Tomorrow’s kitchens cook up a storm

Tomorrow’s kitchens cook up a storm


The most valued entity when it comes to commercial kitchens is space, which today is necessitating a re-evaluation of the equipment needed. Here, technology plays a central role in optimizing the existing setup

Though this may sound straightforward enough, there exist plenty of individual moving parts that could make or break the entire operation. Topping the list of subjects are issues such as reducing labor, decreasing food waste, cutting down power/water consumption and maximizing kitchen space for optimal operation.

To achieve these aims, owners/operators of F&B outlets need to consider investing in remote-controlled equipment, offering smart cooking technology to alleviate the stress of preparing highly time-sensitive recipes and guarantee perfect and consistent results every time.

Another major built-in function deserving serious consideration is the multi-combi equipment that serves several major functions. Thanks to their design, these pieces allow room for other essential equipment, while also eliminating the need to move from one device to another, thereby allowing the user to better focus on the task at hand. Also, given that in a commercial kitchen, the various types of dishes require different cooking styles, chances are that a combi device is capable of processing most of these. Another point worth considering is that due to the constant need to save on space, some manufacturers now offer models that are stackable and operate vertically, rather than utilizing horizontal workspace.

With open kitchens becoming the norm, it would be wise to consider investing not only in a machine capable of fulfilling all possible culinary scenarios, but one that also looks visually appealing, without sacrificing function. This kind of setup also communicates transparency and cleanliness, while allowing for a more personal eating-out experience.

Considering that in all probability, most of these machines will be operating at least 18 hours a day, it would be wise to select items that are EnergyStar certified. One of the most reputed industry standards, this certification means machines have been rigorously tried and tested to withstand the harshest of conditions.

HN interviewed a selection of owners, manufacturers and importers of some of the finest machinery on the market, while also exploring some of the trends fueling demand for heavy kitchen equipment, and the initiatives, projects and products worth highlighting.


“Suppliers, especially those of big brand, heavy kitchen equipment will tell you that the past year was a tough one for business, with sales down, and worse still, the collection of fees owed having a detrimental impact, both locally and regionally. Furthermore, new regional unrest, coupled with inflation, has tremendously affected the major industry players, many of whom have experienced a drop in sales of between 15 and 20 percent.

Ironically, however, 2017 was the best year in a long while for us, producing a 15 percent growth margin compared to the previous year. In terms of ongoing projects, I’m happy to report that we won the pitch for a famous Parisian brand named ‘Un Dimanche a Paris’, a bakery, patisserie and restaurant opening in the UAE. We are also outfitting a new Fauchon factory and shop, in addition to the famous organic bakery ‘Chambelland’. As these developments indicate, I believe bakeries and organic/vegan stores are very much on trend in 2018.

In terms of new local developments, we are witnessing plenty of focus on newly opened neighborhood convenient stores and minimarkets, having worked on about 30 this year ourselves. Small snack outlets and specialty butcher shops are also trending. It’s noticeable that these small shops were operating quite well until about 10 years ago, when large supermarkets started cropping up everywhere, forcing them to close due to their inability to compete. However, these small outlets are now regaining popularity because people are avoiding the lure that supermarkets offer in terms of product diversity and, instead, opting to buy the bare necessities rather than indulge in products that they may or may not use. As a result, shopping habits have changed from buying consumables for an entire week from a supermarket to purchasing products from minimarkets two or three times a week. This affects the important psychological factor of impulse buying, which in small outlets is dialed down to a minimum. Furthermore, people often find it more convenient to walk to the neighborhood store than get in the car and navigate through traffic to a supermarket and back again.

Looking at what’s ahead, the projects earmarked for launch in the near future are fairly significant, although the profit margins are quite small. This is driving a fierce price war, further decreasing our margins. Yet despite this harsh reality, the established market players are continuing to compete with each other, so as to keep their businesses afloat.”

Fadi Rizk
Managing Partner
Jessica S. Ayoub
Operations Manager


Refrigerated display cases include the most developed line of appliances in IGLOO’s offer, adjusted in terms of style, color, and size to a wide range of clients. All appliances are used to store and display meat, cold cuts, dairy products, fish, and other food products requiring adequate cooling.


Established in 1969, TOMADO is a Lebanese strategic business advisor for importing and manufacturing industrial kitchen equipment used in the hospitality, health and retail industries. The company boasts an impressive client list, which includes local and international restaurant chains, supermarkets, bakeries, universities, hospitals, hotels and embassies.

With close to 50 years of experience, the brand has grown to become one of the country’s most trusted, go-to suppliers offering a host of unrivaled products and expertise to meet the most discerning client demands. With a modern manufacturing facility, TOMADO translates any vision into reality by planning, designing and implementing all aspects related to the mechanical and technological functions of the requested hardware.

In terms of talking points, 2018 has brought with it a special machine VARIO by Igloo, a Polish manufacturer specializing in commercial refrigeration equipment for the food sector. The featured supermarket multideck refrigerator unit has been specifically designed to enable users to customize it based on need by installing, removing or even readjusting the various parts without completely disassembling the base structure. It can be powered using an external unit and has dynamic cooling and electronically commutated energy-saving fans.

Other highlights include: energy-efficient ventilators that reduce power consumption by 50 percent; the use of environmentally friendly, all-natural refrigerant solutions; highly efficient dual air curtains; and great product visibility through its energy-efficient, LED illumination system. These features not only ensure that what goes into the unit remains as fresh as possible, but also significantly reduces the risk of food wastage.”


Opening a restaurant or a hotel today not only requires knowhow, but also innovation in the concept, image, menu and presentation to name just a few areas. This trend calls for a multi-functional, high-performance cooking block and the Angelo Po ICON 9000 is as iconic as it gets. The brand is a market leader in the design and production of complete systems for the global catering industry, thereby delivering solutions of superior quality, in keeping with the most innovative trends and helping chefs achieve outstanding results. Best of all, it is the only modular cooking system that makes optimal use of space due to its incredible composition that, in addition to its conventional side-by-side modules, includes multifunctional elements above and below the top, making your kitchen less cramped and more productive.
The standard for this range is 2 mm in thickness for the top part with the option to alter it to 3 mm as per international consultants’ requirements. Furthermore, the range allows the expansion of its 3D operational space thanks to its complete modular composition.

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Moreover, the ICON 9000 offers an all-in-one solution, which speeds up preparation and cooking time, with the multi-functional upright equipped LEDs, gastro-norm trays, pan racks and high-performance cooking modules. The user is also afforded the ability to cook in advance, then keep all dishes in perfect condition until serving, by using the two-fan oven. Lastly, the option to use the cook and chill technique allows for better planning of the available food stock to achieve unsurpassed food quality. Best of all, the chef can reconfigure the entire block, based on each kitchen team’s specific requirements, further facilitating the workflow.

To reduce stress, fatigue and any physical discomfort, this machine offers every user what is called the Chef Comfort-Pro system, which creates an invisible barrier between the cooking zone and the chef by reducing the heat coming from the appliance. This airflow system also effectively drives fumes and unpleasant smells towards the hood, as well as reducing energy wastage. Another useful feature is the nanotechnology grill that facilitates grease and fat run-off for easier cleaning, in turn reducing the use of chemical cleaning products by 20 percent.

Carine Faissal Boustani
Managing Director
Equip’Hotel Kitchen
and Laundry Equipment
Simon Parke-Davis
Managing Director
RATIONAL Kitchen and Catering Equipment Trading FZCO


“The brand set a new standard with the recently launched combi-steamer SelfCookingCenter® and CombiMaster® Plus models, as well as with the latest network solution for professional kitchens, ConnectedCooking, which once again provide myriad benefits to clients.

Another innovation is the multi-functional cooking device VarioCooking Center® 112L, which fills a gap in the existing range and meets our customers’ wish for a powerful, space-saving, multifunctional model with a 50-litre capacity. These new products not only guarantee quality and consistency, but also come with the manufacturer’s after-sale services to ensure continued flawless operation. The RATIONAL product line and support network is able to deliver maximum customer benefit to all regions in the Levant and GCC. With the highest level of quality, innovation and fair pricing, there is no reason to look outside of the RATIONAL solutions box when searching for instruments that deliver excellence and quality every time to your guests in a hassle-free fashion.”


“Having invented, in 1976 the first combi-steamer, this year, Rational, Solarco’s Middle Eastern business partner, presented the recently launched SelfCookingCenter® and CombiMaster® Plus models, which once again significantly increase customer benefit. Another innovation is the VarioCooking Center® 112L, which fills a gap in the existing range and meets customers’ wish for a powerful, space-saving multifunctional model, with 50-liter capacity. Furthermore, all Rational’s customers now have access to the world’s most advanced networking solution for professional kitchens, namely ConnectedCooking. This solution opens up numerous possibilities for making everyday kitchen work safer, simpler and more convenient.”

Eric Jureidini
Chairman and GM
Carl Sabounjian
Head of Business Development


“Renowned for its constant drive of innovation, this year, Vresso has plenty to celebrate. After moving its production facility from Jal El Dib to Dora and expanding its showroom, it now includes an advanced cooking center, showcasing the latest equipment and a new space for demonstrations. The showroom is divided into three different sections – gelato, pastry and chocolate – with its own dedicated laboratory, inviting all chefs to collaborate and learn together. A new fully-equipped bar can host competitions, demonstrations and events. We also have the company’s live kitchen used to fully illustrate all of the available products in real time, as well as offering training sessions.

We aim to provide all of our clients with direct access to a large variety of equipment, concepts and product solutions, to allow for a better understanding of what the most suitable machines are for any given operation. In addition, the space is used to host in-house events, seminars and new product launches. International projects developed and executed in 52 countries include: Lancaster Eden Bay Resort in Lebanon, the Qatar National Museum, the CMC Hospitals in Dubai, Jordan and Riyadh, KSA, as well as the Intercontinental Les Deux Mamelles in Dakkar. This year the company launched a new handmade wood and coal grill, equipped with a lifting mechanism for adjusting the surface height above the cooking zone to facilitate the roasting of different foods. The grill is also the perfect cooking companion, whether in open kitchens, gardens or at private events, due to its unique-looking design features.”


“Since its inception some 11 years ago in Beirut, Fresca has risen to become one of the Middle East’s leading suppliers of the finest European heavy equipment for supermarkets, pastry shops, bakeries, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. In order to insure the outstanding quality and design of its products, Fresca only works with top European suppliers who are always eager to present the latest. To better cement its relationship, Fresca also offers the concerned parties the option of shop design, equipment selection, installation and round-the-clock maintenance to provide the ultimate solutions to any project. In keeping with that promise and based on the clients’ requests, Fresca revolutionized the Italian concept of Gelato and HO.RE.CA field through high-quality raw materials and machinery they proudly presented at the HORECA event last March. And what better way to attract the most attention from curious eyes, other than launching the new gelato ice cream display by Insù which won a much coveted mention at the 2018 edition of the prestigious Red Dot Design Awards. The beautiful designs and outstanding quality of its pastry display cabinets, fridges and freezers, as well as the introduction of the Italian concept of Gelato through raw materials, have allowed Fresca to provide the ultimate solutions for any project. Based on attracting the most attention from curious eyes, this revolutionary ice cream display case allows for the promoted products to be vertically exposed and, in turn, gain more visibility, even from a greater distance. The ice cream display case comes with a compact, low-depth structure, perfectly integrated into the furnishings which are currently available in the market. Not only does this guarantee space optimization, it also creates greater visual communication with the consumer. Made of silk-screened glass frames, the display wall emphasizes the variety of flavors contained in transparent polycarbonate trays, thereby drawing customers’ attention to the ice cream. Each tray is inserted inside an easily removable drawer, making it much easier for the user to empty or replace the various flavors. The triple-glazed showcase, the hermetic closure of the drawers and the absence of ventilation keep the ice cream optimally preserved, limiting the dispersion of refrigerated air and significantly reducing energy consumption.”

Wissam Farhat

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