In recent years, any talk of fried chicken was almost always accompanied by a summary of the health risks. In 2010, however, popular food Web site Epicurious said fried chicken is primed for a renaissance, citing the dish as one of the top food trends for 2010. So what's a health-conscious operator to do? Go ahead and serve up some fried chicken prepared in the RATIONAL SelfCooking Center®.

Fried foods cooked in the SelfCooking Center have all the taste of oil-fried foods, but up to 80 percent less fat than deep fried foods. Instead of using expensive, fattening oil, the unit cooks fried foods with its patented airflow technology that circulates through the specially designed CombiFry baskets.

The CombiFry has been recently redesigned with a wave formation across the entire base of the basket, as opposed to the large curvature on the base of the previous generation CombiFry. The new wave formation ensures that the foods lay unevenly to prevent sticking. Each redesigned CombiFry wire basket can hold up to 2 1/2 pounds of fries and 20 to 26 baskets can fit into the SelfCooking Center 202 unit.

In addition to having a lower fat content, fried chicken and other fried foods prepared in the SelfCooking Center have 36 percent fewer calories than their oil-fried counterparts. Consumers enjoy reduced amounts of fat and calories with CombiFry foods, while operators save on the costs associated with purchasing, storing and disposing of oil. Oil-free fried foods increase efficiency as well. In the SelfCooking Center, operators can cook up to 200 servings of fries or chicken tenders in as little as 15 minutes.

RATIONAL provides a hands-on experience with the SelfCooking Center and the CombiFry accessory through its TeamCooking Live events. Register for TeamCooking Live at www.rationalusa.com. The events, which take place on a range of dates at over 100 venues nationwide, are guided by one of the company's culinary consultants.