Are you looking for new kitchen gear? Look no further as we review some of the winners of the 2005 Kitchen Innovations Awards. By Dominique Antarakis
Innovation for its own sake can simply be a way for companies to convince you that the ‘new and improved’ version is much better than the old one, so you’d better buy one now. But every now and then a product comes along that really does help you do something better, faster, more efficiently, or just plain smarter.
The inaugural Kitchen Innovation Awards aimed to find products that fit this description, products that are first and foremost about making your life easier. The following are a selection we think have the most relevance to the Australian market and are all either available here or will be in the near future.
The Intelli-PDA Pocket PC offers paperless management of inspection, training, receiving and temperature monitoring. Data gathered on the PC is wirelessly transmitted to the back office for paperless reporting, trend analysis, corrective action and historical data files, as well as custom forms and reports. Restaurant owners can choose to do a multitude of tasks by reading a barcode at station. For example, they take inventory in a walk-in or check to see if a tray line has been properly cleaned and restocked.
“The Intelli-PDA is mobile, efficient, accurate and versatile,” says Kimberly Markey, marketing manager for Cooper-Atkins. “With a simple touch of a button, the information is sent to the computer and you are off to your next task.”
Produced by Cooper-Atkins Corporation
Libero plug and cook line
Electrolux Professional makes the most of commercial kitchen spaces with its Libero plug and cook line, an integrated system of plug-in appliances that can be adjusted as menu items require. The line features the Libero point, a mobile self-ventilated counter that holds two Libero appliances, six appliance modules (hot and cold plate, induction wok, infrared cooker, induction cooker, griddle and panini grill), and the Libero pasta plug-in pasta cooker.
“The Libero line was developed in response to the growing trend of preparing fresh food products right in front of customers in very small spaces,” says Scott Applebee, Electrolux Professional marketing director.
Produced by Electrolux Professional North America
Swiss EGRO 50 series super automatic espresso machine
At just 12 inches wide, the Swiss EGRO 50 series super automatic espresso machine offers the smallest footprint in its class but exceeds the production capability of larger machines.
“The Swiss EGRO super automatic espresso machine delivers authentic espresso-based beverages using real milk,” says David Murray, national sales associate, Leodoro. “With its ease of use, staff training is reduced to a minimum. The self-adjusting, built-in tamping control monitors and delivers exact shot times and removes variables such as temperature, humidity and varying bean batches.”
The machine also uses pulsating pumping technology instead of siphoning, to eliminate milk-clogging problems.
Produced by Leodoro-Swiss Coffee Systems
Micros kitchen display system
Micros Systems created the kitchen display system (KDS) after seeing the juggling act restaurants must pull off to deliver a top-notch dining experience. The KDS offers integrated kitchen automation that synchronises menu items by course, prep time and kitchen load to maximise kitchen productivity.
“We studied kitchens and observed the challenges facing kitchen staff in producing high-quality food coordinated across multiple preparation stations,” says Louise Casamento, director of marketing for Micros.
Produced by Micros Systems, Inc.
The Tornado oven serves up accelerated cooking times through a patented combination of high-speed, forced convection heating (impingement), microwave energy and infrared heating element.
The oven can bake, roast, toast, brown and boil up to 12 times faster than conventional methods. The Tornado is also ventless and hoodless to give operators more flexibility in their kitchen design.
“The Tornado gives food service operators speed of service, cook-to-order solutions, new menu opportunities, and improved space and waste control,” says Steve Beshara, chief branding officer for TurboChef Technologies.
Produced by TurboChef Technologies, Inc.
Fluke’s FoodPro and FoodPro Plus hand-held non-contact infrared thermometers feature a targeting system that illuminates the area being measured without the risk of cross-contamination. The FoodPro Plus includes a probe to check internal temperatures. The thermometers feature ‘go/no-go’ lights to show whether food temperatures are within guidelines for safe hot or cold food holding.
Unlike other thermometers on the market, the company says the FoodPro Plus has an eight-hour timer to monitor cooking, cooling and holding times, and its probe can be replaced in the field and does not have to be returned for calibration.
Produced by Fluke
Hobart’s Opti-Rinse system uses rinse spray nozzles (patent pending) that use up to 50 per cent less water and energy than the industry standard fan-spray nozzles.
“The key to this new system is the larger drops that are created and the drastic improvement in heat transfer they provide,” says Kurt Wacker, Hobart’s product line director, dishwash. “The result is more uniform coverage and a more forceful stream of water moving in a rapid back and forth motion.”
Because the system uses less water, the amount of energy needed to heat the water is also reduced, meaning owners could save thousands of dollars annually on water, sewer, energy and rinse agent.
Produced by Hobart