National Restaurant Association Announces the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award Winners
National Restaurant Association Announces the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award Winners
Apr 25, 2018

The 2015 KI Awards showcase advancements in food safety, cook time efficiency, energy conservation and more for the foodservice industry (Chicago) The National Restaurant Association today announced the recipients of the 2015 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, which honor equipment and technologies that increase productivity for back of the house operations and benefit restaurant operators. As a chef it is great to see the products receiving the 2015 Kitchen Innovations Award all offer significant advancement in back-of-house operations, and demonstrate the extent to which the manufacturing companies are in touch with culinary and key operator challenges,” says John C. Metz, Convention Chair for NRA Show® 2015 and Executive Chef/CEO of Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua Blue, and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management. “Each year our independent panel of judges scans the entire industry to find the products that address and solve these challenges, advancing the entire foodservice industry.”

The 2015 KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today. The 23 selected innovations specifically address: water waste reduction and enhanced energy efficiency, increased safety and sanitation, cross-functionality, faster cook-up times, space constraints – even ergonomics and smart technology that learns and adapts to various conditions.

The 2015 Kitchen Innovations® Award recipients are:

Champion® Industries, Inc.
Foodwaste Reduction System

Featuring counter-rotating, slow-speed and low-noise cutters to macerate foodwaste in a grind chamber before heading, via a slightly sloped overhead gravity feed, to a dewatering centrifuge featuring a rapidly rotating screen and screw, this innovative system uses repurposed gray water as its primary water supply, reducing water consumption by 20-30% daily.

Dagda Technologies, Inc.

This NSF-certified safety cover protects employees from severe deep-fryer burns by providing a spring-loaded barrier against dropped objects or slipped extremities, all without slowing down the cooking operation. It can be attached to any existing electric or gas fryer.

Duke Manufacturing Co. ®
FlexTech Advanced Food Holding Platform

Utilizing a patented Atomized Humidity Generation System and specially designed internal vent duct panels that allow for active venting at each pan level, the FlexTech extends fried product holding times, maintains product quality and freshness longer, reduces food waste and increases product availability by 10-15%, all while maintaining unique flavor properties without flavor transfer.

Syncra™ Total Hand Hygiene System

Easily retrofitted on hand washing sinks using the existing plumbing, this automated, touch-free, water-and-soap delivery system follows a strict, yet adjustable, 3-step process (Water & Soap, Timed Lather & Scrub, and Rinse) to ensure increased employee compliance, standardized hand-washing procedures and consistent results, all while using 50% less water than traditional hand washing.

Edlund Company LLC
Titan™ Max-Cut

Constructed from durable stainless steel and dishwasher safe, the Titan Max-Cut saves operators space and food prep time by incorporating four prep options—cutting, coring, wedging and dicing—into a single manual machine; just swap out the quick-change pusher and cartridge and move on to the next task.

EnviroPure Systems, Inc.
EnviroPure Ozone Recirculation System

Using grey water extracted from food waste to facilitate the grinding and digestion of that waste, the EnviroPure ozone recirculation system eliminates the need for fresh water to be added to the aerobic organic digester, a saving of up to 400 gallons of water per day.

Evo, Inc.
EVent™ Ductless Downdraft Ventilation Cooking Station

Featuring an internally ducted, self-contained downdraft recirculating ventilation system, this electric cooktop removes enough airborne grease vapor (less than one part/million escaped), smoke and cooking odors from the cooking surface to allow restaurants to place the cooktop in any location without the need for an externally vented air system.

Franke Air Purification System (APS300)

Using the power of ozone and UV light, but entirely within the enclosure to prevent potential exposure hazards, this self-contained and affordable purification system mounts inside walk-in coolers, scrubbing the existing air of microbes, ethylene, hydrocarbons and other contaminants to reduce odors and extend the shelf life of prepared foods and produce.

Frymaster®, A Division of Manitowoc Foodservice
FilterQuick® with Oil Quality Sensor

Boasting integrated oil-quality sensors, a patented technology that automatically monitors the health of the oil by measuring its total polar materials (TPMs), these gas and electric fryers reduce the cost of frying and improve food quality by taking the guesswork of out oil replacement.

Hestan Commercial Corporation
Longitudinal Modular Salamander/Cheesemelter/Shelving System

Hung without permanent hardware by means of unique, hook-like brackets of heavy-duty steel for optimum rigidity and durability, this modular shelving and broiler system, the latter easily switched from salamander to cheesemelter and back again, is supported longitudinally on a riser to allow complete horizontal movement, giving it the flexibility to be placed anywhere on the line for maximum functionality.

Hestan Commercial Corporation
Tri-Ferrous French Top with Maximum Center Temperature & Gradient

Available in 18-, 24-, and 36-inch widths, this French Top features a thick-gauge, fully-welded stainless steel radiant cone around its 35,000-Btu/hour gas burner to trap and focus radiant and convective heat within a controlled space below the center plate, resulting 1000+ degrees at center to as low as 320 degrees at the edges, the highest temperature delta of any French Top.

Hobart FT1000 Flight-Type Dish Machine

The first and only ventless flight-type dish machine in the marketplace, the FT1000 boasts the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership via technological innovations such as Automatic Soil Removal (ASR), Auto Clean and Auto Delime that reduce water, energy, labor and chemical expenditures.

HydroFLOW® U.S.A. / Genuine Energy Solutions™
HydroFLOW® Water Conditioners

These chemical-free water conditioners, both featuring induced-signal and continuously conditioning Hydropath Technology, not only dissolve and remove lime scale in appliances and piping systems, but also prevent new lime scale accumulation, kill bacteria and algae in water systems and boost filtration efficiency.

Ice Link, Inc.
Ice Link

Using vacuum technology and optic sensors, the Ice Link automatically transports cubed and nugget ice at 30 ft. per second from a central ice production area to a variety of remote locations within the same building, vertically up to four stories and horizontally up to 350 feet.

Manitowoc Foodservice
Merrychef® eikon® e4s with Panini Grill

This semi-automated, non-stick Panini press attachment, easily removable from inside the oven for cleaning, flattens and/or generates grill marks on a range of products, including bread, proteins and vegetables, all while taking advantage of Merrychef’s rapid cook technology which produces high-quality food at speeds up to 15 times faster than conventional methods.

The Montague Company
R290 Glycol Ice and Heat Sauté Station

Combining four 30,000-BTU gas burners, a glycol raised rail pan chiller and a two-drawer refrigerated base, this 48″ sauté station features a revolutionary Turbo Coil designed R-290 glycol assist refrigeration system to convey proper cooling power more energy efficiently than standard air-only refrigeration systems.

Ovention, Inc.
Ovention M360 Oven 

Using a breakthrough rapid cook technology without microwaves, Precision Impingement®, this compact oven is UL-certified for ventless operation and allows operators to prepare 1,000 menu items, each with different cook times and heat profiles.

SelfCookingCenter® 5 Senses

An industry first in intelligent cooking systems, the SelfCookingCenter® 5 Senses communicates with its operator from preheat to unloading, its suite of proprietary technologies is able to measure food size and load quantity, product condition, automatically set temperature, cooking time, air speed and cabinet climate – even learn from operator tendencies – to ensure a perfect dish every time.

Schaerer Ltd.
Schaerer Coffee Art C HC

At the push of a button on its 7-inch programmable touch screen, the Coffee Art system offers speedy bean-to-cup hot and, using a proprietary chilling technology that prevents ice melt or dilution, iced coffee similar in strength to drip filter but ground straight from the bean for a full-bodied flavor profile with unsurpassed freshness, aroma and taste.

Sanisteel® Anti-Bacterial Slip-Resistant Flooring

Featuring a pre-coated finish that kills and prevents 99.9% of all bacteria, mold, algae and fungi, this NSF-certified flooring boasts a slip resistance that exceeds all other major industry options in terms of pre-fabricated walk-in flooring.

True Food Service Equipment, Inc.
Hydrocarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant Reach-In Refrigerators/Freezers

Combining state-of-the-art compressors and components with all-natural, energy efficient and environmentally friendly HydroCarbon (R290) Natural Refrigerant, these reach-in refrigerators and freezers reduce an operator’s energy consumption substantially, while maintaining food safety and quality, resulting in a lesser environmental impact and improved profit margins.

KODIAK Planetary Mixer

The first planetary mixer to be designed with customer input, the 30-quart KODIAK is an ergonomically correct machine that features a wider, shallower bowl for better sight lines, an intuitive control panel and a revolutionary, easy clean 3-in-1 splash guard/safety guard/ingredient chute, making it the most hygienic mixer available.

Wilpack Packaging
Seal-a-Cup™ Cup Sealing System

Using heat and pressure to apply a tamper-evident seal in seconds to a plastic cups with volumes ranging from .37-ounce to 32-ounces and diameters of 51mm, 75mm and 115mm, this lightweight, portable cup sealer prevents spillage, seals in freshness and extends product life.


KI Award recipients are chosen by an independent panel of industry experts comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multi-unit restaurant executives, and design experts. The 2015 Kitchen Innovations Judges are:

Dan Bendall, FCSI (Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.)
Martin Cowley (Senior Manager Design and Standards, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts)
William Eaton, FFCSI (Chairman of the Board, Cini-Little International)
Foster F. Frable Jr., FCSI (Founding Partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee)
Jim Krueger, Jr., CMCE, NRAMF (Chief, Air Force Food & Beverage Business Development & Strategic Initiatives Air Force Services Activity (AFSVA) San Antonio, TX)
Aaron LaMotte (Director, Sodexo Performance Interiors)
Robert Marshall (Vice President, U.S. Operations, McDonald’s Corporation: Retired)
Steve Otto (Director, Capital Equipment Purchasing, Darden)
Kathleen H. Seelye, FFCSI, LEED (Managing Partner, Ricca Newmark Design)

Each recipient and their product will be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at the 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, held from May 16-19 in Chicago. As the global restaurant and hospitality industry’s premier trade show, NRA Show brings together more restaurant and hospitality buyers and equipment manufacturers than any other industry event. To register, please visit For more information about the KI program and this year’s award recipients, visit

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest annual gathering of restaurant, foodservice, and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2015 will be held May 16-19 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and BAR at the NRA Show 2015 will take place May 17-18. The events attract 63,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and the event showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues, and more growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the NRA Show and BAR Websites at and and find NRA Show on Twitter @NRAShow, Facebook and Instagram @NRAShow.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 21-24, 2016, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

Ovention Ovens Make It Easy
Shuttle® NEW 2600! 2000/1600/1200
Shuttle® NEW 2600! 2000/1600/1200

If you value precision and volume, Ovention has the perfect oven to fit your operation. The Shuttle sets the new standard for conveyor ovens everywhere. No other oven can operate as both a conveyor and a closed-cavity oven.

Matchbox® 1718/1313
Matchbox® 1718/1313

Cook a full menu of delicious offerings without an oven hood. The Ovention Matchbox 1718/1313 takes the traditional conveyor oven to a whole new level.

Conveyor 2600/2000/1400
Conveyor 2600/2000/1400

Simple, smart and the right fit for operators looking for a high-throughput conveyor oven. The Ovention Conveyor Oven is the most technologically elegant and operator-friendly conveyor on the market today.

Matchbox® M360 14/12
Matchbox® M360 14/12

Cook a full menu better, faster, and easier. The Ovention Matchbox M360 has Precision Impingement® technology, a unique cooking carousel, and a small footprint, making it the perfect fit for any operation.

Finishing F1400
Finishing F1400

Finish your plates with ease and precision with this robust IR finishing conveyor. Melt, sear, toast, and finish to perfection with this operator-friendly, quiet conveyor.

MiLO® Double/Single
MiLO® Double/Single

Revolutionary infusion of Linear Impingement and Infrared (IR) technologies. Independently controlled top and bottom cavities, each with its own interior light and control panel.


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