Host 2011 International Exhibit Lessons Learned


Cooking Suites maximize space usage and increase efficiency. (Photo courtesy of Bonnet)

Last month Doc Kitchens and his team attended the Host 2011 International Exhibit in Milan, Italy, one of the largest trade shows of foodservice equipment in Europe and probably the world. While we certainly couldn’t experience the whole show in the time that we had, we saw many things that will inspire us the next time we do a project here or abroad.

  • Cooking Suites: We saw lots of cooking suites, which are very popular in Europe. They allow the cooking to be brought out to the customer’s view while allowing the chefs to easily communicate across the equipment. In addition, the configuration of cooking suites allows cooks to stay in their station as  the plate passes from station to station, instead of having one cook in charge of all the plate’s contents. Cooking suites provide increased efficiency and maximized space.  They are highly customizable to accommodate any menu as well as extremely energy efficient. For more information on European cooking suites, see this article.
  • Combi Ovens: We also saw many brands of combi ovens. Combi ovens bring together various technologies including convection, convection with moisture, steam, re-thermalizing or a combination of any of the above.  While combi ovens are used in the States, it is evident from the Host 2011 show that they are more widely used in Europe. Since varying cooking methods can be combined in one unit, fewer individual pieces of equipment are required in the kitchen. Combi ovens prepare food quickly and are excellent for high production environments. While operators are sometimes hesitant to use such a complex piece of equipment, once they receive the training required, they typically find that they love it and can’t imagine their kitchen without it.
  • Aesthetics and Efficiency: European equipment, no matter what the function, tended to have clean, organic lines compared to most American equipment. Items that may be seen by the customer came in a variety of color options to add interest to the open kitchen environment. Efficiency and energy consumption were common themes throughout the show. For example, we saw many equipment pieces that had dual functions, such as the kettle that was also a mixer, which allows foods to be cooked from start to finish in one unit without any food transfer.

Visiting another country is enlightening; you see how others live, work, and design. While there were many differences, there were certainly many similarities too. We can learn from our trip and our observations at the Host 2011show and use those ideas and inspiration to assist with our projects no matter where they may be.