NRA names 2014 Kitchen Innovations winners

Annual awards showcase the best new foodservice equipment

CHICAGO -- An annual hallmark of equipment evolution and a reflection of key industry themes, the National Restaurant Association’s Kitchen Innovations awards is celebrating its 10th anniversary at this year’s NRA Show, which will be held May 17-20 in Chicago. The honorees are chosen by a panel of consultants, multi-unit restaurant executives and design experts who seek out, in the words of the NRA, “equipment and technology that specifically improves the back-of-the-house operations and benefits restaurant operators.”

What follows are some of the 24 winners that could specifically benefit the c-store operator.

Alto Shaam Inc., CT PROformance Combitherm Oven

This touch-screen controlled combi-oven features an accelerated start-up temperature booster and requires zero clearance for other equipment, giving operators more flexibility in the kitchen and cook-times reduced by as much as 20%.

BioZone Scientific International, Inc., IceZone X

Scalable to treat almost any commercial ice machine, this clean-in-place sanitation system uses patented ultraviolet light oxidation to prevent contamination and eliminate more than 99% of surface micro-contamination.

Champion Industries, Dry Assist

This under-counter, door-style dishwasher technology draws cool, dry air up and through the rack of sanitized ware via a duct in the bottom of the chamber, removing moisture and speeding drying/turnaround time for dishes.

Environmental Products & Services Ltd, GreaseShield ECO 1850 PreFilter Low Level

This system protects drainage systems and harvests renewable energy resources by using waste thermal energy to remove emulsified FOGs before they solidify, additionally removing and dewatering organic waste to eliminate foul-smelling anaerobic conditions.

Garland, Garland Induction FlexiHob Technology

An intelligent technology that automatically adjusts electrical input to offer flexibility to cook with multiple pans of varying sizes on the same induction unit.

Henny Penny Corp., Velocity Series Pressure Fryer

This pressure fryer uses automatic oil filtration, which does not require operator intervention, enabling filtration to occur after every load for improved oil quality and four times longer oil life without sacrificing productivity.

Manitowoc Beverage, Multiplex Manual Fill Blend-in-Cup System (BIC-MF)

This automated system makes and dispenses smoothies, frappes, blended- and over-ice drinks completely in the cup to help operators efficiently prepare a broad range of drinks.

Ovention, Shuttle Oven

This ventless impingement oven transitions seamlessly between conveyor and matchbox mode at the touch of a button to contain heat, moisture and grease-laden air for improved speed, menu flexibility and energy efficiency.

Star Manufacturing, Holman Impingement Conveyor Toaster

This conveyor toaster combines radiant heat with impingement by recirculating heated, high-speed air over bread and other products for faster, efficient and more even toasting.

TurboChef Technologies, The TurboChef Fire

This countertop convection oven features integral flow cylinders that channel airflow to rapidly increase heat transfer, reaching evenly dispersed temperatures up to 800 degrees to cook 14-inch, fresh-dough pizzas in as little as 90 seconds.

Vulcan/ITW FEG, PowerFry5 with FivePass Heat Transfer

This ENERGY STAR-qualified fryer maximizes energy use with a signature technology that reclaims and circulates heat five times both inside and outside the tank, resulting in faster recovery and cook times, more productivity and less wear.

Wilbur Curtis Co., Wireless Freshness Monitoring System (FMS)

This remote monitoring system tracks the freshness of food and beverages and uses proprietary communication technology to report to a single interface, increasing quality and reducing waste, safety risk, cost and equipment downtime.