5 Hospo Hacks to Help keep you Cool in the Kitchen
As we creep into April, you’ll start to notice the first few signs that summer is almost over. Less barbeques with mates. No more afternoon dips down at the water. For many Australians it’s a tough time watching the temperature drop around this time each year.
But even as the nights get longer and the days get colder, there’s one place where the temperature always remains on high. No, we’re not talking about far north Queensland, we’re talking about the commercial kitchen.
When you consider the amount of people, ovens and open flames that occupy any commercial kitchen it’s easy to see why it gets so hot in there (a dodgy AC unit never helps either). But it’s important for chefs to stay cool and comfortable wherever possible. Outside of state-of-the-art air con there’s a few tricks you can use combat the heat:
1) Drink water. Lots and lots of water.
Staying hydrated is extremely important, and perhaps something that is overlooked at times. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, when working in heat people should be drinking 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes. Although for some this might seem excessive, your performance can suffer as a result of dehydration. So, to be at your peak go for water over the post-mix every time.
2) Get yourself some towels.
Your head is where all the important decision making is done, so it makes sense to keep it cool and clean at all times. One way to do this is by keeping a hand towel rotation to wipe your face with. Keep one towel in cold water to wipe your face with from time to time, and another towel dry to pad your face with afterwards. This is a great way to keep yourself from feeling flush. But whatever you do, don’t pinch the tea-towels at work for this practice! (or at least don’t get caught).
3) Wear something under your whites
Although it seems rather counterintuitive, wearing an undershirt can help you in the long run. A dry-fit undershirt can absorb a lot of the sweat that you excrete from your body, rather than let it drip all over your whites which can lead to discomfort.
4) Maintain your hair
Many chefs will tell you to simply shave your head, for some that might seem a little extreme. However, it is important to maintain your hair in such a way to keep it out of your face, especially the temple and forehead region. Much like wearing an undershirt, sweatbands or bandanas can also help to absorb excess sweat while the body does its best to cool down.
5) When all else fails, get yourself to the walk-in.
People outside of foodservice could never understand the relationship between a chef and the walk-in freezer. Arguably one of the finest culinary inventions of its time, the walk-in provides instant relief for anyone needing to cool down quickly. A couple of minutes in there is the ultimate last resort for anyone feeling the heat. Just make sure you’re at the ready when head chef asks for something from the chiller, because you’ll likely have some stiff competition.
We hope that these tips help you keep cool in the kitchen. If you have any great back of house hacks be sure to let us know on our Facebook page for a chance to feature here!