CHICAGO — The National Restaurant Association announced the winners of its 2007 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards for its Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, to be held May 19-22, at McCormick Place.
According to a news release, all 2007 KI Award products were judged by an independent panel of experts to be among the most innovative foodservice equipment in the world. The show will again showcase award recipients in live, interactive demonstrations throughout the exclusive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion.
"Our Kitchen Innovations Award program is now in its third highly successful year, and previous award recipients have gained tremendous strides in promoting their cutting-edge products to the world of foodservice," said Steven Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the NRA. "Innovative equipment does not only benefit restaurants by increasing productivity, conserving the environment and keeping employees safe, it can also have a big impact on the consumer side by increasing speed and quality of service and menu items.
This year's winners are:
* Action Comax Environmental Inc., BioX: BioX uses a patent-pending biological process to decompose and dissolve up to 1,500 pounds of food waste per day. The liquid is disposed into a drain or used for irrigation, and the stainless steel, no-odor unit is suitable for kitchen locations.
* Alto Shaam Inc., Combitherm Smoker: This boiler-free counter-top model with oven/steamer capability has integrated, patented smoker technology, enabling the operator to smoke hot or cold, and reverts to standard cooking without flavor transfer or residual smoke.
* Alto Shaam Inc., ASF - 75G Gas Fryer: Seventy-one percent efficiency is achieved through enclosed, forced-air modulating burner and revolutionary heat exchanger. Eco-Smart features reduce cost of operation, extend oil life, reduce absorption and provide rapid recovery.
* Beverage-Air, a Division of Carrier Commercial Refrigeration Inc., ChillStar - I.F.R. (Intelligent Food Recognition): ChillStar's Intelligent Food Recognition automatically adjusts blast chilling cycles with its multisensor probe, monitoring temperatures in the core and on the surface to prevent surface freezing/degradation.
* Blodgett Oven Company, a Division of The Middleby Corporation, Oven Model: XCEL.5E Hydrovection: This first self-cleaning electric convection oven features easily removed bi-directional blower wheel and baffle, welded stainless liner with large radius corners, protected gaskets and steam-assist feature, resulting in potential 95 percent reduction in cleaning time.
* Campus Products Inc., Silvershine Cutlery Drying Machine (CDM): The Silvershine CDM dries, polishes, and sanitizes up to 12,000 pieces per hour, agitating through 170 F polishing granulate and Ultra Violet C germicidal light.
* Cleveland Range, an Enodis Company, Convotherm 606 - Mini-Combi Oven Steamer: Its compact footprint fits everywhere and packs in cooking power and capabilities like larger units. The Advanced Closed System provides reduced energy, water savings and an industry-exclusive browning and crisping technology.
* The Delfield Company, an Enodis Company, Versa Drawer: The Versa Drawer combines four separate units with individually controlled functions — refrigerate, freeze, chill, and thaw — in one footprint and refrigeration system.
* Electrolux Professional North America, Tilting Pressure Braising Pan: The pressure-braising pan shortens cooking times as much as 50 percent by cooking under the pressure of saturated steam to retain flavor, nutrients and yields. A motorized tilting feature simplifies handling large quantities of food.
* Hobart, Hobart 3000 Series Slicer: This slicer provides improved cleaning accessibility, a seamless base and hose-down capabilities. With a smaller footprint, it has a larger "yield improving" knife that is removable with increased safety and ease. The "Select-a-stroke" feature remembers required stroke length.
* Lincoln Foodservice Products LLC, an Enodis Company, FastBake: A patent-pending advanced impingement technology which accelerates the rate of heat transfer, resulting in significantly improved bake quality, energy savings and bake times reduced by 10 percent to 30 percent
* Master-Bilt Products, Master Controller with Reverse Cycle Defrost: Master-Bilt's reverse cycle defrost, coupled with the electronic Master Controller, reverses high-temperature refrigerant flow back the entire length of the evaporator coil, reducing defrost time/frequency and saving up to 27 percent in energy costs.
* Meiko, Waste Air Heat Recovery System: Meiko's exclusive exhaust system reclaims heat generated by the dish machine as free energy to preheat incoming rinse water, reducing operating costs while providing hot-water sanitization from a cold water supply line.
* Pitco, a Division of The Middleby Corp., Solstice Rethermalizer: This water-bath rethermalizer, (more efficient than steam or hot air) delivers 54 percent efficiency from its Solstice burner-baffle design, extracting more heat and achieving radiant mode quicker for faster recovery and cooking.
* Pitco, a Division of The Middleby Corp. - Solstice Supreme Gas Fryer: Burners stay clean and efficient with an automatic 30-second self-cleaning ignition procedure, and highly efficient inverted burners that reduce excess air flow and normal greasy build-up by eliminating the need for a blower fan.
* San Jamar, Kleen-Brush System: Positions a fingernail/hand brush to fit under any gooseneck faucet, exposing it to running water and soap, thus minimizing cross-contamination. Encourages cleaning of fingernails and fingertips, and fits leading brands of brushes.
* Scotsman Ice Systems, an Enodis Company, Prodigy Cube Ice Machine: Utilizing patented mineral-sensing technology, its WaterSense adaptive purge control automatically adjusts the quantity of water needed to flush mineral residue, limiting scale buildup and keeping the ice machine cleaner longer.
* Unified Brands, Randell FX Series: This refrigeration/freezer system features one to four modular drawers, each with individual temperature controls within "lids" that magnetically seal and refrigerate food tubs. The system is energy conserving and stacked in one footprint.
* Vulcan-Hart, Floor Gas Steamer: Vulcan's PowerSteam cooks faster with super-heated 235 F degree steam. Its high-output generator/energy-efficient burner delivers continuous 235 F degree flow, allowing in-and-out orders without shutdown or reset.
All applications and products were judged by an independent, expert panel consisting of: Philip Costner (vice president of food and beverage, T.G.I. Friday's U.S.A.); Martin Cowley (senior manager, restaurant design, Disneyland Resort); William Eaton (principal, Cini-Little International); John Egnor (president, JEM Associates); Rick Gentry (director, technical services, ARAMARK); Robert Forrester (consultant, Concepts Development); Robert Marshall (vice president U.S. Operations, McDonald's Corp.); Robert Pacifico (executive vice president, Romano/Gatland); and Kathleen Seelye (president, foodservice, Ricca Newmark Design).