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2013 equipment round-up

High-tech or not-so-high tech, this year’s crop of new restaurant equipment is bound to ease both back-of-house and front-of-house operations.

High-tech
Temperature probes and electronic control panels have become standard on many ovens. Now that same sophisticated technology is being used in the new Blast Chiller with Epicon from Traulsen. Upon insertion of a temperature probe into food, the chiller launches an auto-start function to bring the food quickly down to 37°F. The chiller also features a touch-screen operating panel and programmable memory.

A major part of every server’s job entails the payment—dropping off the check, picking up the credit card, processing it and returning card and receipt. But the Rail system from Viableware puts many of those functions directly in the hands of diners. This “digital bill folder” contains a touch screen and credit card swipe device that allow diners to calculate tips, split bills, process their own credit or debit card payments (through an encrypted system) and send a receipt to themselves.

For some time, digital technology has been used in wine cabinets to maintain temperature, ensuring longer life and better flavor. The new Dual-Zone Wine Dispenser and Cooler from Vinotemp creates two different climate zones in one cabinet. The upper section displays and dispenses wines from up to four different bottles, using nitrogen or argon gas capsules to keep the wine from oxidizing. The lower section holds unopened bottles at any selected temperature between 40° and 65°F.

Not-so-high-tech
The Spin Zester may be the oddest-looking implement ever to win an NRA Kitchen Innovation award. Consisting primarily of three sharp prongs, a Microplane-style curved blade and a handle, this gadget updates the classic citrus zester with greater speed and efficiency. Impale an orange or lemon on the prongs, turn the handle and in about 10 seconds, the zest is removed, leaving the bitter white pith.

For operations making a large volume of thick spreads, such as hummus or nut butters, scraping down the blender can be time-consuming. The lid of the new Twister Jar from Blendtec features “scraper” tines that run down the inside of the jar. As the blender pushes the pureed food onto the sides, the user rotates the lid, moving the food back into the blending vortex for thorough blending.

The mobile GoCart from Delfield manages to pack in a surprising number of features. “Gull-wing” side panels, with an integrated rain gutter system, open up over the cart to provide shelter from bad weather. A built-in CD/MP3 player and speaker system adds an entertainment element. On the practical side, the cart system offers a number of cooking, chilling and storage drop-ins as options.

The Stealth Fly Station pest control panel from Ecolab is a simple idea—if you can stop flies outside your operation, they won’t make it inside. “Stimulating” characteristics—such as color and reflectiveness—attract flies to the panel, which is mounted on the outside of the building. The flies come in contact with a chemical agent on the panel, and carry it (and themselves) away from the restaurant.

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