How to Keep Your Kitchen Cool

12:53 pm

Commercial kitchens get hot at the best of times. Whether it's the oven range or fryer pumping out heat, it doesn't take much for a kitchen to get uncomfortable to work in. Is there anything you can do to cool off? Let's find out.

1. Use Induction

 Induction Cookers from Nisbets
Almost exclusively, your cooking machines are the main culprits for pumping out heat. Use induction cookers where you can. Induction hobs are the most common type, although induction fryers are also available.

As all the energy is transferred directly to the pan, there's much less heat to escape into the kitchen. A handy side benefit is that induction cookers are far more economical to run in comparison to gas or electric hobs, so you save money in the long run too.

2. Check Your Extraction

 Commercial Extraction from Nisbets
Once heat has been generated, it's got to go somewhere. Many professional kitchens do this with commercial extraction. When a kitchen is first designed, the extraction is fitted according to the machines being installed. Things change though - you might have installed a new solid top, or doubled up your frying capacity. It's possible your extraction isn't keeping up with the new demand.

You probably won't need to replace the extraction though. It could just need cleaning more regularly. Perhaps it just needs the fan speed adjusted to reflect the heat, grease and steam being produced.

Alternatively, re-positioning more demanding appliances to a more central position under the extraction could help too. If you are using a dishwasher, use a condenser hood to capture the steam escaping into the kitchen.

3. Use Your Lid

It's so easy to let pots and pans boil away without a lid on. All that heat and steam can quickly get around the kitchen. It sounds simple, but where possible use a pan lid - it saves energy and brings pans up to temperature faster too.

4. Vent Off

 Chef Works Cool Vent Chef Uniform
Part of staying cool in the kitchen is wearing appropriate chef wear. Many chef jackets, such as Chef Works Cool Vent jackets include special breathable technology which helps to draw heat and moisture away from the body. If it's really hot, you can cool chef jackets by rubbing ice cubes across the venting on the back. It might be a bit wet, but you'll quickly cool down!

5. Prep In Advance

Rather than the usual vegetable prep, perhaps there's some cooking which can be done in advance too? By moving some of the cooking to cooler hours, there's less heat to generate when it gets really hot. Perhaps you can sous vide some of your dishes, or simply vacuum pack some pre-cooked dishes for warming up later where possible.

6. Take It Outside

Maybe you don't need to cook in the kitchen at all. There's a very good reason barbecue sales in the UK have risen by 723% this summer. Simply put, during hot weather, people love eating outside. And what better way to offer al fresco food than delicious barbecue fare? There's lots of cooking options available, from space-saving OzPigs to fully commercial, high capacity Buffalo folding barbecues.

If you don't have an outdoor dining or cooking area, you can still produce similar results without making too much heat. Consider using a professional food smoker or charcoal oven.

7.Visit The Walk-In

 Cold Rooms from Nisbets
Ok, so cleaning out the cold room doesn't strictly count as keeping your kitchen cool. Still, if you've got one, a visit to the walk-in fridge or freezer is a good quick fix for cooling down fast.

If all else fails..

Even if you do all of the above, on a hot day your kitchen can still get uncomfortably hot. If all else fails, remember the most important advice: stay hydrated.

A busy chef in hot conditions can lose over 3 litres of body water in a single service so make sure to drink water, lemonade, or whatever it is you need to keep hydrated and cooking. Look out for each other too. If you see the signs of dehydration in a team member (fatigue, dizziness or confusion), give them the time and space they need to recover.

By David Evans


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