What do the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients offer your back of house?
By Megan O'Neill

Implementing efficiency in time, space, and energy in the kitchen is arguably one of the most important objectives, right? The 2015 Kitchen Innovations Awards celebrate this while acknowledging the companies you need to know to truly benefit in areas of energy efficiency, waste reduction and improved productivity.
Visit show.restaurant.org for more info.

Advancing the future of the kitchen, the 23 selected innovations were chosen from an esteemed panel of judges looking for products that address cross-functionality, faster cook-up times, space constraints, water waste reduction, enhanced energy efficiency, increased safety, and, of course, sanitation. Ergonomics and smart technology was even implemented to help these products learn and adapt to various conditions.

“As a chef, it is great to see [these products] 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.
The trends and topics that these products focus on are all important to foodservice operators today and, according to the judges, are the most productive items on the market for back-of-house efficiency.

With less than a month left until the 2015 NRA Show, it’s time to start taking a closer look at the award recipients. Which company can address your needs best? Which back-of-house product offers the most innovation for your restaurant? Is it time to integrate smart technology? Is food waste or sanitation a top priority? With plenty of questions needing to be asked, we’ve made it a bit easier for you. Below find the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients and what they offer your kitchen. And remember, stay innovative—there’s not time in the restaurant biz to become stale. 

Cooking, Brewing and Holding
·         Dagda Technologies, Inc.: FryerGate—the safety cover protects employees from severe deep-fryer burns.
·         Duke Manufacturing Co.: FlexTech Advanced Food Holding Platform—extends fried product holding times, reduces food waste and increases product availability by 10-15 percent.
·         Varimixer: KODIAK Planetary Mixer—one of the most hygienic mixers available.
·         Schaerer Ltd.: Schaerer Coffee Art C HC—offers speedy bean-to-cup hot and iced coffee.
·         Manitowoc Foodservice: Merrychef eikon e4s with Panini Grill— up to 15 times faster than conventional methods, the non-stick Panini press attachment flattens and/or generates grill marks on a range of products.
·         Frymaster: FilterQuick with Oil Quality Sensor— these gas and electric fryers reduce the cost of frying and improve food quality by taking the guesswork of out oil replacement.

Sanitation and Safety
·         ThermalRite: Sanisteel Anti-Bacterial Slip-Resistant Flooring—slip resistant and kills and prevents 99.9-percent of all bacteria, mold, algae and fungi.
·         Ecolab: Syncra Total Hand Hygiene System— automated, touch-free, water-and-soap delivery system follows a strict, yet adjustable, 3-step process.
·         Franke: Franke Air Purification System (APS300)— self-contained and affordable purification system mounts inside walk-in coolers, scrubbing the existing air of microbes, ethylene, hydrocarbons and other contaminants.

Equipment Solutions
·         RATIONAL USA: SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses— communicates with its operator from preheat to unloading.
·         Ovention,Inc.: Ovention M360 Oven— compact oven is UL-certified for ventless operation and allows operators to prepare 1,000 menu items, each with different cook times and heat profiles.
·         The Montague Company : R290 Glycol Ice and Heat Sauté Station—more energy efficient than standard air-only refrigeration systems.
·         True Food Service Equipment, Inc.: Hydrocarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant Reach-In Refrigerators/Freezers—reduce an operator’s energy consumption substantially resulting in a lesser environmental impact and improved profit margins.
·         Hobart: Hobart FT1000 Flight-Type Dish Machine—the first and only ventless flight-type dish machine in the marketplace.
·         Hestan Commercial Corporation: Tri-Ferrous French Top with Maximum Center Temperature & Gradient—from 1000-plus degrees at the center to as low as 320 degrees at the edges, it’s the highest temperature delta of any French Top.
·         HestanCommercial Corporation: Longitudinal Modular Salamander/Cheesemelter/Shelving System—modular shelving and broiling system is supported longitudinally on a riser to allow complete horizontal movement.
·         Evo, Inc: EVent Ductless Downdraft Ventilation Cooking Station— an internally ducted, self-contained downdraft re-circulating ventilation system.
·         Edlund Company LLC: 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.

Water and Food Waste
·         ChampionIndustries, Inc.: Foodwaste Reduction System— uses repurposed gray water as its primary water supply, reducing water consumption by 20-30 percent daily.
·         Wilpack Packaging: Seal-A-Cup Cup Sealing System— lightweight, portable cup sealer prevents spillage, seals in freshness and extends product life.
·         Ice Link, Inc.: Ice Link— automatically transports cubed and nugget ice at 30-feet per second from a central ice production area to a variety of remote locations within the same building.
·         HydroFLOW U.S.A.: HydroFLOW Water Conditioners—dissolve and remove lime scale in appliances and piping systems, prevent new lime scale accumulation, kill bacteria and algae in water systems, and boost filtration efficiency.
      EnviroPure Systems, Inc.: EnviroPure Ozone Recirculation System— eliminates the need for fresh water to be added to the aerobic organic digester for a saving of up to 400 gallons of water per day.