The Commercial Kitchen show’s Innovation Challenge saw more cutting edge catering equipment receive high praise than ever, with over half rating gold.
The trade show, held at London’s ExCeL on 23-24 September, saw its popular Innovation Challenge format return, with 24 advanced products battling it out on the first day of the event to make the shortlist.
Visitors were asked to vote for their favourite kit throughout day one, with the 15 choices polling the highest going forward to the final.
On day two, the shortlisted brands pitched their products in a live session to an expert panel of nine judges comprising: Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron, Café Spice Namaste; Andy Jones, chair, PS100 Group; Phil Shelley, senior operations and policy manager, NHS England; Mark Kendall, commercial director, Cedabond; Benjamin Bartlett, chef, treasurer, The Master Chefs of Great Britain; George McIvor, chairman, The Master Chefs of Great Britain; Alice Bowyer, executive chef, Liberation Group; Amir Ali, culinary innovation and strategy manager, Mitchells & Butlers; and Nick Vadis, culinary director, Compass Group UK.
After the judges deliberated which products should be recognised with which grading, the results were revealed later that day, with eight reaching gold standard, five silver and two bronze.
Commercial Kitchen’s event manager Katie Tyler announced the gold appliances, starting with Environmental Products and Systems’ GreaseShield 3BU grease management system. The judges described it as: “An efficient product for the removal of fats and a huge environmental step forward.”
Next up in the gold stakes was Filta Environmental’s FiltaFog Cyclone grease recovery unit, where judges commented: “A great concept and innovation presented in a simple style.”
The third gold belonged to the Jestic Foodservice Solutions-supplied Icetro ISI-161 slimline soft ice cream machine. Judges said: “It’s a great product, compactible with good capacity, and a great solution for size-limited kitchens.”
Another golden product was Klipspringer’s LazaPort Mono thermometer calibrator, about which the judges said: “It has great connectivity, it’s a great concept and is ideal for consistency.”
MKN SpaceCombi Magic Team stacked combi ovens also struck gold, with the judges praising: “It is compact and energy efficient. This is the perfect space saver with all of the features that most kitchens need.”
Next for gold was Quintex’s Lepido heat exchanger for restaurant ventilation. Judges appraised: “We loved the energy saving and commitment towards net zero, it’s a great solution to a big problem.”
Synergy Grill Technology’s CharGo oven and chargrill took gold too, with the judges noting: “It has so many uses in one unit, great energy saving and great innovation.”
Rounding off the gold rush was Unox’s Multi.Day Hot Vacuum pump. The judges hailed it as: “A really innovative product, fantastic for larger kitchens and hot holding.”
The silver charge was led by Carpigiani’s Synthesis 2, combined gelato maker and display. The judges were really impressed with the product, describing it as: “A clever solution that combines multiple units into one. A great innovation.”
The second silver-rater was the Metcalfe Catering Equipment-supplied Hallde RG-250 diwash vegetable preparation machine. Judges detailed: “It’s a practical and diverse piece of equipment; we love that it is dishwasher-proof.”
Mobilchef’s Foodtainer pop-up container kitchen was next in the silver category. The judging panel felt it was a “brilliant idea, reasonably priced, and a great solution for the growth of dark kitchens”.
Rexmartins’ induction fryer earned silver, with judges saying: “It’s a great innovation for the marketplace, and really commercially savvy.”
Meiko was also awarded silver for its Bottle Washing System. According to the judges: “This sets new targets on capacity and hygiene; it’s a great undercounter solution.”
First to be announced as a bronze winner was Duke Manufacturing’s ReadyFlex hot holding cabinet, of which the judges said: “It’s a great, versatile hot holding solution with great connectivity.”
The other bronze award went to Retigo Black Edition combi ovens, with the judges commenting: “It is a nice-looking durable solution that has a futuristic style at a competitive price.”