FURTHERING GAS COOKING TECHNOLOGY
The Blue Flame Award is a prestigious award given to a gas technology manufacturer for advances that lead to improvements in the food industry. Many awards and acknowledgements are given to chefs and bakers, but without the help of the right appliances, their work would not be quite so deliciously amazing. That’s why the Blue Flame Award takes the time to recognize the one appliance manufacturer that moves cooking appliances forward with a new innovation or outstanding technology.
Technology is constantly making things possible that no one would have believed 25 years ago. When it comes to the kitchen though, it can seem like there is only so far that technology can go. That is what makes those who can think outside the box so remarkable.
We at GFEN know how difficult it is to evaluate the quality and applicability of changes, and so we use several different metrics to help determine who has really helped push the industry forward.
There are three areas that we review to determine the best of the best in the gas food industry:
- Market Acceptance
Each of these areas is taken into consideration during the award deliberation process.
Although it may seem unrelated, marketing is actually a critical aspect of innovation and finding the right audience. Simply doing the same old thing is not what gets people’s attention, particularly when it comes to new technology. We consider the approach taken to marketing a new appliance or innovation because finding the right way to sell a new idea is nearly as difficult as coming up with the idea itself. We also feel it is important to make appliances that are sustainable and economically beneficial. Part of the innovation process is finding the right materials to simplify the process. You need an appliance that is both durable and affordable – and given the work that goes on in the kitchen this can be a phenomenal challenge.
Innovation is one of the primary considerations for the Blue Flame Award – and we love to see a combination of creativity and technology. Most appliances have the same standard features, keeping the growth of cooking technology at a standstill. Your appliance can show that it understands what people need (or better yet – something they never realized they needed). With technology constantly changing, you can show how adept your company is at keeping up with the latest trends. Quality is essential, as well as having a product that is environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Finally, we look at how the appliance pushes technology past the norms. How does it save time and increase productivity? Does it require excessive amounts of energy? Is safety sacrificed in the name of innovation and convenience? We want to know that all of these things have been considered by the manufacturer and that the appliance ensures that users can feel safe as they complete their tasks more effectively with less energy consumption.
The first winner was Market Forge Industries, Inc. for their creation of the ECO-TECH Plus Pressureless Gas Steamer. This particular appliance went well beyond the usual steamer functionality, giving users a way to manage water in a way that reduced the amount of water required by nearly 80%. It was the start of the last decade’s recognition for innovative progress.
While the most recent innovation will probably be of the most interest to manufacturers (after all technology keeps moving forward), there is value in checking out the earlier winners. You may notice that the types of appliances that have won in the past are actually quite varied, from ovens and steamers to griddles and fryers. When it comes to innovation, any gas appliance has room for improvement and positive changes.
- In 2001, the winner was the AccuTemp Products Steam Griddle.
- In 2002, the winner was Ultrafryer™ Systems – Line of Fryers.
- In 2005, the winner was Rinnai America Tankless Water Heater.
- In 2007, the winner was the Market Forge Industries Atmospheric Steamer
- In 2009, the winner was the Middleby Marshall WOW! Oven
- In 2010, the winner was AccuTemp Products Convection Steamer.
- In 2011, the winner was the Frymaster HD1814 fryer.
- In 2012, the winner was the ACS Straight Steam™ Boilerless Steamer
- In 2013, the winner was the Vulcan PowerFry.
- In 2015, the winner was Alto-Shaam CT PROformance™ 7-20 Combitherm®
- In 2016, the winner was the Filterquick™ Frymaster fryer.
- In 2017, the winner is the Royal Range of California™ High Efficiency Deep Fat Fryer
A Brief History
The Gas Foodservice Equipment Network (GFEN) first offered a reward for appliance excellence in 2000, and it was called the Product of the Year Award. It was started to recognize manufacturers who were willing to take risks to improve the gas-fired commercial kitchen industry. A new award was offered in 2007 for those who represent manufacturers in the marketplace. These winners are renowned for their extensive knowledge and respectability within the field.
The Nomination Process
Any company in the industry is more than welcome to nominate themselves. If you think that another company has done an outstanding job, you can nominate them too. Simply go to the GFEN Blue Flame Award page and fill out the lower portion.
Really help your company stand out by striving for the Blue Flame Award. It not only shows customers that you know how to cater to the cooking community, it shows that you know how to think in terms of making their lives easier.