Foodservice Equipment Reports

SPECIAL REPORT: Supplies Review 2011

Before cooking and after, you need a host of tools for prep and a variety of ways to serve and display your menu items. And you’re always looking for the next, better solution, whether something looks better, cuts labor, improves safety, whatever.

So this year we went back to the What’s Hot! What’s Cool! program organized by the Chicago-based North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers for our annual review of the coolest new supplies. All of the products you’ll see here were featured in the WHWC pavilion at February’s NAFEM Show in Orlando, Fla., and were vetted by NAFEM staffers.

Among the 110+ items in this year’s WHWC group, we found 20 that fit our definition of a smallware or tabletop/servingware item. We define products in this category as hand tools used for prep and all types of items used to serve and display food and beverages. This can include battery-powered items, such as thermometers, but nothing that plugs in.

While NAFEM included a “smallwares” category again this year, and that was our starting point, we found some items in it that were, for our purposes, really light equipment and technology-oriented products, so we steered away from those. And in other categories, we found items that fit our definition of smallwares. (Manufacturers follow a self-selection process when categorizing their products, says NAFEM, and some items inexplicably end up in categories not best suited for them.)

So we merged and purged for the collection you see here.

At any rate, once we had assembled these 20 items, we took a good look at them and spotted a few trends. Several types of displayware, for example, feature really bold shapes and color combinations. Cookware and servingware products tend to be moving toward higher strength resulting from some new manufacturing approaches. And several thermometers up the ante on sensitivity and durability.

How Were Products Assembled?

As in 2009, the first year of the What’s Hot! What’s Cool! program, NAFEM planners wanted the pavilion to spotlight key product innovations, since NAFEM Show attendees typically are looking for the newest and most interesting items.

More specifically, the WHWC pavilion continued its mission this year of highlighting products that offer energy and labor efficiency, operational cost savings and aesthetic benefits. All exhibitors were invited to submit applications several months before the show, and NAFEM staffers evaluated each product’s ability to match its claims. No submission fee was required. Products were divided into five categories, but as we mentioned, we looked only for smallwares and tabletop/servingware items regardless of their category.

So read on for a look at what these new products can do for you. We’ve run them alphabetically by suppler name. And stay tuned for the next crop of WHWC products, which will make their debut at the next NAFEM Show, scheduled for Feb. 7-9, 2013.


With Ascent3 from American Metalcraft you can create striking displays with one-of-a-kind pieces. Each three-tiered, stainless hammered stand is individually crafted with a ball-peen hammer so no two are alike. Standing 20” tall, the Ascent3 display can be used as a focal point for receptions, buffets and cocktail hours. Full diameter is 23”. The stand easily disassembles for cleaning and storage.

American Metalcraft  | 800/333-9133  |


Bon Chef has introduced its Classic Country French Collection of cook- and displayware. Construction is durable with an exterior layer of induction-ready stainless plus layers of aluminum and more stainless underneath. Six enameled colors—red, lime, yellow, orange, cobalt blue and black—make the collection useful for eye-catching front-of-house presentations. Pieces in the collection can be used in steam tables and refrigerated wells as well as on induction tops. Options include various pots with covers and a round casserole. Also available: inserts to turn your pot into a double boiler and lid holders to hold the lid behind the pot for presentation.

Bon Chef  | 800/331-0177 |


Browne’s Thermalloy Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Fry Pans combine commercial performance with high-style retail looks for front-of-house applications. Construction is two outer layers of stainless bonded to a middle aluminum layer. The stainless layers are durable and easy to clean, while the aluminum layer provides even heat transfer. The polished, hollow-cast handle minimizes heat transfer and offers durability with three rivets in a triangular pattern to secure it to the pan. The fry pans can be used on all common heat sources, including induction, gas, electric, ceramic and halogen. The NSF-listed pans come in a variety of sizes and carry a limited lifetime warranty.

Browne-Halco | 888/289-1005 |


Cal-Mil has created Chafer Alternative, a new look for chafers that provides durability and long life with a completely new style. The Chafer Alternative features an interior fuel cell channel for Sterno pots, and the channel is walled to act as a wind guard when the chafer is used outdoors. The unit comes in two sizes, 12”W x 12”D or 22”W x 12”D, and features a standard grate-style top. The larger unit can be purchased with an optional griddle top. Cal-Mil says the higher visibility of food on these units leads to faster turnover and fresher food selection.

Cal-Mil | 800/321-9069 |


From Cardinal comes a new line of dinnerware using Zenix material, a combination of select pure minerals fired at high temperatures. The process produces scratch resistance and material that’s four times more resistant to chipping than other types of dinnerware, says Cardinal. Two patterns are available in the collection: Intensity, an eight-piece collection for traditional settings, and Tendency, a seven-piece collection for more contemporary dining rooms. Both collections pair well with the Arcoroc Daring line of cups, saucers and accessories.

Cardinal Int’l. | 973/628-0900 |


Modular Displayware from Carlisle offers a flexible and appealing way to merchandise prepared food. Available in black and clear, the displayware includes third, half and half-long wave-shaped pans with depths of 2½”, 4” and 6”. Covers for each size pan are also available. These multi-functional items help you enhance food presentations at quick-service sandwich shops, supermarket delis and contract catering outlets. Pieces are safe for temps from -40°F to 212°F. Displayware also is dishwasher safe and NSF listed.

Carlisle FoodService Products | 800/654-8210 |


Comark presents a waterproof digital thermometer designed to replace thermocouples. The slim-profile PDQ400 can be calibrated in the field, and its thin tip reads temps in less than 6 secs. with an accuracy of +/-1°F across a measurement range of -4ºF to 400ºF. The PDQ400 features a Max hold feature for testing commercial dishwasher cycles, BioCote antimicrobial protection and a 5-yr. warranty. You also get a data hold feature to freeze a reading. Thermometer is NSF approved and can be calibrated in the field.

Comark Instruments | 800/555-6658 |


The new ProAccurate Quick-Read Thin Tip Thermometer comes with a full set of features, including an accurate, 1.5-mm slim tip that measures the internal temps of food with minimal impact to the product and a recalibration feature that ensures high accuracy. You get readings within 6 secs. in a temp range of -40°F to 450°F, and the unit can measure food temps in the freezer or oven or on the range. The thermometer is resistant to high heat, features an ABS plastic handle and sheaf and relies on a 304 stainless stem.  Uses one LR44 button battery (included). NSF approved.

CDN/Component Design Northwest | 800/338-5594 |


From Cooper-Atkins comes the ColdStik stand-alone thermometer, a refrigerator/freezer food product simulator that’s designed to measure food temperatures rather than measure circulating air temps. The ColdStik contains a proprietary silicon-based gel that takes on refrigerated temperature exactly like food does. It simulates food product temperatures in changing ambient conditions and provides accurate product information to support your food safety program.

Cooper-Atkins | 800/835-5011 |


The Artist Series celebrates the appeal of natural foods by integrating organic shapes and colors. Designed by California ceramic artist Derek Voien, these visually stimulating pieces were cast by the artist and then alchemized into melamine displayware. All products are made of heavyweight melamine and are dishwasher safe as well as scratch and stain resistant. Options include square and rectangular platters and square and round bowls. Colors range from blues and earthy tones to reds and oranges.

Elite Global Solutions | 949/709-4872 |


The Santa Lucia Series features a hand-painted design on an ironstone background in a scalloped rectangular tray made of break-resistant melamine. Santa Lucia’s unique, artisanal design complements hearty, flavorful menu items. Choose from several shapes and sizes to create a custom display. Pieces are NSF approved and dishwasher safe.

G.E.T. Enterprises | 713/467-9394 |


You always need salt and pepper on the table, and Mr. Dudley peppermills, salt grinders and salt shakers have long been available in clear acrylic and matte black, natural and walnut finishes. Now a new feature has come to the grinders: a sonically welded base that provides a more secure method for enclosing the grinding mechanism. This new design feature creates a durable, longer-lasting mill that Gessner says outperforms traditional crossbar and screw grinder construction. Choose from multiple styles and sizes of mills, grinders and shakers.

Gessner | 800/874-7808 |


The Cold Concept from Gourmet Display locks in freshness and cold temps with its Prestige Porcelain Platter chilled by ice packs or crushed ice and capped by an acrylic dome with built-in handle. An optimal temperature of 40°F can be maintained for more than 2 hrs. The full concept with chilled pan and dome fits into a variety of multi-tiered metal stands. The Prestige platter measures 11½” W x 29¼”L.

Gourmet Display | 800/767-4711 |


Designed to accommodate oval serving griddles, the Silicone Underliners from Lodge offer a safe, durable alternative to wood underliners. Available in black and brown, the underliners offer reduced heat transfer, heat protection from a griddle as hot as 600°F, and nonslip properties that make griddles easy to handle. You also get embedded stainless plates for rigidity, and the underliners are dishwasher safe.

Lodge Mfg. | 423/837-7181 |


You know food allergy incidences have risen sharply in recent years and that products must be prepared separately for guests with allergies. To aid in the process, the NSF-listed Allergen Saf-T-Zone System and color-matched tools use attention-getting purple to alert staff to follow special food allergy procedures. Kit components include San Jamar’s purple 12" x 18" Saf-T-Grip cutting board plus 10" stainless chef’s knife with molded purple handle, 12" stainless tongs with nonslip purple coating on handle and high-temp purple nylon turner with stainless handle and heat resistance to 400ºF. All items store safely in a dedicated, color-matched case that also provides space for a thermometer.

San Jamar | 800/248-9826 |


The new Flame Free Thermo-Urn utilizes vacuum insulation technology to create heat retention for 4 hrs. to 6 hrs. without the aid of external heat from fuel or plug-ins. The urn is safe to use both indoors and outdoors and allows you to serve a consistently flavored, hot beverage from the first cup to the last. Constructed from 18/8 stainless with chrome-plated brass accents for the lid knob, handles and base/legs, the urn is available in 5-, 3- and 1.5-gal. capacities.

Service Ideas | 800/328-4493 |


Keeping water pure and fresh is easy with Bormioli Rocco’s trendy Swing Top Glass Bottles. In addition to holding water, these crafted glass vessels are ideal for showing off your house wine or specialty juices. Bormioli Rocco’s bottle collection can add a sense of tradition and drama to your buffet when filled with infused oils or house dressings. Choose from three 34-oz. stylish designs plus a 17-oz. mini bottle.

Steelite | 724/856-4900 |


If you’ve got airpots that need a little organizing, consider the airpot station from Tomlinson. Designed as a one-stop shop for coffee and tea service, this vacuum-formed heavy-duty organizer holds your airpots, condiments, stir sticks and more. Stations are available in two sizes for one or two airpots and offer stainless drip trays and airpot risers. Airpots not included with purchase of an airpot station.

Tomlinson Industries | 216/587-3400 |


Tuxton presents a new upscale line to help manage the costs of china without sacrificing durability. Designed with modern, geometric shaping, all-white AlumaTux features an elegant and refined look with pieces that are competitively priced. In addition to all the basic items you need, AlumaTux offers specialty items to help you create distinctive tabletop displays, including slanted bowls, square and rectangular plates, multi-compartment plates and stackable ramekins.

Tuxton China | 909/595-2510 |


Super Pan Super Shapes provide a cost-effective way to present food in chafers, heated or refrigerated buffet lines, display cases and more. By using your existing steam-table pans and replacing a few pieces with Super Shapes pans, your whole lineup gets an upscale presentation. Super Shapes pans are built to look great and hold up in demanding commercial kitchens. Pans stack neatly within themselves for easy storage. Full- and half-size units fit with Super Pan 3 covers and flexible lids. Pan construction is 22-ga. for durability; reinforced edges and corners reduce potential for dents and dings. Pans are easy to use and change out.

Vollrath Co. | 800/624-2051 |

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