Catering Equipment of the Year: THE VERDICTS

It has been a phenomenal year as far as the evolution of new catering equipment is concerned, with significant product developments taking place in every silo of the market. Here’s our rundown of the best kit across 10 categories of the market.

PRIME COOKING & RANGES

Highly commended: Charvet (Four Zone Multipurpose Plancha); Lainox (Naboo); Rational (SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses); Synergy Grill (SG1300)

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Winner: Electrolux Professional (Thermaline 80/90)

Verdict: There have been some fantastic developments in the combi oven market this year as other shortlisted entrants in this category testify. However, as far as cooking ranges go, Electrolux has really moved its modular cooking platform forward this year with a Swiss-produced line that delivers on energy efficiency and impresses with its sleek design.

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SPECIALIST COOKING EQUIPMENT

Highly commended: Atollspeed (AS300T hybrid oven); Bonnet (Combi Tower); Ovention (Matchbox oven); MKN (FlexiCombi MagicPilot)

Winner: Frima (VarioCooking Center Multificiency 112T)

Verdict: Any of the five companies on this page would be a worthy winner, but Frima edged it for us by designing a system that brings the capabilities of multi-function cooking into compact kitchens. With more operators looking to do more with less space, the VarioCooking Centre fills a clear niche for a tabletop option.

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FOOD PREPARATION

Highly commended: BGL Rieber (Varithek ACS 1600 O3); Carpigiani (HE Maestro Batch Freezer); Robot Coupe (Robot Cook); Waring (X-Prep Kitchen Blender);

Winner: Edlund (ARC XL Manual Fruit and Vegetable Slicer)

Verdict: Edlund continues to blaze a trail in the food preparation market and its latest take on manual food slicing will delight operators that have struggled with consistency and portion size in the past. The company’s unique pusher and hopper design also solves the issue of safety, making it a foolproof piece of kit to work with.

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REFRIGERATION

Highly commended: Adande (Matchbox with hydrocarbon refrigerant); Porkka (BCBF 24-100SH blast chiller); Precision Refrigeration (Space Saver prep Counter HSS 340); Sterling Pro (SP101E blast chiller)

Winner: Gram (Superior Plus 72)

Verdict: We have to be honest and say that this was a neck-and-neck race between Gram and Adande for this category. Adande’s Matchbox is a true example of innovation in the refrigeration sector, but the launch of the Superior Plus range underpins a strong year of product development for Gram. Its extensive R&D efforts have seen it successfully reduce energy consumptions on its machines without making the capital cost unaffordable for customers.

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WAREWASHING

Highly commended: Hobart (FTPi); Smeg (CWC631SDE-1); Wexiodisk (WD-90 DUO); Winterhalter (DeMatik Pi-240 hybrid warewasher);

Winner: Meiko (Green eye M-iQ rack and flight dishwashing systems)

Verdict: It has been a momentous year for warewashing technology, so much so that there simply wasn’t enough room to include everyone. Comenda, in particular, just missed out on making our top five but deserves a mention for its energy efficient AC3 range. Meanwhile, the Hobart and Winterhalter kit that impressed could easily be deemed ‘category winners’, but Meiko edges it for devising a highly effective way of maximising chamber capacity and taking warewashing automation to the next level.

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BEVERAGE & ICE MACHINES

Highly commended: Malibu Corporation (Self Serve C/SP Soft Ice Cream Machine); Scotsman (Ice Tower 56); Schaerer (Coffee Art Plus Supersteam); WMF (1500S)

Winner: Hoshizaki (IM-240ANE-HC cube ice maker)

Verdict: We like a ‘first’ at Catering Insight, so Hoshizaki’s endeavours to create a hydrocarbon ice maker grabbed our attention in what was a keenly-fought category. There is enormous pressure on larger catering establishments, in particular, to demonstrate their environmental credentials, and as they evaluate equipment for its sustainability this sort of kit should figure highly.

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COUNTERS & SERVERIES

Highly commended: Foster Refrigerator (Foster Display Chiller [FDC]); TFSE (Patisserie Counter); Valera (Pronto Slimline); Venta (Induction buffet table)

Winner: Counterline (ECHF600 cross merchandiser)

Verdict: This cross merchandiser open-fronted display offers three solutions in one shell, which most retailers will agree is the ultimate space-saving solution when it comes to grab and go operations. With two heated levels, three chilled levels and the option of an ambient basket, the system displays all the hallmarks of flexible catering equipment design.

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LIGHT EQUIPMENT

Highly commended: Cambro (Camshelving Basic Series); Primeware (Flexepans); Rosseto (Bakery building blocks); Vollrath (Mirage induction kettle)

Winner: Menu System (SINA induction Wok)

Verdict: There is an argument that the SNIA induction wok is a heavy duty piece of kit — and in terms of robustness and application it most certainly is. But when you consider its portability, weight and power supply, the unit deserves to be heralded for bringing the very best in induction performance and power to a plug and play level.

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WASTE & FOG MANAGEMENT

Highly commended: Environmental Products & Services (GreaseShield); EnviroPure (EPW – Food Waste Decomposition System); IMC (WastePro II); Rendisk (Solus Eco)

Winner: Mechline (GreasePak Compact)

Verdict: The five shortlisted companies in this category illustrate the quality of solutions now available for dealing with the parts of the kitchen operation that nobody wants to shout about. Mechline’s GreasePak is a simple-to-use system that comes with the promise of no maintenance and no bulky containers taking up floor space, providing caterers with total operational confidence.

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VENTILATION & KITCHEN SAFETY

Highly commended: Hydramist (15AMPU kitchen fire suppression system); S&S Northern (Merlin touch button gas interlocks); Trak Hupfer (Isobox Mobil); Vito (X1 oil filter system)

Winner: Lincat (SmartVent)

Verdict: This venture between sister companies Lincat and Britannia — two of Britain’s top catering equipment manufacturers — stands out for providing operators with an affordable alternative to expensive, bespoke kitchen ventilation systems. With four sizes to choose from, the units are robust enough to do the job they are intended for and yet quiet enough that they don’t spoil the surrounding environment.

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VIEW THE CATERING INSIGHT DECEMBER EDITION, FEATURING THE CATERING EQUIPMENT OF THE YEAR AWARDS COVERAGE, HERE.

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