We continue our NRA Show coverage with an in-depth look at the 19 products that received honors in year's Kitchen Innovations program. Products are shown in alphabetical order, and next month we'll bring you another batch of new items we saw dur-ing the May restaurant show.
Spotlight on Kitchen Innovations
FRYER EFFICIENCY LEAPS AHEAD
A design that increases the surface area of the heat exchanger and an enclosed forced-air modulating burner both help the Fry-Tech ASF-75G achieve an efficiency rating of 71%. That rating, confirmed by testing at the PG&E Food Service Technology Cen-ter of San Ramon, Calif., makes the ASF-75G the most efficient gas fryer in its class. Features on the 73-lb. model include a Btu input rating of 120,000, a frying area of 15" x 22" , built-in controls for igni-tion and flame rectification, solid-state dual controls with programmable memory and manual operation, and a mobile trolley for oil disposal. The unit is ETL listed and comes with a 7-yr. limited fry tank warranty. The ASF-75G fryer's energy report is available at the FSTC Web site in the Report List: www.fishnick.com/publications/reportlist/fryers
SMOKING TIPS FOR A COMBI OVEN
Say you'e got the space for one oven in your kitchen but you actually need both a combi oven-steamer and a smoker. No worries: the Combitherm Smoker's got you covered. This boilerless, counter-top unit uses patented smoker technology that al-lows you to smoke hot or cold and then revert to standard cooking, all without flavor transfer or re-sidual smoke. Models are available in gas or elec-tric, and all come with Alto-Shaam's EcoSmart technology for reduced energy and water usage. Standard features include an automatic steam vent-ing system, which allows steam to vent before the cooking time expires to protect the user from burns when opening the door. Other features include a control panel with a 7[deg] angle slant toward the oven itself so the panel is out of the way when add-ing or removing pans. HACCP documentation software and a recessed door that slides back and out of the way are both options.
SMART CHILLER ADJUSTS ON ITS OWN
ChillStar's Intelligent Food Recognition technology won the KI judges' hearts for its ability to automati-cally adjust blast chilling cycles. Relying on a multi-sensor probe, the unit monitors temps in the core and at the surface of food to prevent surface freezing. ChillStar's chilling and freezing units of-fer one-piece construction with coved internal cor-ners, CFC-free expanded polyurethane insulation, a hinged fan cover for easy access, and a diamond-polished inner floor for good hygiene. Units accept 18" x 26" x 2½" pans and offers a full complement of digital controls. All controls and parts are acces-sible from the front of the cabinet.
DECOMPOSE YOUR WAY TO WASTE REDUCTION
The Action-Comax BioX uses a two-stage biologi-cal process to entirely eliminate organic waste. Wastes are first broken down through biological decomposition by an environmentally responsible process that results in all solid materials being con-verted to liquids. Any waste remaining after de-composition is dissolved in water that is added to the machine by a computer-controlled device, and this liquid is then easily disposed of by drain. The decomposition phase of this process leaves the waste liquid extremely low in organic material when compared with other types of disposal ma-chines, making it suitable for use everywhere.
Bio Hi Tech America LLC
HALF-SIZER MAKES CLEANING A SNAP
Blodgett/Middleby rolled into the KI Pavilion with the new half-size XCEL-50E. Calling it the first "self-cleaning" electric convection oven, Blodgett says that various new featuresan easily removable bi-directional blower wheel and baffle, welded stainless liner with large coved corners, protected gasketscan dramatically reduce cleaning time. Other features include a more efficient heat exchanger to save more energy than previous Blodgett models, an adjustable multiple-speed motor, a steam-assist feature, a wash-down hose and drain. You also get a fully welded angle-iron frame; stainless front, top and sides; and dual-pane glass windows.
IT DRIES AND SHINES SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO
Attention, hotel and banqueting managers: If your staff's drying and polishing thousands of pieces of cutlery every week, you should think about ways to automate the process. Campus Products has done just that, and come up with the Silvershine Cutlery Drying Machine. The CDM dried, polishes andin a nifty final touchsanitizes as many as 12,000 pieces/hr. Cutlery agitates through 170°F polishing granulatemade of corn coband at the end the pieces are exposed to a UV-C germicidal light. Your staffers drop wet cutlery into a wide-mouth hoper and the machine does the rest. The CDM's footprint is 25" W x 31" D; power comes from a ½-hp motor.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY OVEN
Big things in small packages: That's the story with the Convotherm Mini-Combi Oven Steamer, the smallest and newest entry to the now 29-unit Con-votherm product line. The Miniwhich was launched in Europe last year and will be available for purchase in the United States in fall 2007lets you manage small batch cooking with the same quality you'd get from a full-size oven. The Mini's petite dimensions (20" W x 25½" D x 28" H) allow you to tuck the unit just about anywhere. (It can also be stacked.) It holds five half-size sheet pans or six two-thirds-size pans. Like its big brother Con-votherm ovens, the Mini features a built-in Ad-vanced Closed System that automatically maintains humidity levels based on the type of food being prepared, and a Crisp & Tasty feature that preserves food's moisture while delivering crispy, evenly browned exteriors.
Convotherm by Cleveland/Enodis
A-CHILLIN' (AND A-THAWIN' AND A-FREEZIN') DOWN UNDER
To borrow a line from late-night TV, Delfield's new Versa Drawer gives you "four, four, FOUR things in one!" Each drawer in this undercounter refrigeration unit can operate as a refrigerator, freezer, chiller or thawing cabinetindependent of the other drawersthrough simple touch-screen controls. The unit is NAFEM Data Protocol ready, allowing you to record HACCP temps or link the system to your PC-based equipment tracker. And Versa Drawer is energy efficient, using 1.5kWh per two drawers in refrigerator mode, and 4kWh in freezer modea fact that's earned it a CEC listing. Versa's full-extension drawers hold two 12" x 20" x 6" pans or any combination of fractionals. Choose from 2- or 4-drawer models.
SATURATE WITH STEAM, COOK FASTER
The Pressure Braising Pan drew attention for its ap-proach of cooking under the pressure of saturated steam instead of water. Relying on a tightly sealed cooking compartment, the process reduces cooking time and energy costs, says Electrolux, and lets you cook without stirring or worrying about burning the product. Meanwhile, the relatively pure water vapor utilized in the braising process prevents the transfer of tastes and makes it possible to cook several com-ponents of a meal in the same load simultaneously. The Pressure Braising Pan is available in gas or electric and in 16-, 24-, 26- and 40-gal. sizes. Plus, an electronic microprocessor control system offers digital pre-selection of cooking times and temps and start times.
Electrolux Professional North America
SLICER REDESIGNS FROM THE GROUND UP
This KI winner, the 3000 Series, comes with a slew of new safety, consistency and cleaning features. For example, Hobart made the cutting plane more upright on this model, placing it at a 50° angle for easier operation. The slicer also "remembers" the width of the item being sliced and shortens passes accordingly. The Enduralube carriage rail system ensures the car-riage stays lubricated and easy to slide, which Hobart says leads to less operator fatigue. And as for safe cleaning, the space between the blade and motor housing is larger and more accessible, while a new, removable ring guard cover removes the blade while it's still enclosed in the guard. You can wash the bladewhich is never exposedin a sink or ware-washer. An indicator light tells your employees when it's time to sharpen the blade, but there's no exposure to the blade during the sharpening process.
A PIZZA IN FIVE, FOUR, THREE...
Design upgrades to FastBake oven technology have reduced cook times 15% to 30% compared to earlier Impingement ovens, says Lincoln. FastBake engineers refined the Impinger approach of cooking with "finger" jets of convected air. Heat flows out through a combination of X- and O-shaped holes in the finger panels, which allow higher volumes of hot air to penetrate the product more efficiently. In addition, you get Lincoln's "bake profile" feature, which starts the cook cycle with higher heat and air velocity, eases off in the middle, and finishes with a sustained heat for browning and caramelizing. The FastBake is available as the 1400 Series, which can be stacked two units high, or the low-profile 1600 Series, which stacks three high. All come with a 32" belt and a 40" cook chamber.
Lincoln Foodservice Products/Enodis
DEFROST ONLY WHEN YOU NEED TO
Master-Bilt's patented Reverse Cycle Defrost process reverses the direction of refrigerant flow during de-frost. When the controller determines a defrost is needed, the reverse cycle valve kicks in and the high-temp refrigerant flows back through the evaporator coil, heating it along its entire length and eliminating frost buildup. (On traditional defrost systems, only a portion of the coil is heated by traditional heaters, leaving ice deposits that can weaken the evaporator's performance.) Reverse cycle technology uses less en-ergy than electric defrost heaters, says Master-Bilt, and eliminates not only the need for defrost heaters, but also head pressure control valves, check valves and expansion valves at the condenser. Removing these components reduces the cost of the evaporator itself and saves on installation and wiring. Reverse cycle performs a complete defrost in 3 to 5 mins.
RECOVER HEAT, SAVE ENERY
We all know that warewashers generate a lot of steamy ambient heat. Meiko's found a way to capture that waste heat and reuse it. After about 20 to 30 mins. of operation, this award-winning recovery sys-tem captures the hot air that's usually vented and presses it back into duty heating incoming rinse wa-ter. What this means, ultimately, is that you can get away with cooler incoming water and a smaller booster heater, lowering your energy costs. Meiko incorporates the Waste Air Heat Recovery System as a standard feature on its K-Tronic Series rack con-veyors and as an option on the B-US Series flight-types.
NOTHING LIKE A NICE WARM BATH
Chefs are developing a love affair with the concept of water rethermalization. Why? They can create their signature dishes, seasoned just so, bag 'em, freeze 'em and distribute them anytime and anywhere there's a gentle rethermalizer available. Pitco's Model SRTE electric and SRTG gas rethermalizing water baths bring prepackaged pouched foods back to temp (165°F to 190°F) gently and consistently. Rethermal-izers come with a variety of baskets, racks and han-dled racks called suitcases to hold pouches in place and increase bath capacity; up to 20% more than ear-lier models with 54% less energy consumption, says Pitco, thanks to the Solstice burner system. Units come with digital controllers with timers, a tank rack, automatic water fill, drain valve interlock and com-mon drain outlet. Double tank-units available.
A SHOT OF FLAME, BURNERS ARE CLEAN
Clean burners are key to efficient fryer operation, and Pitco's developed a way to keep its Solstice Supreme Fryer burners super clean everyday with no labor. With the push of a button, a pilot is ignited and begins a 30-sec. self-cleaning process. A flame shoots through the burners, burning off all the airborne lint, breading, flour and other contaminants that can clog. It's quick, and because it happens every day, the burners operate at peak performance levels, saving you energy costs over the long term. An automatic safety shut off, called the Down Draft Protection, kicks in if temperatures get too hot (like when some-one stacks something on the exhaust flue& ). You can retrofit any existing Pitco Solstice fryer with the self-cleaning burner.
FROM FRIDGE TO FREEZER, AND BACK AGAIN
Cold storagewhere and when you need itis what you'll find with Randell's new FX Series drawer with FlexiCold. Drawers operate independ-ently, letting you switch from refrigerator to freezer, or anywhere in between. You can also use it as a batch rapid chiller for dropping food temps to below 40[deg]F in less than 4 hrs. The secret lies in the drawer lids, which provide direct cooling thanks to built-in evaporator coils. When you open the drawer, the lid stays in the machine; close it, and the lid reseals. Since the refrigeration system only oper-ates when the drawer is closed, you're saving energythe unit sips only 1.2 kW/day in refrigeration mode, Randell saysand with no fan blowing while the drawer is open, ambient air stays out. En-ergy Star approved.
HIT NAILS HEAD ON
Employees not washing under their nails? San Jamar comes to the rescue with its Kleen-Brush System. Kleen-Brush attaches to any gooseneck faucet and positions the nail brush right where it's needed so that employees can scrub their nails under running water. The brush rotates to let folks scrub right and left hands and then, by letting the brush sit under the run-ning water, it self-cleans after every use. After that, the Kleen-Brush pivots up and out of the way of the running water for the next hand washer. The brush holder accepts most leading nail brush brands. Just pop the brushes out occasionally for deep cleaning.
THE EINSTEIN OF CUBERS
Meet a very smart ice machine. Introduced last Au-gust, the Prodigy from Scotsman Ice/Enodis not only helps maintain itself, it also saves electricity and water, says the company. For starters, Prodigy's self-monitoring system gives you up-to-the-minute reporting on performance and maintenance needs. Prodigy's SmartBoard streamlines preventative maintenance and repairs using a diagnostic code display that allows technicians to more quickly pinpoint operating issues. And Prodigy is energy efficient, too: The 300 lb.-capacity model, for example, exceeds the 2008 California Energy Com-mission and 2010 Federal Energy Efficiency regulations by about 20%, the company tells us. It also includes a knob that lets you adjust the amount of ice generation to match demand levels. Choose from 10 models with ice-making capacities ranging from 360 lbs./day to more than 2,200 lbs./day.
Scotsman Ice Systems/Enodis
STEAM HOTTER, FASTER
Vulcan's PowerSteam C24GA uses a tube-in-tube design to create steam at a consistent 235°F. You can cook a head of broccoli to perfection in 2½ mins., says Vulcan, and you can do it over and over thanks to a new design in the generator tank. Most steamer tanks feature a fast water fill at the bottom. Sensors up the side of the tank will tell the unit to replenish the water supply as needed. But that cold incoming water takes time to heat up and recover to tempera-ture. Vulcan's unit features the traditional fast fill, but it also includes a slow fill at the top of the tank. As soon as the top sensor is triggered, the slow fill brings the water supply back up without causing a drastic fluctuation in the heating cycle. The result is constant, 235°F steam with no recovery time. The PowerSteam features two cooking compartments with 6- or 10-pan capacities and separate, manual controls.