Preventing Injuries in a Commercial Kitchen

You will get a thousand cuts and thousand burns before you become a chef.

  • When cooking on top of the stove and removing hot pan lids, they should be put upside down (handle downward) indicating they are hot to anyone likely to touch them, and correct side down to indicate that they are cool.

  • Metal trays taken from the oven should have the handles dusted with flour to indicate very hot and likely to be so for some time to come.

  • Do not ever leave knives in a sink of water, somebody is sure to get cut. When carrying a knife from place to place in the kitchen, hold it pointing downward close and firmly to your thigh to avoid accenental stabbing.

  • If you spill soup or oil and you are too busy to mop up at that moment, lay an opened cardboard box on the spillage to soak up the excess. When you remove the sodden cardboard, sprinkle salt over the area to stop slipping.

  • Never use a wet kitchen cloth to handle anything hot, the water in the cloth will scald you.

  • Never mix pastry or bread with a ring on. Listen to the voice of experience. It took me a hour to recover my wedding ring from a hundredweight of bread dough. Fortunately I discovered the loss before baking or the chef's recommendation for breakfast would have been 'eat out!'

  • Something often overlooked in a commercial kitchen is suitable footware, normal shoes simply don't cut it. A pair of golfing shoes are ideal but most chefs prefer steel toecapped clogs.

  • It is not a good idea to put a dressing on a small cut as it is sure to end up in someone's dinner. A plastic skin aerosol does the job just fine and pretty much the same with a nuisance burn to keep the air and food out.

  • One last tip on food production. Never serve anything you would not eat yourself. If in doubt, chuck it out. It is a lot cheaper doing that that a lawsuit or prison sentence.

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