Restaurant Show Prep: Kitchen Innovations

NRA Show season begins with this year's equipment elite

Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP

With the North American Association for Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show over for another two years, it's time to set your equipment sights on the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show and its Kitchen Innovations awards.

Every year, an independent panel of judges selects Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award recipients for their help in making foodservice operations run faster and more efficiently. These equipment pieces increase productivity, quality, safety, cost efficiency and environmental sustainability. They allow operators to focus on delivering high-quality food and superior service.

The KI winners are showcased in an interactive pavilion at the 2011 NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show at Chicago's McCormick Place, May 21-24.

[image-nocss] Meanwhile, for the first time, the NRA Show will put a similar spotlight on food and beverage product innovations. A panel of industry leaders is currently selecting recipients of the inaugural Food & Beverage Product Innovations Awards. Those honorees will be announced later this month.

A few KI honorees in particular would fit well into a foodservice-at-retail operation. Such operators should check out the small-footprint Mini 2in1 Combi Oven from Cleveland Range, which can prepare two different foods simultaneously using different cooking methods in separate chambers.

For operators with a grilled-food program, look for the Pro-Max two-sided grill from Star Manufacturing. Its Pro-Lift Hinge System increases the longevity of the grill while yielding more uniform cooking.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine, which has already been on display at the show for two years, also won a KI award this year for its slick design and web-based consumption reporting.

Following are this year's KI Award winners.

Cambro Manufacturing, CamductionComplete Heat System
The efficient hot meals delivery system that 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.

CaptiveAire Systems Inc., CORE Protection Fire System
A UL300 approved fire system for commercial kitchen ventilation with electric remote real-time monitoring, supervision and communication of operational status and specific fault conditions.

Cleveland Range LLC/Manitowoc Foodservice, Mini 2in1 Combi Oven
The Mini Combi oven-steamer, with two independent cooking chambers in a single body requiring limited space, allows foods to be prepared simultaneously using different cooking methods.

The Coca-Cola Co., Coca-Cola Freestyle
A new fountain dispenser that integrates the latest technologies to dispense more than 100 sparkling and still beverages, with web-based consumption reporting to manage inventory and ordering efficiencies.

Cres Cor, Hot Cube 3
This patent pending tri-powered hybrid hot cabinet, uses 120V indoors, then easily converts to propane heat for eight hours of use outdoors with an optional solar panel to recharge controls.

Ecolab, Apex Conveyor Dishmachine
Designed for spotless ware results at half the utilities, Apex Conveyor recycles heat, replenishes the wash-tank automatically and without interruption, and cleans and thoroughly delimes itself automatically using an innovative, patent pending process.

Ecolab, Ecolab Cleaning Caddy
A touch-free restroom cleaning caddy with lock-and-key chemical dispensing, spray wand, on-board wet vac, and rechargeable battery in a footprint the size of a mop and bucket.

Franke Foodservice Systems, EcoVent Exhaust Air Cleaner
The first cooking exhaust cleaner that introduces the grease- and odor-reducing effects of ultraviolet light into the airstream above the hood without placing any device directly in the duct. As a result: Dramatic reduction in the need for filters and daily cleaning.

Halton Co., Jet Extraction System (JES)
The extraction-exhaust system designed for display cooking, using a cyclonic aspirating hood incorporating tempered safety glass and vortex tubes to provide a quiet cooking process with clean sight lines.

Halton Co., Proximity Heat Reclaim Hood
This reclaim hood positions a flue bypass to capture the highest clean combustion heat from a gas appliance with an integrated heat exchanger to supply hot water and reduce energy consumption.

Henny Penny, PriMelt Oil Melter
An integrated, on-board oil melter that converts semi-solid oils to a completely clear liquid and maintains it for normal replenishment without hot splash through the Henny Penny automatic top-off system.

Hobart Corp., Advansys CLeR Energy Recovery
This Energy Star conveyor-type warewasher captures heat from exhaust air and ware to preheat inlet water for energy savings while monitoring recovery coil temperatures and automatically adjusting for start-up.

Manitowoc Ice, Indigo Series Ice Machine
Ice machines with intelligent diagnostics and 24/7 monitoring. Operators can program ice production, and monitor all functions. Features ice clarity, machine maintenance, energy/water usage and unique LuminIce growth inhibitor.

Meiko, USA, M-iQ Flight-type dishwasher
The new M-iQ includes the revolutionary 'M-Filter - Active Wash' filtration system that actively and continuously removes food waste from the wash water. It features a multiple stage filtration process that collects food soil and then flushes it completely in high-pressure cycles.

National Hot Water, Dragon Fire Thermo Recovery Filter
This heat recovery device replaces conventional grease filters within kitchen vent hoods. It combines a heat exchanger with a two-stage grease filter to convert exhaust heat into energy for heating water or make-up air.

Power Soak Systems Inc., Produce Soak with Advanced Washing Technology
Free-flowing water through high-volume, gentle-wash jets removes soils from hard-to-reach areas, and Advanced Washing Inserts and Flexible Tank Dividers create consistent rotating motions for thorough washing and sanitation.

Star Manufacturing, Pro-Max Two Sided Grill with Pro-Lift Hinge System
A new generation of Pro-Max Grills is based on a newly designed hinge system to transfer loads to compression springs, for longevity, and lift straight up before rotation to improve uniform grilling of multiple foods.

Stoveshoes LLC, Stoveshoes
This cost-effective alternative to wheels or casters for commercial kitchen equipment is non-breakable, chemical resistant, and low friction so one person can slide equipment easily for more thorough cleaning.

Strahman Valves Inc., Kwik Clean 3 Pre-Rinse Spray Nozzle
This stainless-steel, unique three-tip nozzle is in a rotating nose cone allowing quick spray pattern changes to handle any job. Its ultra-low-flow and high-efficiency design reduces energy, water and wastewater costs while significantly lowering CO2 emissions.

Supreme Metal Inc., Vision Underbar Furniture
A line of underbar furniture featuring interchangeable, customizable finishes, hardware, fixtures, storage options and installation configurations, as a cost effective way to upgrade interior bar functionality and decor integration.

Vitamix Corp., The Quiet One
The quietest commercial blender available, The Quiet One provides dramatic sound reduction through its exclusive door seal design and patent-pending floating technology that significantly reduce vibration transmission and improve airflow.

Wells Manufacturing, Universal Ventless Hoods
These self-contained, up to 8-foot hoods have flexibility to mix and match various electric cooking equipment and feature an innovative air path with 4-stage filtration (including a HEPA filter) to capture more effluents with 34% less air flow and 30% lower noise.

Visit for more information on the 2011 NRA Show.

Abbie Westra, CSP/Winsight By Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP
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