Tracking the Cutting Edge
By: The Editors
Technologies from Canada, Denmark, England and Japan are spotlighted in this month's feature product gallery.
SECOND-GENERATION COMBIS DEBUT
At the Host Milan show in October Danish manufacturer Hounö launched its second generation of Visual Cooking combination ovens. The broad range of optionsthree different lines, eight oven sizes within each linemake it easy to specify the oven you need. A new design angles the front of the oven toward the user to make operation easier, and curved door glass offers better visibility than previous models. Meanwhile, the oven door has been made narrower to reduce its swivel radius. Features include CombiWash, a patented automatic cleaning system; ClimaOptima, an automatic humidity control system; and a multistep, reversible fan that ensures control over the cooking process. Hounö is part of the U.S.-based Middleby Corp.
BAKE YOUR PIZZA ON GRANITE
Ah, the beauty of granite: its sheen, its depth, its heat retention, its role in baking pizzas. Yes, you read that correctly. What better material for high-temperature, high-speed pizza baking than granite, an igneous rock formed eons ago from cooled magma? Canadian manufacturer Picard Ovens specializes in conveyor ovens equipped with granite roll belts, rectangles of granite linked together on a stainless steel platform. Pizzas bake directly on the granite surface, so no pans or screens are needed. The resulting crispy crust is the same as you'd achieve in a deck oven minus the manpower needed to monitor the pizzas. The granite maintains a constant heat level, giving you faster baking while saving as much as 50% in energy costs compared to traditional deck ovens, the company says. Picard's top-selling oven, which debuted in mid-2006, features a 32"-wide belt that produces up to 135 pies per hour. A slimmer, stackable model features a 20"-wide belt and makes 120 pizzas per hour.
BANQUET TROLLEY RUNS COLD, THEN HOT
Chillogen is a versatile banquet trolley that will quick-chill, refrigerate, rethermalize and then hold pre-plated food all in one unit. To use the Chillogen, your chef loads pre-plated meals into the trolley and selects the quick-chill mode. When the food reaches the appropriate temperature, the trolley can be unplugged, moved to its final serving location and plugged in again. The trolley safely holds food in cold mode until a pre-determined time, at which point it transforms into a hot unit that brings food to serving temperatures in about an hour. The Chillogen can be plugged in anywhere, requiring only two standard power sockets. The trolley holds up to 90 10" plates (with covers) on 15 shelves, and won the 2006 Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Foodservice Consultants Society Int'l. Although Chillogen trolleys are not currently available in North America, the company is seeking U.S. partners.
JAPANESE FRYER FEELS THE PULSE
Japanese manufacturer Paloma has developed a fast, efficient fryer for high-volume operators. The Pulse Combustion Gas Fryer's speedy secret lies in its unique pulse combustion heat exchanger technology. Gas enters the chamber at the front of the fry vat where it's ignited. The resulting combustion gases flow into a tube running through the fry vat, transferring heat directly to the oil. The 50-lb. fryer takes about 10 mins. to heat the oil to 350°F from room temperature. In efficiency tests conducted by the Food Service Technology Center, San Ramon, Calif., the fryer repeatedly cooked 3-lb. loads of French fries in just over 2 mins, with an average 18-sec. recovery time between batches. On the gas consumption front, the Combustion fryer is rated at 70,000 Btu/hr. and its idle energy rate at 350°F is 3,420 Btu/hr., says Paloma. The company is currently looking for U.S. distribution partners.