Foodservice equipment pioneer McKee shares his secrets and inventionsDownload Article
Phil McKee is one of the most prolific inventors in the appliance industry. In 1991 he co-founded TurboChef® Inc. where he and his team created the original TurboChef oven and pioneered the Accelerated Cooking (combination hot air and microwave) sector. McKee served as TurboChef’s CEO, President and CTO.
Mr. McKee has been awarded more than 30 patents in diverse areas of the foodservice and appliance industries, ranging from cooking to restaurant operations to warewashing. His inventions are used around the globe, benefiting millions of consumers every day.
In 2007, Mr. McKee returned to the Accelerated Cooking sector with the development of the Planar Plume cooking technology – which was purchased by Manitowoc in 2010. Two years later, Planar Plume was honored with the prestigious Kitchen Innovations® 2012 Award presented by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®.
In early 2011, McKee and his team turned their creative energy toward traditional (non-microwave) cooking. The Ovention® Matchbox® and Shuttle® ovens represent the revolutionary next generation result of those efforts. The Matchbox 1718 was honored with the Kitchen Innovations Award in 2013, the Shuttle in 2014 and the Matchbox M360 in 2015.
By 2016 McKee and his technical development team, led by Scott Smith, were working on a new cooking technology to replace traditional convection with revolutionary Structured Air Technology™. The resulting multi-cook ovens were introduced at NAFEM 2017 as Alto-Shaam Vector™ Ovens. These Appliance Innovation Ovens were honored with the Kitchen Innovations Award in 2017 by the National Restaurant Association, becoming the 5th Appliance Innovation oven technology to be honored in the last 7 years.
The integrity and reliability of products developed by the Appliance Innovation team is legendary, and the latest generation of award-winning ovens raises the bar higher than ever.
Scott Smith has worked in new product development his entire career, and has been awarded six patents for his work across multiple industries.
In June of 2008, Scott brought his skills and experience to the food service industry. His first role was as Director of Operations at Appliance Scientific, the forerunner of Appliance Innovation. He was responsible for managing the design, certification, and initial manufacturing of the planar plume technology. After the sale of the technology to Merrychef®, a division Manitowoc Foodservice, Mr. Smith oversaw the transition of product manufacturing to Fort Wayne Indiana. At the completion of the project, Mr. Smith was named President of Appliance Innovation.
When the company began development of the Ovention® product line in March of 2011, it added the capability to laser cut , bend, and fabricate sheet metal. This greatly reduced the lead time required for prototyping and building field test units. Mr. Smith’s responsibilities grew to include the in-house fabrication and assembly of products along with an increased role in sales and customer service. After the sale of the Ovention ovens to the Hatco® Corporation, Scott Smith again led a transition of design and manufacture, this time to the Hatco team in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Mr. Smith continues to help lead our team of scientists and engineers.