One of the main problems in all commercial kitchens around the world is heat. Professional chefs and line cooks are exposed to high temperatures all day, which can increase stress levels and fatigue. Additionally, kitchen staff can experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke if the environment is not managed correctly.
Air conditioning can only do so much, but luckily there are other ways to beat the heat. Many creative kitchen staffs around the world have tested out these tricks to handle heat. Implementing them in your own kitchen can improve your chefs’ well-being, productivity, and morale.
Ventilation and circulation are two foundational principles of airflow that you can use to keep your space cool. Ventilation refers to fresh air coming in, while circulation means the air is moving around. Installing electric fans can increase circulation in your kitchen, which will help it feel cooler.
Be careful with where you place your fans. You don’t want them to accidentally cool down hot food or blow ingredients onto the floor.
Especially in summer, any sunlight can rapidly increase the kitchen’s internal temperature. In this case, applying coverings on the windows can be an easy solution to decrease the heat. This is especially important for the workstations located closest to the windows.
Some window coverings block the light completely, leaving you in a blacked-out cave, while others only minimize the amount of light. Which style you choose may depend on the amount of electric lighting in your kitchen and the attitude of the staff.
It is no news that drinking water is important, especially when you’re sweating a lot. It can prevent serious health concerns such as heat stroke. However, it is easy for chefs to forget to drink enough water, especially during busy service times.
Setting up a number of drinking stations around the kitchen can work as helpful reminders for the staff and also streamline the supply of water for everyone. Coffee may give you energy to start the day, but water is what will keep your body going!
Upgrade Your Grill
Appliances such as grills, ovens, and cookers run at high temperatures all day, radiating heat into the kitchen. Upgrading your equipment can be an extremely helpful way to minimize the heat.
Invest in a well-insulated commercial grill that keeps the heat inside, instead of radiating outward. This simple implementation will help your chefs feel more at ease around a grill that they will be using all day long. And you’ll save on your energy bill!
Have Meetings in the Walk-In Cooler
Have you ever lingered in the walk-in refrigerator to escape the heat? You can take advantage of the cool space by having staff meetings there. It can help your chefs start the day refreshed and energized. You could also allow your chefs to make regular stops there to cool down during the hottest times of the day.
If you opt for implementing this tip, make sure that you are still adhering to all food safety regulations and guidelines.
Ditch the Uniform
Back kitchens in particular struggle with temperature regulation, as ventilation and air circulation are limited. However, they have the distinct advantage of not being visible to customers, so a uniform is less essential.
Especially during the hottest times of year, you might consider allowing your cooks to wear shorts and t-shirts. This will increase their level of comfort and productivity. They could also try cooling aids such as wet and frozen bandanas.
Keeping a commercial kitchen cool is no easy task, but it is an important one. It will keep your staff happy and productive, which gives business a boost. We hope these simple tips will help your kitchen staff beat the heat!