13 ITEMS TO REVIEW AGAIN
By: The Editors
Take another look at more of the innovative, smartly designed equipment items we saw in 2007.
Kitchen equipment is the core of your business, and ours. If you've been reading this magazine for awhile, you know the professional lives of our editors revolve around finding new, innovative products worthy of national attention. Each year we attend trade shows around the globe looking for new-think technologies and energy-saving potential, and last year was a terrific year for both.
Thanks in part to the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and The NAFEM Show, 2007 delivered a host of new items everyone should have seen at least one, if not at a show, then in our magazine pages. But greater recognition goes to the forward-thinking companies whose R&D investment led them to introduce innovative equipment last year. It's one thing to talk about energy efficiency and environmentally responsible design, and another to put development dollars behind the talk.
The 13 products here are items we think are worthy of a second look. These items, listed in alphabetical order by company, were things we saw at shows and wrote up in our magazine pages throughout the year. They caught our at-tention for many reasons, including making a specific job easier or safer, using less energy than previous models, or using a newly released or improved technology.
While you're reviewing these developments, consider what's ahead. With the calls for energy efficiency, workplace and food safety, and environmental responsibility escalating, we expect significant equipment introductions will become the norm at every show. As we head in that direction, your FER editors will keep hitting the tradeshow circuit to find and bring you the best of what's new and effective for commercial kitchens.
VENTILATION: A PACKAGE DEAL
Wouldn't it be nice if, when installing your new restaurant's HVAC system, you could make but a single opening in the roof, install a single unit and be done with it? This would save time, money and the headaches of achieving proper indoor air balance. With Accurex, it's now possible. The ventilation company, a division of Greenheck, last fall debuted the XVPR, a one-box unit that can pull in anywhere from 50% to 100% of dedicated make-up air and still maintain comfort. The XVPR uses six-row DX cooling coils to remove moisture, and a modulating hot gas refrig-erant valve to add heat as needed. This unit is available in sizes ranging from five to 40 tons of cooling, 75 to 800 mbh of heating input and air volumes of up to 12,000 cfm. Filtration options include MERV 11 or MERV 13. And for easy installation these units offer through-the-curb gas and electric connections.
PASTEURIZE EGGS FOR SAFETY'S SAKE
Sure, you'd like to serve pasteurized eggs, but at about 5 cents an egg extra to buy them that way, it's a pricey food safety measure. Now you can pasteurize eggs in house, and cook 'em to 14 levels of doneness (including soft, medium, hard, Asian style and more) with this all-water/steam proc-ess. The Pollux 60-egg countertop or 360-egg institutional-size units pasteurize eggs to a level 100 times greater than required by the FDA, and the whites of Pollux pasteurized eggs whip up just like raw eggs, says Bettcher. Now you can safely create myriad recipes calling for raw eggs such as mayonnaise, sauces, dressings, pastries, mousses and egg-fortified beverages. Serve up eggs over easy with no worries. Pollux is ideal for chains and noncommercial fa-cilities with compromised-health populations.
ALL FILTERING, ALL THE TIME
A fryer that constantly filters your oil "as you fry" came to market last spring. Conotech's continuous filter fryer system promises to increase shortening life, shorten cook-times, improve food quality, allow you to cook multi-ple menu items in the same fryer with no taste transfer, and simplify fryer cleaning, the company says. The filter system is simple: Shortening flows through a stainless mesh filter inside the fry vat, through the filter pump, and back into the fry vat. The cycle repeats continuously. Constant filtration keeps sediment and food particles away from the heat tubes, which in turn reduces carbonization of the oil. The filters can be run through the dish machine once or twice daily, as needed. Choose from 14" or 18" vats, holding 40 lbs. and 70 lbs. of shortening, respectively, in gas or electric.
MOVE YOUR WATER INTO THE O-ZONE
Ozonated water kills bacteria, germs, viruses and other mi-crobes many times more effectively than chlorine bleach. A California company has harnessed this naturally occurring element to boost food safety and reduce chemical use for foodservice operators. The Element Ozone Generator, released last month, is a compact wall-mounted unit that ozonates tap water. Ozonated watergenerated when oxygen (O2) is charged with electricity and converted to ozone (O3)is a highly effective, food-grade antimicrobial agent, approved by the FDA for direct food-contact applications. And since the ozone converts back to ordinary oxygen after a few minutes, there are no chemical residuals to deal with. The Element features a motion sensor that dispenses a 20-sec. flow for hand washing or a continuous flow for disinfecting food or kitchen surfaces.
UNDERCOUNTER FOG PATROL
Fat-, oil- and grease-induced blockages in your water lines call for messy, pricey repairs, and installing external grease traps to meet local FOG regs is no fun either. One way to stop blockages before they start is to install a Goslyn FOG recovery device. This nifty oil collection box, which debuted in the United States last summer after five years of use in the United Kingdom, can be hooked up to the drain lines under your sinks, warewasher, combi oven or steamer. First, the strainer traps solid waste. Next, water (heavier) and oil (lighter) are separated using a system of baffles, weirs and hydrostatic pressure. The trapped greasesome 99% of it, says the companyflows into a see-through container that you empty into your waste-oil bin, while the virtually FOG-free water flows cleanly into the sewer. Since there are no moving parts to monitor or a motor to switch on or off, the unit is always working. All you do is install it and empty the strainer and oil-collection container when they are full.
A COMBI RETHINK
Take everything you know about the benefits of combina-tion oven-steamersthe convection, steam and combina-tion modes, the reduced shrinkage, the food quality, etc.and add this: last May Hobart jumped into the market with both feet. Not content to roll out a me-too model, Hobart has gone to some lengths to differentiate its Combi-Oven with combinations of features, including boilerless steam that simplifies maintenance. A 4-speed, auto-reversing fan provides even results without turning pans. Phase cooking lets you program sequences of steam, convection and both. Controlled humidity is just exactly that, from 0% to 100%. An electronic fan brake stops the fan when you open the door. A delta-T program adjusts cavity temperature based on internal food temp to optimize cooking while minimizing shrinkage. When the oven reaches your set temp, it Hobart Combi automatically switches to half-power without affecting cooking times or temps, and super-insulation properties ensure that heat is directed inside the oven, sav-ing energy and money.
Defrosting "just for the heck of it" (i.e., because the timer says to) costs you money, time and temperature fluctuations in your refrigerated boxes. Which is why the idea of a smart defrosterone that knows when a defrost cycle is actually neededmakes so much sense. InterLink's Smart Defrost Kit, released last March, is a little black box that, once it has learned how your refrigerator works, is able to evaluate exactly how much frost has built up on the evapo-rator and then determines whether to allow a pre-scheduled defrost should take place. If the frost level is too low, the defrost cycle gets postponed. Skipping unnecessary defrosts saves money, and maintains more uniform refrigera-tion temperatures and product integrity. SDK is recommended for electric defrost commercial refrigeration sys-tems with three or more scheduled defrosts per day.
InterLink/Heatcraft Refrigeration Products
NEW STEAMER IN A CATEGORY OF ONE
Building on the strengths of its Energy Star-rated Eco-Tech water-saving steamers, Market Forge has now one-upped itself with its 5- and 10-pan Eco-Tech Plus. The buzz? The Plus, offered in gas and electric models, comes with brag-ging rights as the first atmospheric steamer with a self-contained water filtration system and also boasts an indicator that tells you when to change the cartridges. No more confusion about where to put the filter or when to change it. And if that innovation isn't enough, Eco-Tech Plus also gives you a steam-on-demand feature as well as a steam-and-hold mode. And as with all Eco-Techs, the Plus uses a unique closed-loop design that drastically reduces the amount of water needed, resulting in huge savings of water and energy both. The 10-pan unit, for example, sips just about 14 gals./hr., as opposed to a conventional unit's 100-plus gals./hr., says Market Forge. Each 5-pan compartment gets its own independently controlled generator rated at 42,000 Btu/hr. or 10kW.
Market Forge Industries
PIZZA IN 90 SECONDS FLAT
Here's some technology that's so hot it stopped us in our tracks at the May NRA Show. The Mithiko WonderChef Oven lets you cook Italian pizza to crispy, bubbly perfec-tion in less than 2 mins. with no hood required. This coun-tertop unit fires up to 840°F in about 10 mins. Inside is a special cylinder made of 316 surgical steel (the usual 304 s/s can't handle such high temperatures). The oven uses super-heated convected air supplied by two electric ele-ments and two fans to do all the baking. You build your pizza on a pan, place it in the pizza cylinder inside the pre-heated oven, and take it out after 90 secs. The oven weighs 98 lbs. and measures 24" W x 22" D x 23" H. Mithiko's WonderChef oven is ideal for bars and restaurants that want to offer traditional Italian pizza with a minimum of extra equipment.
ONE DISPENSER, TWO TYPES OF ICE
At last, a way to offer your customers two ice options at the self-serve beverage dispenser. Servend introduces the SV-200 Selectable Ice/Beverage Dispenser for delivery of ei-ther cubed or crushed ice. This selectable feature, which Servend calls icepic, can crush ice on demand using a built-in crusher or deliver the cubes as requested. The SV-200 provides as many as 10 beverage valves, and a Flex mani-fold makes it easy to change from carbonated to noncar-bonated flavors in minutes. Storage for 200 lbs. of ice is standard. Servend's patented rocking chute ice dispenser technology is included.
A HIGH FIVE FOR 'HIGH h'
New from speed-oven maker TurboChef is the company's first conveyor oven, dubbed the "High h." The High h cooks up to 40% faster than traditional conveyor ovens, the company says, thanks to improved air handling and a better jet design. Instead of individual jet "fingers" to direct hot air into product, the High h uses two independently operated "mono-fingers"jet plates with multiple air nozzlesone positioned above the belt and the other, below. You adjust air speed (and cook time) for each jet with a digitally controlled dialno tools required. And the High h is com-pact. The HhC3240 model, available in early 2008, features a 32"-wide belt and a 40"-long cook chamber, with throughput comparable to 70"-long conveyors. A counter-top model, with a 20"-wide belt and 20"-long cook chamber, is in development.
FREE HEAT, GET YOUR FREE HEAT
Wherever you've got refrigeration or air conditioning equipment, you've got heat being generated and, usually, dissipated into the air. A company called Turbotec can help you capture that waste heat to preheat water for your hot water tank. The compact heat exchanger, called Enviro-Pak, is designed to be used with light commercial air condi-tioning systems or refrigeration systems in the 1.5- to 5-ton range. It works by sending hot refrigerant vapor through the center of a coaxial heat exchanger (a tube within a tube) and then on to the condenser. Cold water flowing in the op-posite direction through the outer tube of the coaxial picks up the heat, then continues on to the hot water tank. Pay-back is estimated at about two years for restaurants. The product debuted in January.
Turbotec/National Energy Systems
STONE HEARTH COMES TO COUNTERTOP
Yes, finally you can get the visual appeal of flame along with the unmistakable cooking quality of a stone hearth on your countertop! Wood Stone's new Vashon Stone Hearth Countertop Oven offers a fully sealed chamber with live flame and electric/gas cooking, and it is sized to fit almost anywhere with a compact 30" x 27" footprint and 32" in height. Inside, the ceramic cooking surface is 19½" x 14½" and can be used to prepare fresh or frozen pizzas, hot sandwiches, appetizers and more. The Vashon heats up quickly and offers programmable controls. Pizza capacity is two 8" or 10" pies or one 12" or 14" pie.
Wood Stone Corp.