The National Restaurant Association announced the 22 recipients of its 2018 Kitchen Innovations Awards.

Following is list of the winners with a brief description of each product as provided by the NRA.

  • Air Oasis Bi-Polar Ice Bpi200: This patent-pending ice sanitizing technology uses a small electrical housing and carbon-fiber brushes to release airborne positive hydrogen and negative oxygen ions throughout the ice machine without creating ozone. The compact unit greatly reduces mold, yeast, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, enhancing sanitation and extending service cycles.
  • Alto-Shaam Vector F-Series Multi-Cook Oven: The oven features multiple cooking chambers with independent controls for temperature, fan speed and time that allows simultaneous cooking of dissimilar menu items. The F Series features larger chambers that accept full size sheet or hotel pans and the ability to combine two cooking chambers into one for larger items.
  • Antunes GST-1H Flatbread Toaster: This unit features wide-mouth loading and dual platens inside dual conveyor belts that consistently heat a variety of products — up to 200 degrees F. The integrated landing zone is heated, too.
  • Astra Shunsuke Peeling Machine: This unit automates labor-intensive fruit and vegetable peeling. Operators can program the unit to peel up to similarly sized fruits and vegetables. Comes in two sizes for smaller and larger operations.
  • Bizerba GSP H & HD Illuminated Safety Slicers, Manual, Semi-Automatic and Fully-Automatic Operation: This slicer line emphasizes safety by using color-coded lights to indicate the machine’s status — solid green is safe mode, with blade removed, etc., for safe cleaning. Flashing red is for pre-run, and solid red indicates blade is spinning and ready to slice.
  • Evo MultiZone Plancha: This plancha features three independent cooking zones, each separated with a recirculating fluid thermal barrier that mitigates temperature carryover between zones for precise and variable temperature control across a continuous cooking surface.
  • FLAT Tech FLAT Equalizers: Equalizers replace a table’s existing screw-in feet with an adjusting, hydraulic compression and spring system to eliminate wobbly tables. The unit also features a locking mechanism to create a rock-solid stance without any springiness. A rounded design allows for non-snag movement across floors and carpets.
  • Garland (Welbilt) Instinct Induction Countertop Line: This multisensor induction countertop line incorporates cook and hold functions in one unit, measuring temperatures across the entire surface. The unit can adjust frequency on each cook zone to match pan requirements, adjusting for elements like ferrous content and pan quality.
  • Genius Pan LLC Genius Pan: This threaded system allows the bottom of the pan to adjust up or down in a well, keeping the food looking fresh, topped off and inviting, which can reduce waste and save labor.
  • Hoshizaki America KMEdge Ice Machine Series: This line of ice machines uses a one-piece, dual-sided stainless-steel evaporator that envelops the oval-shaped copper heating/cooling tubing, optimizing surface contact area for optimizing energy efficiency. The result is harder, clearer ice, higher ice production in fewer cycles, longer product life and greater reliability.
  • Markov Level RF Oven: Building on autonomous-vehicles technologies, the ventless Level RF Oven recognizes food items and direct radio frequency energy to cook them to prescribed standards for internal temperature, surface doneness, etc. The unit can also identify multiple dissimilar foods and cook each, simultaneously, to its own standards, to finish at the same time.
  • Marra Forni Electric Brick Oven with Open Mouth: This electric brick oven cooks at temperatures up to 1,000 degrees F with an open mouth. Efficiency and heat retention come from the Sorrento refractory brick walls and deck that retain the heat. A low dome helps balance heat from all directions.
  • Marra Forni Rotator Deck Brick Oven with Double Mouth Opening: This pass-through, rotating-deck oven uses two forced-air burners totaling 84 KBtu per hour to produce pizzas from both directions. Controls regulate heat and rotation speed from 0 to 180 seconds. An air screen keeps the heat in.
  • Multiplex (Welbilt) FreshBlender: This self-serve system that lets customers create their own shakes and smoothies in less than two minutes. In a 20 inch x 39 inch footprint, the FreshBlender integrates refrigeration, ice making, blending, dispensing and digital controls.
  • Omni-Rinse Integrated Rinsing System: This warm-water rinse station for barware tins, jiggers and tools incorporates rinsing as a step within the drink-making process, eliminating the chronic problem of backlogged, unrinsed tools. The hands-free rinse process uses no electricity. The station mounts to a speed rack, wall or under bar.
  • Prince Castle Modular Holding Bin: This holding product features a master base, allowing the system to expand horizontally and vertically, distributing power and communications to set and maintain desired serving temperatures. Operators can choose to stack, add, subtract and move holding units to suit their needs.
  • Sealed Air Corporation Cryovac FlexPrep EZ Dispensing: Working with back-of-the-house condiment dispensing systems, this line uses prefilled Cryovac pouches with frangible seals specially fitted to load into the operation’s dispensing equipment. 
  • Soda Gun Jetter: This automated system includes a programmable control box, holsters and dedicated tubing to flush soda gun nozzles and drip cups during off hours with pressurized water.
  • Structural Concepts Corporation Foodscaping Wells: This modular system is based on a refrigerated cabinet featuring a food well housing with multiple height-adjustable display platforms, allowing operators to create buffet-style displays that suit their needs. The adjustability lets staff set food serving vessels at various heights for a more visually intriguing display.
  • Structural Concepts Corporation Reveal Frameless Glass Food Displays: These frameless merchandising cases feature Argon gas-insulated double glass panes that provide a thermal barrier and reduce condensation giving customers a clean, uninterrupted view.
  • Vitamix Aerating Container: This unit’s specially shaped disc blade container lets kitchen staff and bartenders fine-tune the texture of mousse, infusions and emulsions without pureeing.
  • Vulcan SonicSafe Ultrasonic Scale Prevention for Steamers: Ultrasonic technology combats scale buildup in the manufacturer’s line of steamers. This technology breaks up limescale particulates suspended in water, continuously preventing scale from adhering to heating elements and generator walls.

The 22 products listed above were selected by a panel of independent judges based on their ability to solve a variety of challenges foodservice operators from all industry segments face. These products will be on display in the KI Showroom, part of the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show taking place May 19-22 in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

In addition, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine will be host to a variety of on-trend foodservice equipment sessions featuring panel discussions with experts in the industry within the KI Showroom. These limited seating sessions will cater to foodservice operators, dealers and consultants. View the confirmed speaker list here.