Appliances of Science: catering equipment manufacturers unveil latest technologies

CESA Heavy Equipment Forum 2015, October 1, Whittlebury Hall Hotel, Towcester

Compact equipment for smaller kitchens, theatre cooking, lower heat emissions, faster prep and energy saving: these were all prominent themes at the CESA Heavy Equipment Forum 2015. In this period of massive product development, the Forum was used as a sounding board for novel concepts as well as the UK launchpad for several new technologies – ranging from a compact, super-fast combi microwave aimed at coffee shops, to an ozone-based food waste system that reduces water consumption.

“Today is all about increasing knowledge, product training and better communications,” said Simon Frost, chair of CESA, as he opened the Forum. “These are vital elements in helping the catering equipment supply chain serve its customers, and meet their challenges, more effectively.”

This was the second annual Heavy Equipment Forum; organised by CESA, it is supported CEDA, ENSE and Cedabond. It gave representatives from over twenty different organisations, including distributors, dealers and kitchen design houses, the opportunity to see and discuss the latest equipment from fifteen of the catering equipment industry’s leading manufacturers and importers.

Delegates were full of praise for the Forum. “It helps us provide the best possible advice to our clients,” said Darren Sanden, technical director of Aggora. “It’s been very informative, with a wide range of equipment on show.”

Awards for Heavy Duty…

At the end of an intense day the Forum’s gala dinner, attended by over 100 delegates and supporting companies, hosted the Heavy Equipment Awards. The Distributor of the Year, which celebrates the company that has done most to deliver customer satisfaction, went to Lockhart Catering Equipment, for whom sales controller Ian Parsons collected the award. The Outstanding Sales Initiative of the Year, for a company whose marketing initiative increases sales most successfully, went to CES Limited, with Lisa and Lewis Johnston accepting the award. Meanwhile, in a double celebration for Lockhart, the hotly contested Heavy Duty Catering Equipment Salesperson of the Year went to Graham Knott.

Heavy Highlights

The Forum’s fifteen equipment companies showed a thought-provoking and eclectic mix of new and established lines. Here are some of the highlights:

Falcon Foodservice Equipment focused on its new F900 Series. Good looking and practical, it is designed for theatre kitchens and uses a specially developed linking system to provide almost seamless joins between different cooking modules – giving the benefits of a single top and a very competitive price.  

Grande Cuisine talked about using products such as induction to take the heat out of the kitchen.  At the Forum the company showed CAPIC modular products and a variety of Adventys table top induction models, from ‘plug and play’ single phase units to three phase, modular heavy duty appliances.  They included the enhanced BRIC 3000, which features a transparent cooking surface showing the induction mechanism within.   

Victor Manufacturing’s equipment is designed to ‘keep hot food hot and cold food cold.’  A £1.5million investment programme over the last two years has given the manufacturer the ability to produce significantly more equipment. It also enables them to hold more stock and reduce manufacturing lead time.  The Forum product focus was a new table top addition to their Sovereign range of heated drawers, designed for a major high-street chain, it is a compact unit developed to speed up ‘food on the go’ service from the smallest possible footprint. 

The ECO Design Directive’s energy labelling is a huge project for all refrigeration manufacturers, says Gram, with models due to be tested by July 2016. The company is planning several new product launches over the next few months and years, making use of its Superior Generation 5 technology. Gram also announced it would be on CESABIM by the end of 2015.

Wexiodisk focused on its PRM system. This features a hood warewasher with a pre-rinse machine and uses just one litre of water per cycle – at least four times less than conventional systems. The company also showed its new WD-4S undercounter warewasher. Amongst its special features is a refill function, which allows users to dump dirty washwater and refill with fresh, at the touch of a button.

Jestic was another company pushing the small is beautiful concept, with products like the Zumex Soul juicer, which is sleek, compact and fast.  Another initiative was helping operators control food costs by using technology to partly or completely cook overnight and extend the time that cooked products can be held. This means that only the amount of food needed for a particular period has to be made ready for serving. The Henny Penny SmartHold cabinet achieves this using a ‘controlled vapour environment’ that balances moisture and dry heat. 

Williams is developing a wide range of products in advance of the Eco Design Directive energy labelling, with new designs due to be unveiled in the coming months. They will include hydrocarbon versions of the company’s popular Grab and Go Multideck merchandisers. Meanwhile the company has recently launched an off-the-shelf coldroom range and a choice of freezer counters with drawers, the latter offering competitively priced alternatives to the variable temperature drawers on the market.

Specialist combi oven manufacturer Retigo is looking to increase its market share in the UK.  It showed its Orange Vison Extra models, which are well-built entry level units that now include low-consumption automatic cleaning as standard.  Retigo also announced that it has been working on a new generation combi oven, with more energy-saving technologies and what the company says are the easiest controls on the market.  

Rational has recently launched several options for its SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses combi steamer, including a smoker unit, a sous vide feature and an integrated fat tray.  For event caterers there’s a new mobile stand and the options to power a six-grid combi with either single phase or LPG.   ClubRational is the company’s online resource for chefs and has over 80,000 members worldwide.

Electrolux was another company talking about front of house cooking with its Libero mobile cooking centre, which uses induction and is odourless and self-venting. Meanwhile the brand’s HSG Panini grill is super-fast, heating a range of sandwich-type snacks in anything from 30 to 90 seconds. Another product aimed at cafes is a new glasswasher.

First Choice focused its presentations on its Enviropure food waste decomposition systems.  Designed to turn food waste, including bones, into safe grey water in 24 hours or less, they are hugely popular in the USA.  The American manufacturer is now responding to its UK customers’ space issues by developing systems with a smaller footprint.  A new ozone system is also available, which is designed to reduce water consumption during the decomposition process. 

BGl Reiber launched its new ACS 600 Varithek, a highly flexible self-venting hob that has a cooking module that can be easily changed to use for different processes or menus. Designed for front of house cooking, module options include induction, wok and hot holding.   The clever odour filter system can be regenerated by popping into an oven at 200°C for an hour.

Manitowoc also had a Forum launch – the Merrychef e2s combi microwave. Designed for the food to go market, it’s a compact unit that fits the front of house counter. Easy to use and easy to clean, it is twenty times quicker than a conventional oven and can cook a toastie in just 55 seconds. The company also showed the latest Garland induction modules, including a griddle and a bratt pan.

RH Hall was pushing its Smeg range of convection ovens.  The latest model is the ALFA45UK, which features a side-opening door with electronic button opening. It’s based on the best-selling ALFA43UK, which has a drop down door.  Meanwhile the ALFA150 has a refractory stone lining, perfect for cooking pizzas.  It’s ideal for front of house, as the stone heats up to an attractive orange glow. 

Hubbard Systems markets the Scotsman range of ice makers and used the Forum to promote the different types of ice now available to operators – from upmarket gourmet cubes for posh G&Ts to dice cubes for soft drinks in QSRs to ice nuggets for bottomless drinks service. The company also pushed Scotsman’s new ‘Superdice’ – a hybrid that combines the good looks of the gourmet cube, for ice presentation, with a softer structure that’s kinder on blender blades.  

Feedback from the Forum:


Jenny Brooks and Kelly Rushton of Lockhart’s: “It’s our first time and it’s been very informative. It helps open your mind to alternative products on the market. That’s incredibly useful – especially when we need to get the right price for the customer. CESA has organised the event really well.”

Darren Sanden of Aggora: “We bring our office staff, who are providing specs for clients, so they can give the best possible advice. This is the second Forum I’ve come to. It’s been very good – very informative with a wide range of equipment on show.”


Alex Reid of Electrolux: “People have been coming to us today saying they know all about Electrolux – and going away admitting they learnt lots of new things.   We’ve met new potential distributors, too: the Forum’s certainly opened doors for us.”

Simon Aspin of Hubbard Systems: “Ice machines don’t tend to be a major focus in many projects, so this was an excellent chance for us to raise profile with distributors.”

Lawrence Hughes of Falcon: “The Forum was a great opportunity for our customers to see the new F900 first hand, and for us to promote its advanced design features."

Martin Allen of First Choice: “We’re delighted at how today has gone. This event has given us the opportunity to speak to supplier personnel on all levels.”

Malcolm Harling of Williams: “We got to see representatives from a lot of different distributors.  What’s more, many of them were VIPs from across many areas of the business such as estimating, design and purchasing as well as sales.” 

For details of the 2016 Heavy Equipment Forum, contact CESA.

CESA also runs an annual Light Equipment and Tableware Forum. The next one will be at Whittlebury Hall on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 April 2016. For information contact CESA.

The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 170 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit

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Heavy Equipment Forum 2015 reviewOct-15

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The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) represents over 180 companies who supply commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes. Buying equipment and services from a CESA member gives you the security of working with people that will ensure you get professional advice and service.