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Blodgett Responds to Cooking S.O.S. with HydroVection Oven

By Lee Davis

My father was career Navy. I grew up hearing dinnertime stories about how bad the military food was. He frequently shared nicknames that sailors would give to some of the Navy’s more popular recipes.  Those nicknames would usually make my mother cringe, us kids giggle, and probably can’t be repeated here. So what do you do when the US Navy decides to upgrade their aircraft carrier kitchens, and puts out an S.O.S. calling for a space saving oven that does everything a convection or combi oven will do … at half the price? Well, Blodgett built them one, and why not? Don’t our men and women in uniform deserve top quality grub?

The oven is called the HydroVection. Chef Timothy Klauder of Blodgett showed me the oven and explained how it really differs from a convection or a combi oven. It’s a hybrid, and perhaps a completely new equipment category. “Think of it as half way between a convection and a combi,” said Chef Klauder. It uses a four speed auto-reversing fan for convection, and creates an optimal air flow pattern for a high quality bake. But it also can add up to 30% steam into the cooking environment, and that’s what makes it different from a convection oven. The steam accelerates cooking speed, adds moisture, and increases product yield.

“The only thing you can’t do with this oven,” said Chef Klauder, “is bulk steam, and that’s the main thing that differentiates it from a combi.” It doesn’t have a boiler or a steam generator. Blodgett uses the same steam injection system that they previously developed for their highly rated bakery ovens, only adapted to this application. If you don’t need bulk steam, or you already have a dedicated steamer, then this is a more economic option to get hot air baking and roasting with humidity.

The other thing that makes the HydroVection different from a full sized combi is its size. It was designed for aircraft carriers. It’s a space saver. That means it has less capacity, but that also means it is less expensive to build. It can still handle five standard full sized baking pans and is stackable. That was enough to convince KFC to choose it for their “grilled chicken” line. A la carte chefs love it for cooking speed, moisture retention, and rapid temperature recovery. Dunkin Donuts chose it for bagels and muffins. According to Chef Klauder, schools and bakeries are embracing the oven as well.

Now available in gas as well as electric, the HydroVection has some other great features as well. It has a cavity vent control that allows you to release steam at the push of a button. It allows timed or probe cooking. It has a retractable hand shower to make cleaning easier. It has optional touchscreen controls with a MenuSelect option that can hold programming for up to 99 recipes, includes Cook & Hold capability and a USB port. This is a highly versatile, simple to use and easy to clean oven with many additional features and options. Thank the US Navy for the call, and thank Blodgett for providing a great response.

For a spec sheet on the HydroVection HV-100E, click here.

Click here to watch Chef Gavin Kaysen, Executive Chef of Café Boulud, New York demonstrate the oven.

More information and literature is available at Blodgett.com.

What are your impressions of the HydroVection oven? Do you have any mess hall stories from the military?