Keeping a Commercial Kitchen Cool on Hot Days: How Do You Do It?
There is no doubt that a busy commercial kitchen can be a hot one. With so many ovens and stoves being used simultaneously, and so many people running around in a busy kitchen, there is certainly a lot of heat generated.
One of the ways that Chefs and cooks keep cool in a hot kitchen is by wearing a uniform. These Chef coats, cook shirts, Chef pants and hats are made of special fabric which is heat and flame resistant, and is usually made from 100% cotton or cotton/polyester mixed fabrics and are highly breathable, and able to keep the wearer cool in a hot environment.
Their design helps provide ventilation and air flow and helps them to be comfortable while working. Since working in a hot kitchen can generate sweat, the hats worn by these staff members, such as beanies and skull hats, are highly absorbent and will prevent any such contaminants from falling into the food they are preparing.
In addition to providing the kitchen staff with suitable clothing like breathable and comfortable Chef coats and Cook Shirts, what else can a restaurant or hotel owner do to keep a hot kitchen cool? Here are a few suggestions.
1. HVAC Units –
HVAC units are heating, ventilation and air conditioning units which are installed in the restaurant and provides temperature control and ventilation even to the back of house areas such as the kitchen. Such systems which are efficiently and effectively installed by a professional, can even prevent dust and other contaminants from entering the restaurant from the outdoors, and also helps keep the food in the kitchen under the right required temperatures. These systems also prevent any food odors from travelling out of the kitchen and spreading around the restaurant.
2. Air curtains –
Air curtains are ideal for those areas which have strong breezes such as restaurants close to the beach or those is cooler climates. They are automatically activated when a door is opened and the air flow works as a block between the door and kitchen, preventing any insects etc from entering inside, so that you can keep the doors open to let in the cool air and still prevent outside contaminants from entering your kitchen.
3. Screens –
By installing screens it allows the restaurant to keep their doors open to let in the cool breeze in, while still preventing unnecessary pests and insects from entering the premises. When installing screens though it must be remembered that they must be made to fit snugly into the window or door frame and not leave any gaps around it, which will allow for insects and other pests to enter.
4. Exhaust Hoods –
Good quality exhaust hoods can keep the kitchen very much cooler, by removing any heat and smoke from the inside. Many commercial kitchens install exhaust hoods for this purpose.
In addition to these areas which a restaurant owner or management can help with to keep the kitchen cool during hot days, kitchen staff have also found innovative ways in keeping cool in a hot kitchen. These are:
Constantly hydrating –
Hydration is very important for those working in a hot environment and it is highly recommended that kitchen staff constantly drink sufficient amounts of water to keep their bodies from dehydrating under such conditions. Not drinking enough water can also make workers dizzy and faint, and hence it is important to stress the need for regular hydration among employees.
Walk-in freezers and coolers –
Almost all commercial kitchens have walk-in coolers and freezers where they store the fresh meats, vegetables and other food items that should be kept under specific cool temperatures. One way that many kitchen staff keep cool on hot days is to visit the walk-in freezer or cooler often, and cool down a bit. Just remember not to get yourself locked inside though!
Other methods –
Some kitchen staff even resort to more unique methods to keep cool, such as cooling a wet towel in the refrigerator and wrapping it round their necks. Others may roll up their sleeves, or the legs of their pants, or even resort to wearing very unique clothing for uniforms, such as shorts. Shorts and cook shirts or t-shirts have become very popular among kitchen staff who work in very hot climates and exotic locations.
Those working in the cooking industry certainly command a lot of respect and honor for their jobs, due to the long working hours they have to endure as well the harsh and sometimes quite difficult circumstances under which they carry out their jobs of providing exquisitely tasting food to their customers.
These people hardly have time for their own meals during a busy work day, and simply make do with a quick salad or sandwich while working. So, the next time you come across a Chef or cook, give them an appreciative smile for the hard work they do, to give us an exceptional dining experience!