Freezers. And walk in refrigerators. And lowboys. And reach ins. Ice machines.
You wouldn't think. But it's so.
Kitchens can get really hot.
Let us not forget flat tops. And salamanders. Or grills. And then there's saute, where there might be pans sitting on burners that have been on full blast all day. And cast iron? S***. I have seen them glow orange. For real. They can get really hot. But there's nothing like cooking a la plancha. O yeah.
Fryolators are hot. Really hot. Hot radiant heat not to mention a container filled with searing hot oil. We won't leave behind wood burning ovens and, if you're really lucky, reaching up to handle those bars in rotisseries taller than your local basketball star.
Deck ovens are hot. Tandoori ovens are hot. Pulling sugar is hot and so is whisking sabayon for an hour straight. Stock is hot. Plate warmers are hot. So are bread warmers, of course.
Commercial dishwashers are hot. By health code standards they should be, at any rate. The hotter the better: less detergent can be used if heat is what is the sanitizing force. Having to put away hot dishes is hot. A lot of steam exists in the dish pit. A lot.
And steam? Steam is really f****** hot. The burn you get from steam is like being taken advantage of by a child. You never expect it. And then Whoosh! Red streak on flesh and sooner than you can say nanosecond you have a blister.
One could make an argument for the heat of hot ice or liquid nitrogen but they're not commonly found in kitchens unless you're ladling up eye of newt and bat's wing specials.
Wait, there's more. If you act now --
Cooking and baking with a sunburn is hot. And terrifically unpleasant. After you've fallen asleep on the beach on your only day off in 3 months once, you won't do it again. Take it from me. There's nothing like reaching into a 500F oven when your skin is the color of freshly killed lobsters.
Roasting is hot. And searing. Even blanching, albeit brief, is hot. Poaching? I guess we could make an argument if we're desperate.
Funny, when you burn yourself, I mean really burn, it feels cold first. Like buried under an avalanche and getting sleepy cold. And then for a tiny moment when your brain hits refresh, it fells hot to your core. By then, hopefully, you're in shock, and so you don't feel much after that except worry that you'll be in the weeds even more. Nothing like grabbing onto something really hot and realizing later that the steam you saw was your own skin evaporating.
Kitchens are hot.
And so we tun off our minds. We make jokes. The refrigeration starts to shudder and choke, and then die. The ice machine gets indignant. Someone has to go buy ice. Which is really funny if you think about it. But of course it's not.
You might even have the pleasure of standing on the hot roof and hosing down the condenser for about 8 or 12 hours, until the sun goes down. But only if you're the chef or sous. Yes, you have to be The Chosen One for that job.
When it gets hot ovens bake faster. Did you know that? Cakes don't necessarily rise better but everything should be checked on with more frequency. Cold water is warm. Edibles made with yeast should be rushed like you have some place to be yesterday. Proofing the bread? Five hours is 50 minutes. Twenty minutes could be two. Be on your toes, yo, when it's hot.
Cold butter doesn't stay cold.
Sweat evaporates and it could be a few days until you really pee. A relaxing pee that lasts more than a moment. Sound gross?
I haven't left out anything, have I?
In The South there's a joke about cornstarch/ talcum powder, and the boxer shorts you shouldn't be wearing, but I'll leave that to your imagination.
Hot weather produces violence. In some kitchens it makes people fight. Or go mute. Or f***.
Because line cooks are hot. Except when they're gross. But there's always a market for gross.
Flirtations run high. Patience become a virtue left for the "normies"/ diners/ working stiffs/ waiters. Sexual tension is hot. So is that space between your long sleeved polyester-blend double-buttoned jacket and suffocating skin. Tempers run hot.
Some will say that the best beverage in hot weather is hot liquid. Ice becomes the enemy to truly cooling down your system. Except when dunking your arms in ice water is the only thing you can do to keep from passing out.
Summer is hot. Restaurants with poor ventilation systems are really hot. Restaurants that are free standing buildings in neighborhoods with no trees or taller buildings to create shade are really hot. Restaurants with prep stations in windowless rooms are ferociously hot.
I remember well "sweat" pouring down the walls at Gramercy Tavern. (In NYC most restaurant kitchens are located in the basement. That pretty open kitchen you're looking into as you lazily munch crudo and sip cocktails? That's for show. Only? Well I'll go on record as saying: mostly.)
Kitchens are hot.
And when kitchens are not hot?
You're not in them.