Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Africa Hot

It's that time of year again when the thermometer passes 90 and the dew point over 60. It's freaking hot in my kitchen! It easily reaches into the low 100's during a hot shift. Conversely in the winter it's freaking cold. We have an old-school ventilation system that doesn't have "make-up air". Hence we have to keep the windows open so the restaurant doesn't have negative air pressure. If we didn't, in the winter we'd suck air down the chimney, thus no fire in the fireplace and in the summer we'd suck the air conditioning out of the dining room. It's already hard enough to cool this big ole building. So we do what cooks have been doing since discovering fire........sweat. After a hot spell we get used to it but it is uncomfortable. I remember last year I woke up Sunday morning after a hot and busy Saturday night with the worst headache of my life and it just wouldn't go away. I thought it was because I had been on the wagon for a few days but after doing some research discovered it was a symptom of dehydration. Geez, that after drinking a six pack of 20oz Gatorades during my shift AND being on the wagon.
To combat the heat we do a couple things: I order Poweraid by the case with our Coke order. We keep it in the cooler and I encourage the boys to take advantage. We also throw some in the freezer for Poweraid slushys. I also just started sporting the latest Chefwear fashion, for lack of a better term, "Capri's", "clam diggers", "high-waters", or "petal pushers". (For all you baby boomers out there) I prefer the term "clam diggers" myself. I remember wearing them as a boy. Hey, they may look funny but they work, It is much more tolerable wearing the mid-calf pant. The added leg ventilation makes a big difference. We also don't wear chef jackets, It is more comfortable wearing the light, white, short sleeved "cooks" shirt than chef whites. Probably due to my lack of formal training and my maverick streak I have never been a fan of chef jackets. However I do keep a nice clean embroidered jacket on hand for when I venture into enemy territory. (The dining room)

If you see me in the dining room this time of year it's probably not because I'm shmoozing with the customers. It's because I'm getting old and it's harder to stand the heat. So if you see some middle aged guy with arctic cammo clam diggers on say hi but please don't make fun of my pants.