Distributor the Airedale Group is among the catering equipment sector companies in the running for this year’s Casual Dining show Innovation Challenge Awards.
The fifth anniversary of the event, taking place on 21-22 February at the Business Design Centre in London, attracted a record number of entries for this year’s awards – an increase of 25%.
Leading the contenders for the equipment industry is Airedale’s asset management tool, Lighthouse, which is said to provide operators with real time data that will assist them in their roles.
Also in the 50 innovation entries, many of which will be launching at the show, are Ascentia’s new Hop ‘air fryer’, the Gamble Foodservice Solutions-supplied Hatco induction hob, and Rational UK’s ConnectedCooking 2.0 cloud-based online portal for its combi oven users.
Innovation Challenge Awards voting opens to visitors at the onsite Innovation Challenge Galleryfrom 10am on Wednesday 21 February and will run until 4pm. The exhibitors who have secured the most votes will then be invited to ‘pitch’ their new innovations to an expert panel of judges the following day. Pitches start at 11.15am in the BDC’s Executive Centre, with the results to be announced just a few hours later at 2.15pm, on Thursday 22 February.
On the judging panel this year will be Antony Bennett, head of food at Loungers; Glenn Evans, head of food development, at Las Iguanas, La Tasca and La Vina; Simon Xavier, executive chef – leisure division at The Restaurant Group; Alice Elwes, group head of purchasing at Côte Brasserie; Chris Knight, group executive chef at Young’s & Geronimo Inns; chef/restaurant consultant Jay Morjaria; and Megan Lewis-Thomas, head of food development and marketing concessions, franchising and new concepts at Casual Dining Group.
They will all be deciding which shortlisted products will come away with gold, silver or bronze innovation awards.