Electrolux Launches GRO, a Kitchen System Designed to Encourage More Sustainable Eating

Michael Wolf wrote . . . . . . . . .

Can a kitchen’s design help us eat more sustainable, plant-forward diets?

Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux thinks the answer is yes and, to that end, has launched an ambitious new kitchen system concept to help us get there.

Called GRO, the new system is comprised of a collection of interconnected modules that utilize sensors and AI to provide personalized eating and nutrition recommendations. According to the company, the system was designed around insights derived from behavioral science research and is intended to help encourage more sustainable eating behavior based on recommendations from the EAT-Lancet report for planetary health. The company will debut the new system at this week’s EuroCucina conference.

“How can a thoughtful kitchen slowly nudge you to more sustainable choices,” asks Tove Chevally, the head of Electrolux Innovation Hub, in an intro video to the GRO system. “To make the most of what you have, to buy smarter, and eat more diverse?”

Source: The Spoon

Watch video at You Tube (1:32 minutes) . . . . .


Floating Kitchens of Burger King

Jennifer Marston wrote . . . . . . . . .

Now that its apparent even contactless tech won’t bring back the glory days of the dining room, restaurant chains are on a tear to refit their existing stores to better serve to-go formats. Efforts run the gamut, from dumping the front of house altogether to geofencing the premises for faster pickup orders to building more drive-thru lanes.

Burger King just one-upped all those efforts. The decades-old burger chain has has compiled all of the above and then some into a whopper of a design prototype for future restaurants. Per a BK press release from this week, the new design — which hasn’t actually been implemented yet — is meant to serve multiple order and delivery formats and will be 60 percent smaller than a traditional BK location.

Burger King plans to accomplish that with the following:

  • A drive-in area where customers scan a QR code then order and pay through the app. Food is delivered to the car.
  • Curbside delivery and pickup lockers for customers who order ahead via the Burger King mobile app. The only element missing from this is geofencing tech for the curbside service, which other quick service restaurants are now using to speed up operations.
  • On-premises service. No surprise that this will be a much smaller part of the overall plan moving forward. In one design, Burger King swapped out the traditional dining room for a covered patio. See below for the other option.
  • Double- and triple-lane drive-thrus. There will also be a walkup window and a view of the kitchen inside.

Suspended kitchens and dining rooms are by far the most intriguing addition, and one we haven’t yet see from another quick service restaurant. The kitchen and dining room will hang above the drive-thru lane, cutting down on the restaurant’s overall physical footprint. For drive-thru guests, at least, orders are delivered via a conveyor belt system. This particular design also includes a dedicated drive-thru lane for delivery drivers and is, according to the press release, “a 100% touchless experience.”

The first real-life buildout of these designs will be in Miami and the Caribbean in 2021.

And while we wouldn’t expect other quick service restaurants to produce a carbon copy of the design, it does feel that Burger King has raised the bar in terms of both standards and innovation when it comes to reformatting the restaurant experience. Some of the elements, like curbside pickup, are already fully established formats across most quick service restaurants. Others, like triple drive-thru lanes, are more an anomaly. The hanging kitchen is, to the best of my knowledge, unheard of at any other quick service restaurant.

The design does raise some questions around what the company will expect of its franchisees. As we saw last year with McDonald’s, retrofitting stores is an expensive, sometimes frustrating endeavor for franchisees. If Burger King wants this wonder of the QSR world to set the new standard for restaurant chains, it will need to ensure new build outs and existing store updates are as pleasant an experience for franchisees as they seem poised to be for customers.

Source: The Spoon

Gadget: Kitchen Sink Garbage Bag Holder

The price of the holder is 1,100 yen in Japan.

Watch video for details (1:30 minutes) . . . . .

Video: The 500-Year Evolution of Kitchen Design

Watch the evolution of kitchen design over the last 500 years–spanning from 1600s Tudor to Stuart styles, Colonial to Victorian industrializations, and mid-century to modern aesthetics.

Watch video at You Tube (0:49 minutes) . . . . .

What’s the Difference Between an Air Fryer and a Convection Oven?

Danilo Alfaro wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you’re thinking about buying an air fryer, you might be wondering what the difference is between air fryers and convection ovens. The quick answer is, an air fryer is a simply a smaller convection oven with a catchy name.

There is no actual frying going on inside an air fryer—that’s because an air fryer cooks food via convection baking.

With actual deep-frying, your food is directly immersed in hot oil. The oil completely surrounds every inch of the food, so it gets uniformly crispy. With ordinary baking, your food gets less crispy, because baking cooks by surrounding your food with hot air and air is not as good a conductor of heat as oil.

What Is Convection Baking?

Convection baking introduces a fan to the interior of an oven, allowing hot air to be blown around and onto the food. The force of the air thus transfers more heat to the surface of the food, so that it produces more crispiness than an ordinary oven (but still far less than an actual deep-fryer).

So air fryers are, in essence, convection ovens. But that doesn’t mean the two are exactly the same. Let’s talk about what those differences are.

Note that although many oven ranges offer a convection setting, for this discussion, we’re solely comparing countertop convection ovens with air fryers.

What Is a Convection Oven?

A countertop convection oven is built like a standard toaster oven: rectangular in shape with a front door that opens on a hinge at the bottom. How it differs from an ordinary toaster oven is that a convection oven is equipped with a fan, which blows hot air around.

The motion of the air inside the oven is called a convection effect and it results in faster cooking by transferring higher temperatures to the surface of the food as compared with an ordinary oven. So it both accelerates cooking as well as enhances the browning and crisping of the surface of your food.

Like a toaster oven, a convection oven has an interior rack that will fit a sheet pan (preferably a perforated one to allow maximum air flow). Because it’s wide, it allows for the food to be spread out on the rack rather than stacked in layers.

This is crucial, since stacking or layering food impedes the flow of hot air. Arranging the food in a single layer allows for even cooking all around.

What Is an Air Fryer?

Essentially, an air fryer is a smaller, more portable convection oven. Instead of being shaped like a toaster oven, many air fryers are tall, closly resembling a coffeemaker. It has a removable bucket with a handle and inside that bucket, fits a removable basket. This basket is where the food goes. The bucket slides into the device, you turn it on, and it starts to cook. The fan is situated overhead, above a heating element.

Now, because it’s smaller and the fan is closer to the food, an air fryer is able to focus a high amount of heat onto a relatively small cooking area. Which means that an item of food in that cooking area will cook more quickly than it would in a convection oven.

However, because it is smaller, it will only accommodate a fraction of the amount of food that a convection oven will fit. An air fryer will really only cook about two servings at a time—if that.

This means that if you are trying to feed more than one or two people, you’ll have to cook in batches, so that ultimately it may take longer to serve a meal than it would using a convection oven.

This creates a sort of catch-22, since the small size of the basket prevents you from spreading out an even layer of food, so you have to stack your food instead. But by stacking your food, you prevent the hot air from flowing evenly around it, thus defeating the purpose of the convection effect.

Even when used according to the instructions, cooking French fries or onion rings in an air fryer requires you to periodically shake the basket to ensure that all the fries or rings cook evenly. So not only does it take longer to cook (because of having to cook in batches), you also have to physically do more work.

Source: Spruce Eats