Smallwares Support the Kitchen
When it comes to the Smallwares Competition, it seems the
judges’ eyes are always caught—and held—by products that
combine effectiveness, durability and food safety.
And so it was this year, when seven judges arrived at the
Skokie, Ill., headquarters of Foodservice Equipment
Reports on July 12 to choose the best of the best.
The four operator judges included Kevin Appleton, executive
chef/faculty at Robert Morris College, Chicago; Robert
Bearman, Aramark’s retail director for
Loyola University’s Watertower
campus, Chicago; Heather Blume, general manager at
Chicago’s Hotel Allegro; and Jay Lovell, executive
chef/owner of Lovells of Lake Forest, Lake Forest, Ill.
On the dealer side, we welcomed three professionals: Monica
McCabe, table settings specialist for The Boelter Cos.,
Lincolnwood, Ill.; Scott Pusateri, national account manager
for The Wasserstrom Co., Columbus, Ohio; and Sophia Rosillo,
category manager for kitchen and
buffet smallwares, Edward Don & Co., North Riverside,
At the crack of 9 a.m., judges were instructed to go forth
and rate products based on five aspects: uniqueness or
innovation in their category; service to the industry; food
and labor safety; durability; and, where applicable,
Eligible smallwares include hand-held, non-electric kitchen
tools designed for commercial foodservice, ranging from
cookware and food prep tools to cleaning devices, food
safety items and the like. The products had to be new to the
market as of the May 2005 National Restaurant Association
Show. Products in the final competition had been
pre-screened in an earlier editorial judging session to
eliminate those that did not meet the criteria.
Rattle And Roll
Some of the products required a little showmanship, such as
the waterproof scale that was dipped repeatedly in a bucket
of water to show that it could still weigh after a dunking.
Or the battery-operated “touchless” towel dispenser that had
a long spill of paper toweling in front of it by the time
the judging ended.
Gloves and mitts were tried on by every judge; pan handles
and prep tools were subjected to “stress” tests by a few of
the more muscular judges; and throughout there was much
back-and-forth discussion of product design.
Although wildly different from each other, the winning
products stood out thanks to a combination of factors.
Durability and strength won big points for Chicago
Metallic’s pair of bakery pans and Vollrath’s sturdy short
ladles. Durability and cleaning power carried 3M’s Purple
Scour Pad into the winner’s circle. Food and labor safety
were front-of-mind for DayMark’s SiliGloves and Food
Handler’s Nitrile Gloves.
And let’s not forget Cooper-Atkins’ Coolit-Rite Thermometer,
which also earned kudos from the National Restaurant
Association’s Kitchen Innovations Awards program this
spring. On the innovation front, a couple of simple tweaks
jumped common kitchen products from “ho-hum” up to “wow,
that’s handy!” status—namely, the Camwear Colanders by
Cambro Mfg. Co., and the Ingredient Bin with a hook for the
scoop, by Rubbermaid.
Read on for full details, in alpha order by manufacturer, on
the nine products that made the final cut this year.
It was a small, lavender, rather scratchy item that impressed
many of our judges early on. “Easy to disinfect, rinses
well, dries quickly—and the color’s nice, too,” were a few
of their comments about 3M’s Scotch-Brite Purple
Scour Pad. The open-weave pad’s tough coiled fibers give
you faster scouring with less scratching and easier rinsing
than just about any cleaning product on the market, the
manufacturer says. Use the purple pad, wet or dry, instead
of steel wool pads. It’s ideal for pots, pans, stainless
steel, countertops and more. The pads are also okay to use
with nonstick surfaces, soft or clear plastics, fiberglass
or highly decorated surfaces.
Cambro joins the winner’s circle again this year with
its new Colanders for Camwear Food Pans. The concept
is simple: a couple of nesting rectangular, clear plastic
food pans, the top one with holes for easy drainage. “It’s a
great way to keep sliced tomatoes and lettuce fresh,” said
one of our operator judges. Ditto for storing fresh fish on
ice—water drips through the holes and away from the product.
The tough, polycarbonate colanders come in 3” and 5” depths
(matching Camwear 4”- and 6”-deep pans), and in half-,
third-, and sixth-size hotel pan sizes. They can handle a
temperature range of –40°F to 210°F, and are
Bakers will appreciate the next two winners, a pair of
specialty baking pans from <I>Chicago Metallic<I>. First,
the Mini-Fluted Tube Cake Pan is an 18” x 26”
oversized baking pan that turns out 15 4”-diameter cakes at
a time using either cake, muffin or quick bread batters. The
heavy-duty baking tool is formed from 22-gauge aluminized
steel, and the company’s renewable Silicon Glaze release
coating boosts efficiency since you won’t have to re-oil the
pan every time it goes in the oven. That, plus the wider
center tube, reduces the amount of waste caused by product
sticking to the pan.
Chicago Metallic’s second winner is a set of baking pans with
PermaClean Non-Stick Coating. This optional two-stage coating, available for most of the
company’s pans, lets you eliminate the use of oils,
parchment papers or nonstick silicon mats. And in the
process, you’ll have less food waste since baked goods are
no longer sticking to the pans. Coated pans are easier to
keep clean, and are safe for dishwasher and pot sink, as
long as you dry them thoroughly after washing.
On the food safety front, our judges were wowed by a new
product from Cooper-Atkins Corp. The Coolit-Rite
Thermometer monitors food as it cools, freeing your
employees to do other work in the meantime. An alarm sounds
when the food temperature drops below 41°F or the FDA’s
four-hour cooling time limit expires. The LCD displays the
final temp until cleared and counts up to show you how much
time has passed since the alarm sounding. The waterproof
thermometer has a temperature range of –4°F to 302°F
and a timer range of nearly seven hours.
We think the next item bears a resemblance to an oversized
crab claw, and we mean that in a good way. The SiliGlove
from DayMark is a large, red, three-lobed silicone
mitt designed for anyone working with rotisserie products. SiliGlove lets you safely remove cooked chickens from the
spit without damaging the product or your hands. The mitt,
which goes just about up to the elbow, includes a removable,
washable liner and together they allow you to handle foods
of up to 450°F.
Next up in the hand-protection category are FormFlex
Nitrile Gloves submitted by Food Handler. These
form-fitting cerulean gloves give you enhanced dexterity,
grip and fingertip sensitivity in a durable yet disposable
package. The gloves are resistant to animal fats, so they
won’t break after working with raw meats and shellfish. The
judges praised the gloves for their fit, color and ability
to stop cross-contamination.
“Clever!” and “Love the hanging scoop!” were just a few of
the compliments from our judging panel about
Commercial Products’ new
Bin System with Scoop. The bin features a
patent-pending scoop-hook system that lets you store the
scoop inside the bin without it touching the product. And
with the scoop dangling just beneath the lid, you won’t
waste time hunting for one the right size. Clear lid covers
let you I.D. bin contents at a glance, while a clasp keeps
the lid securely on the bin. Underneath, 3” casters let you
roll the bin to where it’s needed.
And finally, there were the Short-Handled Ladles from
Vollrath Co. “They’re strong and nice enough for
front-of-house if necessary,” commented one operator judge.
These compact 6” ladles are designed to provide easy access
in tight spaces, where the usual long handles would be
awkward or messy. The ladles feature one-piece construction,
a limited lifetime warranty and bowl capacities clearly
stamped in both ounces and milliliters. The handles come in
stainless or with a black Kool-Touch coating. Choose from
seven bowl sizes ranging from 1 oz. to 6 oz.
By the end of a busy day, portioning scales sometimes look
like they’ve been through a war. Wouldn’t it be nice to just
toss your scale into the dishwasher? Well, now you can,
thanks the introduction of the HLWP Waterproof Digital
Scale by A&D Weighing. Our judges saw this scale
get submerged in a bucket of water and continue to work just
fine. The HLWP features a stainless steel, waterproof,
dustproof casing, making it ideal for any wash-down
environment. The HL-3000WP can be powered by battery or
A duo of entries arrived from Amco Smallwares. First,
the Garlic Press and Slicer, which does double-garlic
duty. Place the clove in one chamber, press, and voila:
eight perfect slices. Use the other chamber for garlic
crushing. And on the avocado-slicing front, Amco presents
the Avocado Slicer & Pitter that does exactly what its
name implies. The nylon loop on one end dislodges the pit,
while the wire end slices and scoops the fruit. Both are
Judges perused another handy service idea from Cambro Mfg.
Co.: the Camliter Pour Spout Lid. The container’s
raised-notch lid pours smoothly while keeping the contents
covered to reduce the risk of contamination. The snap-fit
design holds the lid firmly in place and makes the unit
ideal for juice and wine in buffet settings, or for
restaurant table service. Also from Cambro are the
easy-grasp, angled Lugano Tongs. The one-piece tongs
are heat-resistant up to 300[deg]F and come in black, beige,
white or clear with a 2-yr. warranty.
makes it easier to monitor refrigerator and freezer temps
with the Audio/Visual
A 39” probe attachment lets you check the temperature
without opening the door. The freezer alarm goes off when
the temp rises above 15°F, while the refrigerator alarm
activates at 45°F and above. Great for peace of mind on
the food safety front.
A microfiber mop head with washable refills is
the star of the
Touchless Microtek Cleaning System from Continental
Commercial Products. This lightweight, touch-free system
lets you change mop heads using an automatic discharge frame
attached to a separate discharge bucket, so you eliminate
the need for contact with dirty or contaminated mops. Each Microfiber refill can clean up to 400 sq. ft. before needing
laundering. The system’s bright yellow buckets fit most
It’s a pen! It’s a thermometer! It’s both!
ballpoint pen and bi-metal thermometer design means your
chefs will never be at a loss for a quick temperature check
or jotting a note. The dial thermometer is stored alongside
the pen shaft. A handy recalibration wrench attached to the
top guarantees accurate readings. Chefs can measure
temperatures and document them with the same tool.
Cuisipro/Browne Halco submitted a rainbow of tongs—the
Stainless Steel Locking Tongs with Silicone Ends, to
be precise. These tools combine strength with nonstick
pan-friendly “gripability”; the silicone ends tolerate temps
up to 575[deg]F. A locking mechanism keeps the tongs closed
for storage. Available in 9½”, 12” and 16” lengths and in
five colors: yellow, red, blue, black and orange. Also from
Browne-Halco: a complete line of induction-ready Thermalloy
18/10 Stainless Cookware, featuring heavy-duty
construction, stay-cool hollow handles and a 6mm aluminum
bottom for good heat conduction.
What with knives, cutting machines, fire and hot
surfaces, kitchens can be hazardous to one’s health. Which
is where the First Aid Program from DayMark Safety
Systems comes in. This all-in-one, wall-mounted first-aid
cabinet is stocked with a full compliment of OSHA-compliant
supplies, including bandages, burn cream, first aid tape and
more. Best of all, the kit’s at-a-glance monitoring system
makes it easy for you to keep it refilled. DayMark also sent
in the elbow-length SteamGlove, whose sturdy
watertight material protects against temps of up to
225°F. Its SureGrip fabric reduces slippage without
TacTix Gloves by FoodHandler are
soft, pliable and durable—everything you’ve always wanted in
a disposable glove. Their form-fitting design provides the
fingertip sensitivity required to do delicate culinary
tasks. And the nicer “hand-feel” and performance mean that
your employees are more likely to use the gloves, and less
likely to become a vector in food-borne illness.
A “cutting edge” entry from FreshMarx/Paxar:
the EasyCut RSC box opener. This little gizmo ups the
safety factor of the common box cutter. Hanging on a
lanyard, the cutter features a blade that bends rather than
breaks (so no stray blade bits flying about the kitchen),
and a blade length adjustment so you don’t cut too deeply
into food boxes. FreshMarx also submitted a handy Food
Ingredient Labeler. The device lets your employees
legibly date-stamp and I.D. prepped food in a fraction of
the time it would take to hand-write and apply a label, says
the company. The gun prints the food name, date or time;
just dial in the correct info and fire away.
Hand smells, be gone! That’s the mantra chanted by fans of Zilo-Soap,
made by Frieling. This little
bar-shaped item is made of ridged plastic inset with a disc
of stainless steel alloy. The disc reacts with water and
oxygen to neutralize stubborn odor-causing molecules left by
garlic, fish, cheese and other ingredients. Available in six
colors, Zilo-Soap sports a lifetime guarantee.
“Versatile,” said a judge about the HotHandle
Handle Holder from Lamson & Goodnow. Eliminates the
need for chef’s towels, said another. The silicone cover
slides neatly over standard metal cookware handles, and is
sturdy enough to withstand temperatures up to
67°]F—making it ideal for pans just out of the broiler.
Choose from 6” or 5” lengths in gray, red or black.
Lincoln Foodservice Products/Enodis
submitted a pair of smallwares: the new Redco Wedgemaster
II and Optio Cookware. Tomatoes, citrus fruit,
onions and potatoes surely cower when faced with the Wedgemaster II, which can cut into six or eight wedges with
a single stroke of the blade. The sharp blades mean less
food waste, faster prep speed, no training required.
Meanwhile, the Optio Cookware line lets you choose from
several sizes of fry pans, stock and sauce pots, and domed
covers. Aluminum-clad bottoms spell quick, even heat
distribution, while 18/10 stainless construction spells
HACCP-approved color-coded knife handles made
their competition debut with four of Mundial’s
top-selling blades: the 8” cook’s knife, the 10”
serrated slicer, the 7” santoku and the 7” Granton-edge santoku. Each of these knives now comes with
handles in red, yellow, blue or green—perfect for avoiding
accidental knife-borne cross-contamination. The
polypropylene handles include built-in antimicrobial
Here’s the latest can-do can opener from Nemco.
CanPro Compact cuts along the side of the can so that
the lip stays intact and keeps the lid from falling into the
can. For you food safety mavens, know that the cutter never
touches can contents, and there are no metal shavings to
fall into food or jagged lid edges to handle. A locking
mechanism lets the device handle 10# cans easily. Choose
from permanent-mount or under-counter clamp-mount models.
Pelouze/Rubbermaid sent along an EasyWash
Portioning Scale. Once the housing has been removed the
scale mechanism can be placed in the dishwasher. Parts
remove easily with no tools. Scale features include a large
platform with drip rail and quick-tare rotating dial. Pelouze
also submitted its Food Prep Thermometer.
From Rubbermaid Commercial Products comes
a new line of stainless steel Preparation Tools,
including triangular-shaped Tri-Ladles that reach right into
pan corners; a handy slotted serving spoon with flat sides
that also let you cut and scrape; and a triangular-shaped
slotted portioning spoon.
San Jamar fielded an utterly and
completely thorough hand-washing device in the form of the
System. Kleen-Brush attaches to a gooseneck or pipe
faucet so it’s always available and won’t get lost. Swing
the brush in place beneath the water stream and it’ll help
you dislodge dirt and bacteria and send them down the drain.
Also from San Jamar: the Venue Napkin Dispenser,
whose higher napkin capacity, transparent cover and
one-at-a-time dispensing save you money; and the
battery-operated Tear-N-Dry Touchless Roll Towel Dispenser.
Here’s one for the simple-but-effective category:
The Squeeze Bottle Holder by Server Products
helps you keep the condiments and sauces in your squeeze
bottles colder longer. How? A simple wire rack topped by a
metal covering with two or three openings for the bottles.
The rack fits neatly inside a 1/6-size cold table pan. It’s
that metal covering keeping the bottles colder, in case you
were wondering. Keeps warm air out.
Tote ice in style with Traex/Libbey’s Safety Mate Ice Porter. This pale blue plastic
container features an easy-grip handle at the bottom, a
molded pour spout and a hook for hanging or drying. The
polyethylene tote holds nearly 6 gals. of ice, and is NSF
Ever try washing a brush-style baster? It’s hard
to get ’em 100% clean. Enter Snappy Baster, the
disposable pastry and basting brush by Tucel Industries.
The snap-on, snap-off brush heads are ideal for food prep
and ready-to-eat menu items. Choose from 2” low-heat or
high-heat brush heads in red, white or blues.
Go straight from storage to bar with Update Int’l.’s
Flow-N-Stow Pour Bottles. The three-piece
system starts with a wide mouth container plus lid for easy
storage. At showtime, simply unscrew the lid, screw on a
pour spout, and you’re ready to serve. Lids and spouts are
available in six colors. Choose from 1-qt. or 2-qt. sizes.
Also from Update: Pro-Grip Kitchen Tools, a line of
seven time-saving gadgets including a melon-baler, cheese
plane, grater, kitchen shears and apple corer.
More nifty spoons from Vollrath Co. in the
form of Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Basting Spoons.
Their durable 18-8 stainless steel shafts and bowls resist
corrosion or bending. The three-sided spoons include one
straight edge for cutting and serving food. Colorful
molded-plastic handles are ergonomically friendly.