Foodservice Equipment Reports

SHOW REPORT: NAFEM’s What’s Hot! What’s Cool!

NAFEM’s What’s Hot!, What’s Cool! new product gallery showcased more than 130 items that had been introduced after the last NAFEM Show in 2011. Each product in this special display area must demonstrate tangible, quantifiable operator benefits by meeting at least two of four criteria: aesthetic impact, cost reduction, new foodservice application and/or other benefits, such as environmental impact or technological advancement. 

My task was to pick just a fraction of those very worthy products to highlight here. I chose those that I felt stood out for doing something quite new with an existing product, presenting something I hadn’t seen before or adding a higher level of engineering or technology to an existing product. Many of the new products on display have been covered in this magazine; we focused on those you might not have heard about yet for this special Show Report.

Watch for coverage of additional products in future issues. 

Bally – BQ-Line Condensing Unit

Testing has measured Bally’s quiet condensers at 15 dBA lower than conventional condensing units at 70° (full speed). The units are even quieter at lower speeds—partly because of their heavy-gauge insulated painted-steel cabinets. A compact European slim design results in less space needed for installation; the units can be mounted within 6 in. of building walls, reducing the potential line run and saving on copper line sets. 

Beverage Air – Mega Top Prep Table/See-Thru Lid

What makes this prep table special is a one-piece hydraulic hinge operating a self-closing lid with multiple set points for easy visibility. The one-piece lid is easy to open and close. The refrigeration and grille systems have been improved for better airflow management and uniform temperature distribution. Product in open containers stays below 41°F and above freezing.

Bon Chef – Diamond Cold Wave Bowls

These attractive, chilled serving bowls have two layers: an inner layer filled with gel and an outer layer filled with air to prevent condensation and create a layer of insulation for the cold gel. Overnight freezing will keep food cold for up to 7 hours. Bowls come with covers in .75, 1.7-, 3.4-, 7- and 10.10-qt. sizes; also available is a 3-gal. ice-cream container and a 24-oz. salad-dressing container.

BSI – Digital Menu System

A significant and potentially entertaining addition to the ubiquitous food shield provides up to 5 LCD screens that can display information uploaded via wi-fi. Each 5-in. diagonal screen can display menus, nutritional information, potential allergens or any other information. Set in a 4-ft.-long header, individual screen displays can be scheduled to change as often as needed throughout the day. Options include heat and/or light.

Bunn – Axiom BrewWise Brewer

RFID chips on glass decanters and insulated stainless decanters automatically help manage coffee freshness, warmer use and energy management. RFID technology enables the brewer to “write” the brew time to a chip on the decanter while updating status through the brewer LCD screen. The brewer can monitor the aging of coffee in the decanters: When a coffee has exceeded recommended holding time, the brewer emits an alert and disengages the warmer. A removable collar can be transferred to a new decanter.  

Burlodge – The Cube

This holding cabinet extends meal-tray delivery options by holding up to 4 patient trays at safe temperatures for extended times after normal tray distribution has been completed. Designed for use with any Burlodge medical meal-tray delivery system, the Cube keeps the hot side hot and cold side cold. It can be placed on a countertop or stand and is stackable.

C. Cretors – Poppi

The company that invented the automated popcorn machine in 1893 now has the first compact industrial air popper small enough to fit on a counter. Because it uses no oil, the popcorn is healthier to eat and the machine is easier to clean. Twelve ounces of popcorn kernels take 2.5 to 3 min. to pop; as it pops, it is ejected out the front chute. The device tips on a center axis to empty the popping compartment.

Cadco – Mobile Cooking Cart

The Mobile Cooking Cart is mini kitchen on wheels with a convection oven, griddle, hot plate, drawers and an area for pan storage in a 2-ft.-x-3-ft. cart (43-in. high). An optional battery/inverter station can power 2 cooking components for 2 hours of cord-free operation; battery can be recharged by plugging into a 120V, 15A circuit. Fire-retardant skirting on 3 sides attaches with included Velcro. Cooking components can be removed for cleaning.

CalMil – Mixology Collection

This is an attractive alternative for an upscale bar condiment display. Three 1-pint or 1-qt. glass containers sit on a rectangular tray (13-in. or 16-in. wide, respectively), anchored by collars. A gel-filled cooling “puck” fits in the collar below each of the containers to keep condiments cool (though not to HACCP levels). Pucks chill in the freezer and can be changed during service. Each container has a stainless lid.

Champion – Enviro-Pure EPW System

Up to 6,000 lb. of food waste, treated by a decomposition system, breaks down through physical and biological processes in submersed environments into water and CO2. Natural biological decomposition processes are accelerated through a combined action of the system itself and the use of an all-natural, non-toxic, biodegradable additive. On-site elimination of food waste in 24 hours produces a gray-water byproduct safe for sewer disposal with no odors, sludge build-up and no system clean-outs required.  

Eastern Tabletop – Zapflame

An alternative to standard cans of gel fuel can be used for grilling, cooking or warming because flames can be controlled from high to low. The 3-in.-x-3-in. stainless safety canister automatically shuts off when fuel is spent. An 8-oz. bottle of lighter/butane fuel will refill 3 burners. The user can shut off the flame when an event is over, then turn it back on for the next event.

Electrolux Professional – Electric Tilting Pressure Braising Pan

This multi-function unit can be used for poaching or steaming (with the lid open); simmering and boiling (with open or closed lid); or pressure cooking or steaming in suspended GN 1/1 containers (with the lid in a closed and locked position). It has motorized tilting with variable speed control for a slow pour; the pan can be tilted beyond 90° to completely empty. It can store recipes in single or multiphase cooking processes, with different temperature settings.

EMI Industries – Sterling Stainless Table

EMI’s research revealed 2 problem areas with tables: wobble and easily dented front edges. By using a rectangular reinforcing channel under the top, each leg has two weld points to eliminate wobble. Designers moved a rectangular reinforcing channel to directly behind the vulnerable, turned-down long edges of the top, creating a double wall of protection against denting that is literally twice as strong as that of a normal table.

Halton – Duct Safety System

Optical grease sensors installed at key locations in the ductwork and in exhaust plenums over the heaviest cooking appliances alert operators when they need to inspect and clean the ducts. When grease deposit levels exceed the threshold defined by NFPA96, a visual alarm displays on the user interface. This way, you can base duct maintenance on actual grease deposition rates instead of an arbitrary time schedule. The system is retrofittable.  

Lamber – Panini By Krampouz

This professional multi-purpose panini machine comes with easily removable plates that let you switch from ribbed to flat griddle—or one each on top and bottom; makes washing easy too. A patented heating element pack provides even heat over the entire surface of the “food-contact-certified” cast-iron plates. Three models: small, medium and large (which has a single 20-in.-x-9-in. bottom plate and two 10-in.-x-9-in. top plates).

Legacy – Excalibur Commercial Dehydrator

Dehydrators are popular with health-food and grocery stores for preserving fruits, vegetables, meat for jerky and fish. Make your own fruit rolls, crackers, granola and seasonings; dried fruit gives a richer flavor to smoothies. The commercial dehydrator has two compartments with 42 stainless drying racks. Multiple motors create precision airflow and increased thermal control, providing the ability to stagger batches or dry different products separately from each other. 

Montague – Underfired Broilers/Roll Tops

The thermostatically controlled roll-top hoods on the Legend heavy-duty broilers operate half-open or fully closed and control heat, reduce heat loss and lower energy use. The hoods individually and thermostatically reduce burner rate to hold a set temperature. When the burners go into standby mode, there is a dramatic reduction in heat loss to the kitchen. The burners have individual manual gas valves for zoned heat control.

Oliver – SimpleSlice Help Yourself Slicer

An easy-to-read pictorial interface guides the consumer through 4 simple steps required to slice and bag their own loaf of bread in 12 sec. They place bread in a drawer and transport it to the slicer. After slicing, the loaf goes to the top deck for bagging. The machine accommodates loaves up to 16-in. long, either soft texture or artisan loaves. It can be ordered to slice a particular thickness, but can’t be adjusted by the customer.

SPG International Inc. – Collapsible Nesting Pan Rack

These racks fold to 50% of their open footprint for storage; they also can collapse into a V-shape to create a wider, more stable base for more efficient transport, requiring only one person to move multiple units quickly and easily. Employees can push a whole slew of nested racks and they’ll roll straight and not curve off to one side or another. A unique locking hinge mechanism creates strength and rigidity when they’re opened. Five-in. casters provide optimum maneuverability. One rack holds 20 18-in.-x-26-in. pans.

Strahl – CapellaStack Beverageware

These glasses truly look and feel like glass, but are made of high-quality, durable polycarbonate plastic that will not break. All products can be chilled and put through a commercial dishwasher safely. The range is stackable and features a unique base with channels that allow water to drain easily after a commercial dishwasher cycle. Sizes available include: 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16 oz.

TurboAir – Glass Door Freezer

The merchandiser includes patented technologies and upgraded systems on Model TGF-47SD, such as early warning system of temperature failure, automatic condenser cleaning and energy conserving fan control. It also has new-to-the-industry features: a voice greeting and sound system, optional real-time monitoring system with BIM connection, automatic condenser cleaning system and LED light advertising panels. A “smart” defrost system analyzes its surrounding environment and defrosts only when needed.

Turbochef – G5 Multi-Shelf Oven

The G5 is the first TurboChef multi-shelf oven to integrate patented convection hot air cooking with an optional microwave assist for enhanced speed and throughput. The oven allows operators to cook up to five half-sheet pans simultaneously, faster than a standard convection oven or a traditional combi. The unit features simple touch controls and includes a smart menu capable of storing up to 3,888 unique recipe settings.

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