NRA Announces Kitchen Innovation Awards

The National Restaurant Association announced the recipients of the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Awards, which honor equipment and technologies that increase productivity for back of the house operations and benefit restaurant operators.

“As a chef it is great to see the products receiving the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award all offer significant advancement in back-of-house operations, and demonstrate the extent to which the manufacturing companies are in touch with culinary and key operator challenges,” says John C. Metz, convention chair for NRA Show 2015 and Executive Chef and CEO of Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua Blue, and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management.

“Each year our independent panel of judges scans the entire industry to find the products that address and solve these challenges, advancing the entire foodservice industry,” he says.

The 2015 KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today. The 23 selected innovations address water waste reduction and enhanced energy efficiency, increased safety and sanitation, cross-functionality, faster cook-up times, space constraints, and smart technology that adapts to various conditions.

The 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients are:

Champion Industries, Foodwaste Reduction System

Featuring counter-rotating, slow-speed, and low-noise cutters to macerate foodwaste in before heading, via a slightly sloped overhead gravity feed, to a dewatering centrifuge, the system uses repurposed gray water as its primary water supply, reducing water consumption by 20-30 percent daily.

Dagda Technologies, FryerGate

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

Duke Manufacturing, FlexTech Advanced Food Holding Platform

Utilizing a patented Atomized Humidity Generation System and specially designed internal vent duct panels that allow for active venting at each pan level, the FlexTech extends fried product holding times, maintains product quality and freshness longer, reduces food waste, and increases product availability by 10-15 percent.

Ecolab, Syncra Total Hand Hygiene System

Retrofitted on hand washing sinks using existing plumbing, this automated, touch-free, water-and-soap delivery system follows a strict but adjustable three-step process to ensure increased employee compliance with standardized hand-washing procedures while using 50 percent less water than traditional hand washing.

Edlund Company, Titan Max-Cut

Constructed from durable stainless steel and dishwasher safe, the Titan Max-Cut saves operators space and food prep time by incorporating four prep options—cutting, coring, wedging and dicing—into a single manual machine; just swap out the quick-change pusher and cartridge and move on to the next task.


EnviroPure Systems, EnviroPure Ozone Recirculation System

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, saving as much as 400 gallons of water per day.

Evo, EVent Ductless Downdraft Ventilation Cooking Station

Featuring an internally ducted, self-contained downdraft recirculating ventilation system, this electric cooktop removes enough airborne grease vapor, smoke, and cooking odor from the cooking surface to allow restaurants to place the cooktop in any location without the need for an externally vented air system.

Franke, Franke Air Purification System

Using ozone and UV light within an enclosure to prevent potential exposure hazards, this self-contained 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.

Frymaster, FilterQuick with Oil Quality Sensor

Boasting integrated oil-quality sensors that measure 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.

Hestan Commercial Corporation, Longitudinal Modular Salamander/Cheesemelter/Shelving System

Hung without permanent hardware by means of hook-like brackets of heavy-duty steel for optimum rigidity and durability, this modular shelving and broiler system, is supported longitudinally on a riser to allow complete horizontal movement, allowing it to be placed anywhere on the line.

Hestan Commercial Corporation, Tri-Ferrous French Top with Maximum Center Temperature & Gradient

Available in multiple widths, the 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 the highest temperature delta of any French Top.

Hobart, Hobart FT1000 Flight-Type Dish Machine

The first and only ventless flight-type dish machine in the marketplace, the FT1000 boasts the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership via technological innovations such as Automatic Soil Removal (ASR), Auto Clean, and Auto Delime that reduce water, energy, labor, and chemical expenditures.

HydroFLOW U.S.A. / Genuine Energy Solutions, HydroFLOW Water Conditioners

These chemical-free water conditioners, both featuring induced-signal and continuously conditioning Hydropath Technology, dissolve and remove lime scale in appliances and piping systems and prevent new lime scale accumulation.


Ice Link

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

Manitowoc Foodservice, Merrychef eikon e4s with Panini Grill

This semi-automated, non-stick Panini press attachment, removable from inside the oven for cleaning, flattens and generates grill marks on a range of products, including bread, proteins, and vegetables, while using Merrychef’s rapid cook technology.

The Montague Company, R290 Glycol Ice and Heat Sauté Station

Combining four 30,000-BTU gas burners, a glycol raised rail pan chiller, and a two-drawer refrigerated base, this 48" 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.

Ovention, Ovention M360 Oven 
Using a 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 with different cook times and heat profiles.

RATIONAL,SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses

An industry first in intelligent cooking systems, 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.

Schaerer, Schaerer Coffee Art C HC

With a 7-inch programmable touch screen, the Coffee Art system offers speedy bean-to-cup hot and iced coffee similar in strength to drip filter but ground from the bean.

ThermalRite, Sanisteel Anti-Bacterial Slip-Resistant Flooring

Featuring a pre-coated finish that kills and prevents 99.9 percent of all bacteria, mold, algae, and fungi, this NSF-certified flooring also boasts slip resistance.

True Food Service Equipment, Hydrocarbon Natural Refrigerant Reach-In Refrigerators/Freezers

Combining compressors and components with environmentally friendly HydroCarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant, these reach-in refrigerators and freezers reduce an operator’s energy consumption while maintaining food safety and quality.

Varimixer, KODIAK Planetary Mixer

The 30-quart KODIAK features a wider, shallower bowl for better sight lines; an intuitive control panel; and a 3-in-1-splash guard/safety guard/ingredient chute.

Wilpack Packaging, Seal-A-Cup Cup Sealing System

Using heat and pressure to apply a tamper-evident seal in seconds to a 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.

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