The National Restaurant Association announced the recipients of the 2014 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, which honor equipment and technology that specifically improves the back of the house operations and benefits restaurant operators.

“2014 marks an important milestone for the KI Awards,” said Sam Facchini, co-founder and co-owner of Metro Pizza and 2014 NRA Show® Convention Chair. “In addition to proudly celebrating our 10 year anniversary of the Awards, this year’s honorees demonstrate the continued tradition of the KI Awards in celebrating innovative companies making a measureable impact on the day-to-day operations of the foodservice industry.”

The 2014 KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today. The 24 selected innovations offer solutions for operators addressing waste reduction and energy conservation, enhanced sanitation, as well as increased efficiency with equipment that showcases hybrid cooking techniques and reduced cooking times.

The 2014 Kitchen Innovation Award recipients are:

Alto Shaam, Inc.
CT PROformance Combitherm Oven

This touch-screen controlled combi-oven features an accelerated start-up temperature booster and requires zero clearance for other equipment, giving operators more flexibility in the kitchen and cook-times reduced by as much as 20%.

BioZone Scientific International, Inc.
IceZone® X

Scalable to treat almost any commercial ice machine, this clean-in-place sanitation system uses patented ultraviolet light oxidation to prevent contamination and eliminate over 99% of the surface micro-contamination.

BKON Craft Brewer

The BKON Craft Brewer uses a proprietary negative pressure brewing technology allowing operators to effortlessly craft any loose-leaf tea beverage, third wave coffee, or made-to-order infused cocktail with precision and speed.

Champion Industries
Dry Assist

This under-counter and door-style dishwasher technology draws cool, dry air up and through the rack of sanitized ware via a duct in the bottom of the chamber, removing moisture and speeding drying/turnaround time for dishes.

Edlund Company, LLC
Model KSUV-18 U.V. Knife Sterilization Cabinet

This patent-pending knife cabinet utilizes UV light technology to sterilize cutlery in as little as five minutes without the use of expensive chemicals and no risk of rust/pitting on knives.

Environmental Products & Services Ltd

GreaseShield ECO 1850 PreFilter Low Level

This system protects drainage systems and harvests renewable energy resources by using waste thermal energy to remove emulsified FOGs before they solidify, additionally removing and dewatering organic waste to eliminate foul-smelling anaerobic conditions.

Fired Up Kitchens
Smoke Zapper

This filtering system works with a hood or oven-direct vent to yield EPA-compliant emissions from wood-, coal- or charcoal-fired equipment, allowing safe, clean use for more operations.

Garland Induction FlexiHob Technology

An intelligent technology that automatically adjusts electrical input to offer flexibility to cook with multiple pans of varying sizes on the same induction unit, making it appropriate for à la carte or batch cooking, all while saving energy.

Henny Penny Corporation
Velocity Series™ Pressure Fryer

This pressure fryer uses automatic oil filtration, which does not require operator intervention, enabling filtration to occur after every load for improved oil quality and 4X longer oil life without sacrificing productivity.

Industrial Skins, LLC
Bio-Tile Multi-Layered Ceiling Tile Application

This 100% recyclable, protective surface is applied to new or existing vinyl ceiling tiles, and features five layers that peel away individually to provide a clean, contamination free surface for restaurant and non-commercial kitchens.

Manitowoc Beverage
Multiplex Manual Fill Blend-in-Cup System (BIC-MF)

This automated system makes and dispenses smoothies, frappes, blended- and over-ice drinks completely in the cup to help operators efficiently prepare a broad range of drinks and expand menus.

Nieco Corporation

This burner system captures waste heat and blows it back down on the products being broiled, utilizing both radiant heat and forced convection for faster cooking and up to 40% gas savings.

Novothermic Technologies Inc
NVX 2060 Heat Recovery System

A self-contained system that recovers otherwise wasted heat from drained hot water to warm incoming fresh water, significantly enhancing the energy efficiency of any existing commercial dishwasher.

Shuttle Oven

This ventless impingement oven transitions seamlessly between conveyor and matchbox mode at the touch of a button to contain heat, moisture and grease-laden air for improved speed, menu flexibility and energy efficiency.

Pearl City Manufacturing
Convection Gas Fryer

This unique fryer design continually circulates oil through a remote heat exchanger and incorporates a dual filter system to accomplish significant oil savings, 70% cooking energy efficiency, instant temperature recovery and reduced cook times.

RATIONAL VarioSmoker

A small, plug-and-play, mobile smoke system that retrofits with nearly every RATIONAL combi-steamer built since 1997, allowing operators to successfully smoke and cook simultaneously, saving on time, space and investment costs.

Star Manufacturing
Holman Impingement Conveyor Toaster

This conveyor toaster combines radiant heat with impingement by recirculating heated, high-speed air over bread and other products for faster, efficient and more even toasting.

CypenVac™ Technology

This vacuum technology significantly increases the thermal resistance of insulation panels used in blast chillers and other insulated cabinets and, used in conjunction with conventional polyurethane insulation, can reduce energy consumption by up to 43%.

Turbo Coil, Inc.
Turbo Coil

A stainless steel, fully assembled compact evaporator coil, uniquely designed with a patented twin blower system, enabling reduced energy consumption and superior installation versatility.

TurboChef Technologies
The TurboChef Fire

This countertop convection oven features integral flow cylinders that channel airflow to rapidly increase heat transfer, reaching evenly dispersed temperatures up to 800°F to cook 14-inch, fresh dough pizzas in as little as 90 seconds.

The Vollrath Company
Downdraft Vent Module

A front-of-the-house cooking station that integrates downdraft venting, fire containment, fire suppression, and drop-in induction in the same base to meet the commercial requirements for emissions and foodservice fire safety.

Vulcan/ITW FEG
PowerFry5™ with FivePass™ Heat Transfer

This ENERGY STAR®-qualified fryer maximizes energy use with a signature technology that reclaims and circulates heat five times both inside and outside the tank, resulting in faster recovery/cook times, more productivity and less wear.

Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners
Wicked Edge Professional Series

A precision, angle-controlled knife-sharpening machine that allows kitchen staff to easily maintain professional-grade sharpness for all kitchen cutlery without professional services. 

Wilbur Curtis Company
Wireless Freshness Monitoring System (FMS)

This remote monitoring system tracks the freshness of food and beverages/coffee, and uses proprietary communication technology to report to a single interface, increasing quality, reducing waste, safety risk, cost and equipment downtime.