is no simple task. That’s way Franke Foodservice Systems developed the EcoVent Exhaust Air Cleaner—another Kitchen Innovation award winner.
The device is the first cooking exhaust cleaner that introduces the grease and odour reducing effects of ultraviolet light into the airstream above the hood without placing any device directly in the duct. This results in a dramatic reduction in the need for filters and daily cleaning.
“EcoVent works by using the UVc band of ultraviolet light to produce safe amounts of ozone, which has the proven ability to reduce odour
and grease particles from exhaust air,” says Greg Richards, vice-president/business development of Franke Foodservice Systems.
“Unlike other UVc exhaust-air cleaning units, EcoVent does not place the ultraviolet lamps directly in the airstream. As a result, the usual cleaning and maintenance burdens are eliminated.” So far, EcoVent is being used in a variety of test locations mainly throughout Europe and of course the US. The product was released for sale to the general market in February of this year.
“This product is ideal for any kitchen where odour reduction is an important operating requirement,” Richards says. “EcoVent is designed to retrofit to almost any existing canopy-type or backshelf-type exhaust hood or directly to exhaust ductwork. “Feedback has been positive. Operators notice reduced odour and grease build-up. Research shows that odour is reduced by 60 to
80 per cent depending on menu type, and grease build-up in ductwork is reduced by 40 to 60 per cent. Of course, any reduction in grease build-up improves cleaning and maintenance of ductwork, fans and roofs and reduces fire risk.”
Cooking food simultaneously is no easy task. Trying to undertake that activity utilising different cooking methods throws another complication into the mix. That’s why the Mini Combi oven-steamer will be welcome to many kitchens.
Another 2011 Kitchen Innovation award winner—the Mini 2in1 Combi oven-steamer from the Cleveland Range, LLC, a Manitowoc Foodservice Company—has two independent cooking chambers in a single body that requires limited space. It allows foods to be prepared simultaneously using different cooking methods.
“Each cavity is large enough to hold six half-size sheet pans, three full-size steam table pans, or six 1/1 GN pans,” says Jason Schreiner, project manager at Cleveland Range, LLC.
“The unit has three methods of cooking. They are steam, hot air, and combination of steam and hot air combi.
“The OES 6.10 mini 2in1 could be used in a number of different applications—for instance, quick service restaurants, airport/mall kiosks, places that offer 24-hour service like hotels and hospitals, and gas stations/convenience stores.”
There you have it. Three leading kitchen innovation award winners that will endeavour to improve your performance in and out of the kitchen. So as soon as they land on these shores, you’ve got no excuse for not innovating straight away.