Four Commercial Kitchen exhibitors won gold yesterday in the show’s Innovation Challenge Awards, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham.
Ten finalists (chosen by popular visitor vote on Tuesday from 22 entries this year) took turns to impress the judges in the live pitching session yesterday morning. Those judges included James Douglas, co-founder of Red’s True Barbecue; Julian Edwards, chairman of the FCSI UK&I and owner of GY5; Andy Jones, MD of AJAssociates; Andrew Seymour, editorial director of Catering Insight’s sister magazine Foodservice Equipment Journal; and Jack Sharkey, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens.
The results saw four companies receive gold awards, four awarded silvers and two taking home the bronze.
The gold winners comprised Rational, Meiko, Carpigiani and MCS Technical Products.
Rational triumphed due to its SelfCookingCenter XS mini version of its combi oven. The judges said that they were impressed with the tried and tested technology which was fitted into a smaller footprint with no compromise on quality.
Meiko’s UPster rack transport dishwashers brought the manufacturer its success, with judges’ comments including: “It’s a great-looking ergonomic unit. We are impressed that Meiko has integrated high level innovation into an entry level machine.”
For Carpigiani, it was its Ready ice cream maker receiving top honours. Judges added that they were pleased to see this stalwart of the sector still pushing innovation forward.
The final gold winner, MCS Technical Products, triumphed for the FlashGRILL. The judging panel loved the flexibility of the grill from what they described as an innovative company.
Winning the silver awards were Middleby UK, PKL Group, Reco-Air Halton and Apicbase.
Middleby was rewarded for its Let’s Cook Cloud Solution – a cloud ecosystem which enables real-time overview of an oven fleet. The judges were impressed by the solution’s wide-ranging connectivity.
The Garbage Guzzler anaerobic waste digester proved successful for PKL, with judges commenting that it was great to see an innovation with strong eco credentials.
Reco-Air Halton grabbed a silver for its Reco-Air ventilation recirculation system, with the judges welcoming the manufacturer continuing to invest in innovation.
Apicbase was honoured for Apicbase NV – its food management software and food photography studio. Judges appreciated that this back of house technology is moving innovation forwards.
Finally the two bronze award winners comprised Retigo and True Refrigeration.
Retigo’s new generation of Vision combi ovens proved popular with the judges, who loved the programmable touch control panel and the customisation options.
While True’s new Refrigerated Prep Table was also rewarded, with judges saying: “It is great to see a top refrigeration company still innovating, and the unit’s flexibility is a big plus.”