by Katharine Branham - Archive of Katharine’s Articles
The single most important aspect in restaurants is kitchen safety. Lack of kitchen safety can take a fruitful week and demolish it with one mistake. I am not just talking about food safety, which is an article of its own. I am referring to the small mistakes that can lead to big losses – like the one that just recently happened to an acquaintance of mine in Chicago who owns a club/grill.
He had just opened and someone wandered in with a craving for the house pizza. The cook was running late; so to avoid letting the customer down, the owner fires up the oven. This seems simple, right? It normally would be for a cook who is certified in kitchen safety. Or at least someone who pays attention with the thought that a kitchen can be dangerous to someone not used to working in a commercial facility.
As he starts the gas for the oven, he is talking on the cell phone. After several minutes, he realizes he needs to light the burner, so he strikes a match while still on the phone and is thrown to the floor with great force. The oven is now lit, but the owner who was trying to multitask is lying on the floor.
He reaches for the cell phone which is three feet from him. The kitchen is filled with the smell of burnt hair. He reflects for a moment on what exactly happened as he remembers the big ball of fire that came at him before he hit the floor. The oven is ready to cook the pizza by now, so he loads it and walks out to the front to let the customer know it will be ready in ten minutes.
Shocked by the owner’s appearance, the customer stares with concern. After a visit to the mirror he realized his eyebrows and eyelashes were gone. Much of the hair on his head had been singed to the base, and his goatee was ghostly white. Thankfully, the only burns that occurred were on the inside of his nostrils. With his goatee white, and I mean really white, it was quite shocking to the customer that had only seen him a few minutes prior when his hair and goatee were brown.
The inside of the establishment smelled of burnt hair for several hours that day and the question was repeatedly asked “Wow, what happened to you?” Needless to say, the owner now has a whole new respect for the kitchen and equipment safety. Don’t let kitchen mishaps happen to you. When you are working in the kitchen stay alert, remember safety, and think smart.