The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of the 2013 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, which recognizes promising and cutting-edge advancements in kitchen equipment for the foodservice industry.

An independent, expert panel of judges selected award recipients to be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion (booth 2440) at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, May 18-21 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

The 2013 Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients are:

Aerowerks Inc.: Mesh Belt Conveyor: A cafeteria conveyor made of a close-knit mesh belt, which eliminates the need for trays and allows the conveyor to turn without creating gaps that cause jamming and breakage.

Alto-Shaam Inc.: 4.10cci CT Express: A compact combi oven with an integrated catalytic converter that transforms grease-laden vapors into harmless water vapor and CO2. No hood is required allowing the operator to place wherever needed.

Blendtec: Stealth: This sound-dampening commercial blender features an online programming tool that allows users to build upon the 42 preprogrammed blend cycles and create new ones for franchise-wide sharing through the USB port.

Duke Manufacturing: X-Stream IH2 Wash System: A system featuring programmable cycles, plug & play components serviceability, pump and sanitizer monitoring, and a unique wash flow that keeps wares in the impingement zone longer – resulting in consistently clean wares with greater water/energy efficiency.

Ecolab Inc., Equipment Care Division: Smart Care Program: A program for critical kitchen equipment that includes proprietary asset management/reporting technology, customer-facing online tracking tools, equipment cleaning and sanitation products, and preprogrammed critical parts on technician service vehicles for same-day emergency fixes, reduced operating costs and maximum asset ROI.

Follett Corporation: 7 Series Ice and Water Dispenser: A unique design that features built-in recycling to reclaim and refreeze melted ice, allowing for reduced water waste and flexibility to place the dispenser where a drain is unavailable.

Franke Coffee Systems Americas: FoamMaster: A super-automatic espresso machine that produces hot and cold milk foam in variable textures, to enable traditional and novel coffee and milk combinations and help operators diversify their menus.

Frontline International: M3 Data Management System: Intelligent management technology for waste oil systems, delivering detailed reports/analysis, diagnostic and "tank full" status alerts, and real-time monitoring for increased savings and efficiency.

Garland Group: Green Heat: Module Line Brazing Pan: A drop-in induction brazing pan design that features remote electronics placement, multiple depths and in-unit drainage, enabling island suite integration for grilling, searing and cooking with or without liquids.

Hobart: The Advansys LXeR Undercounter: A high-temperature, undercounter warewasher that recycles hot water vapor to preheat incoming cold water significantly reducing steam release when the door is opened after cycles, and lowering overall energy consumption.

Jade Range LLC: Even-Broiler: A unique baffled Char-Broiler design that evenly distributes heat front-to-back for zero cold zones and better output, while individually controlled burners and boxes allow operators flexibility to manipulate individual 6-inch sections.

KE2: KE2 Evaporator Efficiency: This refrigeration control technology significantly reduces both energy consumption and temperature fluctuation by triggering defrost cycles only when necessary, reducing defrost cycles as much as 90 percent.

Manitowoc Kolpak: ArticFox: An on-demand defrost control for walk-ins that activates only when needed, rather than on timers, avoiding unnecessary defrost cycles by as much as 90 percent to improve energy efficiency and temperature constancy.

Master-Bilt: Parallel Glycol Rack System: A refrigeration system that builds on energy-efficient glycol loop technology by utilizing floating heat pressure technology, which adjusts to ambient temperatures to lower energy consumption by up to 25 percent.

Meiko: CS-70 Sanitizing, Door-Type Dishmachine:  A low-temp dishwasher featuring an automatic drain/refill feature that eliminates the need for a heater, plus advanced microprocessor technology and an auto prime feature for consistent chemical dispensing.

Middleby Marshall: WOW 2 Oven: A conveyor oven that allows operators to control bake temperatures and conveyor speed, plus adjust airflow to the top and bottom impingement ports independently for faster, consistent baking and menu flexibility.

Ovention Inc.: Ovention Matchbox: An intelligent, self-loading and unloading oven design that utilizes two alternating cook surfaces using impingement only. Doesn't require a hood and enables food items to be cooked one after another at temperatures that vary by up to 100 degrees.

Pentair: Everpure SimpliFlow Water Management System: A wall-mounting manifold for water lines that keeps them organized, accessible and easily identifiable to save time and reduce error when servicing water-using equipment.

Strahman Valves Inc.: Vari-Spray Pre-rinse Nozzle: A pre-rinse nozzle for commercial kitchens that allows users to adjust between various spray patterns (broad, focused, gentle, hard) by varying trigger pressure, allowing flexibility for various cleaning needs.

Technologies Coffea Inc.: Coffea vacuum brewing system: A programmable, whole bean-to-cup system that uses a vacuum extraction brew process and infusion brew chamber for a calculated steep time and fast, precise extraction.

The Vollrath Company: Mirage Induction Soup Rethermalizer: An intelligent, countertop unit that uses induction heating instead of water to quickly re-thermalize and maintain optimal temperature for foods such as soup chili, and macaroni and cheese.

"This year's Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients address today's leading commercial kitchen equipment challenges with advancements in energy efficiency and sustainability, online tools for tracking and monitoring, intelligent controls, as well as versatility to conform to diverse restaurant layouts," said Jeffery W. Davis, convention chair for NRA Show 2013 and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. "These innovations will have a substantial impact on the efficiency and success of restaurant kitchens, as well as the profitability of the restaurant itself."

To learn more about the KI program and this year's award recipients, visit Restaurant.org/Show.

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