Celebrations were in the air last night at the cocktail reception for the 2013 Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients. While attendees have been abuzz browsing the equipment, rich with potential to help them work smarter and better, the KI judges gathered together to see the innovations that they so diligently selected and enjoy the special camaraderie amongst one another.
Senior manager design and standards, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
It's a great honor to be a judge and work with individuals within the industry with such talent and creativity. It's been a surreal experience this year serving as both a judge for the KI Awards as well as receiving the FE&S Hall of Fame award. It's a full circle moment to be recognized for your achievements while celebrating the latest innovations of today. It was completely unexpected. I was shocked, and it's definitely a career highlight.
Principal, Restaurant Industry Solutions
We are advancing the industry by discovering and promoting innovations that are accessible to the operator today. In the past, exposure to the latest advancements in the industry was only achievable through the manufacturer's marketing. With the KI Awards, we as an independent panel of judges recognize true innovation so it's an opportunity to see a snapshot of our collective research and due diligence to validate true innovation with the award recipients.
Managing partner, Ricca Newmark Design
From a consulting perspective, the KI Awards continue to push me forward to find creative solutions for manufacturers that can be immediately implementable. For example, lots of equipment has sustainability elements, but it's hard to put all those innovations together. Every KI award recipient who pushes the industry forward with a new sustainable advancement is another spoke in completing that wheel. KI pushes our industry to be on the cutting edge and continue to raise the bar. It has allowed manufacturers to understand that it's crucial to invest in research and development.
Chief, F&B Research and Development, HQ, Air Force Services Agency (HQ AFSVA)
I have a unique perspective in being from the military. I get so much out of this seeing a behind-the-scenes look at the new innovations. Specifically in our industry, it's important for us to use government funding to match the industry standard for innovation and efficiency. It was also a great honor to work with this panel of judges to really define innovation. We all have similar but very differential needs for our respective industry sectors. This year, it was especially gratifying to winners here with products that were developed initially for a military need. We sold them on the value of submitting for the KI Awards and they are now exposing their product to other foodservice sectors.
William Eaton, FFCSI
Chairman of the board, Cini-Little International
It's hard to believe that 10 years ago, I was sitting in a bar in Washington D.C. at 7 a.m. during the Food Safety Show with Alan and Jeff outlining the idea for the KI Awards. It's like watching your kids go off to college to see how the awards have grown to what they are today. This year is the most award recipients that we have ever accepted. We go through such am intense evaluation process for the award recipients, that now it’s become more than just making something better, it's defining true innovation. Also, to have the support of the NRA Show team has been tremendous and allowed us as judges to be extremely productive in our evaluation of the award recipients.