Friday, June 04, 2010

The Heat

The temperatures here in the Cleveland area have been about 10 degrees above normal the past 6 weeks or so. It seems to rain, no disappearance of the scorching sun needed right about 15 minutes before service. Service being the time when all the heat discharging equipment needs to be on. After a short rain (90% humidity), turning on all the equipment and wiping the sweet of the past four hours of prep from you brow it's time to hunker down for another 5 hours in front of the grill pushing out the kind of heat that turns a one pound raw hunk of meat into a medium-rare steak in about ten minutes.

There comes a time when you contemplate turning the fan off because it just seems to blow hot air on you. Not long after that you find yourself asking for another quart of ice water, but either can't find the few seconds to take a gulp, or you feel so bloated from the past 5 quarts you sucked down it almost hurts to take a sip. I'll spare you the amount of liquid your clothes can absorb, the chafing, or where the drips of sweet tend to drop. Of course this is nothing new for us, but it is a smack in the face comes this time of year when people actually stop complaining about the snow. Oh how I would love to see, "flurries" in the forecast later in the week.

It's part of the job, part of the challenge, part of what going to work as a chef and going home with a sense of fulfillment entails.The funny part comes when Kari cooks dinner for me at home. A very nice gesture and great meal prepared. But with only two burners going and the window wide open she says to me, "God it's hot in here. I don't know how you do it all day." That comment brought a huge smile to my face and a good night’s sleep.

2 comments:

Scott Sebastian said...

You just FREAKED ME OUT!!!! I was just going to post "The Heat" on my blog when I saw your headline on my dashboard. Damn! I'm totally out of the mood now.

I'll say this, every young chef who's walked into my kitchen has had trouble coping with the heat. I guess alot of today's kitchens are temperature controlled? I've got a kitchen (circa 1950) that gets hot. The the meat thermo hanging on the line often hits 115. In the winter it's like 60. It's just starting to ramp up now.

Michael Walsh said...

Scott, I'll be looking forward to your take on the heat.

The heat in the kitchen is definatly one of those 'rights of passage' things all cooks must go through. I have worked in some scorchers, but we are lucky right now since the boss is gererous with the a.c. It helps alot during prep, but once the grill and fryer go 'on' it's a lost cause. I'm currently on the grill too. It's all good though, nothing an icy cold rag in the reach-in and constant water can't fix.