Rational has celebrated the 40th birthday of its combi ovens and of its founder Siegfried Meister developing the idea into a successful commercial product.

The CD1, the firm’s first combi-oven, was purchased in 1976 by Käfer, a family-owned company based in Munich.

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This was following Meister’s idea that year of combining cooking methods— steaming with moist heat, convection, and a “combi-steaming” method bringing together the two—into a single appliance.

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Subsequently, Rational unveiled its first programmable combi-oven in 1991, followed by the ClimaPlus Combi in 1997, which allowed users regulate temperature and moisture down to exact percentages.

CleanJet, the first fully automatic cleaning system, followed in 2000.

The invention of the SelfCookingCenter in 2004 was another milestone, as Rational believes it was the first cooking appliance capable of preparing a variety of dishes perfectly at the touch of a button.

Furthermore the CareControl system, launched in 2008, represented the first intelligent cleaning and descaling system on the market.

In 2011, Rational unveiled the SelfCookingCenter whitefficiency, equipped with HiDensityControl technology for steam generation, dynamic air circulation and heat development as well as dehumidification.

Then, in 2014, the manufacturer invented the SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses unit, which feels cooking chamber conditions and food consistency, detects product sizes and load quantities, thinks and plans ahead, learns from chefs and even consults with them on decisions.

“But there’s always room for improvement,” said Dr Peter Stadelmann, CEO of Rational AG.

“We draw inspiration from our company goal as we continue to work on providing even more benefits to people preparing hot foods in large and commercial kitchens,” he explained, adding that he views personal responsibility and self-organisation among employees as essential building blocks to company success.

Nowadays, 120m meals are prepared worldwide in Rational combi-ovens every day, and the 750,000th unit was recently delivered to the USA.

The Bavarian company also posted 9% growth in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year, and key figures are still trending upwards.