The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show recently announced the 2022 recipients of the Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, which recognizes the year’s most forward-thinking and cutting-edge innovations that meaningfully improve foodservice operations.
“Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 Kitchen Innovations Awards,” says Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions. “Each year, I’m eager to visit the KI Showroom to see how equipment advancements like these are contributing to improving operations by increasing efficiency and productivity, and ultimately supporting business growth.”
The KI Awards program has earned a reputation for defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations. This year’s recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today, while generating industry growth through a focus on automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, and more. The KI Awards recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and internationally recognized food facility consultants, multi-unit executives, and design experts.
Among the recipients are:
Converge® Multi-Cook Ovens
Alto Shaam, Inc.
Building on the invention of the multi-cook oven category, Converge® ovens pair vertical, patented Structured Air Technology® with steam capability in each chamber. With up to three independent chambers per oven, Converge can cook three different foods simultaneously—all at different temperatures, fan speeds, humidity levels and cook times. All that, and it cleans itself, too.
Botrista’s new turnkey beverage program offers unique Drinkbot equipment alongside a line of pre-packaged ingredients in proprietary bag-in-box format to deliver infused teas, lattes, flavored lemonades, iced coffees and much more, all within five square feet. Drinkbot accommodates 14 BiB ingredient packs, each with its own connectors, tubes, nozzles, etc. Software automates portioning, dispensing and mixing; an aerator handles blending.
Duke Waterless Well
Duke Manufacturing Co.
Waterless wells have solved the chronic water issues of steam, lime, scorching, plumbing and so on, and now Duke adds its own advances with programmable temperatures for high-medium-low settings and a large, intuitive touchscreen for each well including service diagnostics and alerts. Easy pop-out access and non-stick removable silicone liners make cleanup a breeze. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Frontline International Inc
More than filtration, Kitchen Controller is an end-to-end automated oil management system that monitors oil quality via a hand-held fry-vat sensor and communicates condition and recommended actions to help extend oil life, such as skimming, topping off or changing out. Change-outs are push-button automated and touchless. Managers can remotely monitor functions and verify recommendations are being performed.
Frymaster FilterQuick Intuition
Frymaster / Welbilt Brand
FilterQuick Intuition™ is designed to be superior to all previous 30-lb fryers. This total redesign includes a capacitive touch screen, enhanced software, automatic internet connection, variable-speed filter pump, variable-speed combustion micro fans, and more. Collectively, these features deliver the most serviceable, most reliable, and most innovative 30-lb fryer ever.
Active Compression for Clamshell Griddle
Garland / Welbilt Brand
Traditionally, downforce on the top platen was achieved with weight distributed across the food product. A load of two patties or 10 created different cooking results. Some alternatives are complex. Active Compression solves all that with a simple, reliable platen-locking mechanism that lets the operator set the gap between top and bottom cook surfaces regardless of load. Consistent compression drops cook times almost by half.
Refrigerated Pizza Prep Table
Hoshizaki America, Inc.
Hoshizaki's clean-sheet design includes an easy-access cooling system of back-to-front ducted airflow for even rail temperatures, a single refrigeration circuit with separate temperature settings for the rail and cabinet, and a night mode allowing pan storage in the rail with the lids closed overnight, automatically adjusting the setpoint up when the lids are closed, down when they’re open.
The IBEX Oven
ITW – Food Equipment Group
The IBEX Oven™ features cutting edge solid-state radio frequency (RF) technology combined with convection heating to deliver fast, fresh, full-batch results and premium food quality across the entire menu. IBEX closed-loop, digital cooking intelligence adapts to feedback from food in real time as it changes, always optimizing for both quality and speed during cooking, baking, and reheating.
Kuvings Commercial Auto Blender Chef CB1000
Vacuum blending has been the hot ticket in blending lately, pulling air out of the container before blending begins to create remarkably smooth, fine consistency with greatly reduced oxidation and foam. Kuving takes it to the next level with much quicker blending and true one-touch operation that automatically closes the enclosure, vacuum seals the container, blends perfectly, shuts down and self-opens—all in 25 seconds.
T&S Brass and Bronze Works
T&S EasyInstall Hose Reel Cabinet
The T&S EasyInstall Hose Reel Cabinet is an all-in-one streamlined design that simplifies field installation and reduces the complexity of specifying a hose reel system. The cabinet comes pre-assembled, so installers only need to determine if they want top or bottom inlets, and whether to install recessed or surface mounted.
WMF 5000S+ Fully-Automatic Coffee Machine
WMF Americas, Inc.
The WMF 5000 S+ represents a feat of modern engineering for the fully-automatic espresso machine category. New features such as the groundbreaking AutoClean system is capable of eliminating any common hygiene issues related to milk. The WMF 5000 S+ allows operators to execute a top-quality coffee program with minimal staff oversight.
“While the Kitchen Innovations Showroom is always an exciting display of equipment innovations, this year will be like no other,” Cindric says. “Awardees from 2020, 2021 and 2022 will all be on display making this the largest Kitchen Innovations Showroom in the Show’s history! We cannot wait for operators and manufacturers to connect and discover how this cutting-edge equipment will benefit their businesses.”