As the temperatures warm outside, so do the ones inside. Restaurant kitchens are notoriously warm—hot even, if you consider that it can easily reach 110° on the line.
But I’d take a guess to say you’re no stranger to heat in the kitchen.
Excessive sweating is a quick start way to getting dehydrated. You’ve long known the importance of staying hydrated during service, but getting away from the line can be tough, and you quickly realize you’ve gone one, maybe two hours without taking a sip of water. And that’s when your servers start to share guest complaints about the food being too salty…
That’s what happened to Frasca Food and Wine, who soon realized that dishes coming out in the kitchen were saltier in the summer season. Why? When the temperatures rose during these months, cooks became unknowingly dehydrated and their perception of seasoning changed. Becoming dehydrated is an issue not only faced by Frasca Food and Wine, but by kitchens worldwide—like yours.
So what do you do?
We recently met with Chef Ian Wortham, Chef de Cuisine of Frasca Food and Wine, who shared his tips for keeping the food coming out of the kitchen consistent—no matter the season:¬
Taste, Taste, Taste
A good cook knows to consistently taste a dish throughout the course of the evening. Still, taste fatigue is real—particularly towards the end of a shift. You may be dehydrated, or just simply tired, which can greatly affect your palate without you even knowing it. Recognize when you may have taste fatigue, and don’t hesitate to ask a second opinion. You could be missing the subtle nuances of the dish that your customers have come to love. Ask your sous chef to sample a taste; sometimes a second opinion is all you need to ensure your dish continues to be executed consistently.
Water and Electrolyte Drinks
Staying hydrated means you’re taking in more fluids than you’re losing. Reusable water bottles are ideal for minimizing waste and staying hydrated in the kitchen. Keep bottles regularly filled with water, or, look into healthy electrolyte drinks that help keep you hydrated and energized, like Skratch Labs.
It takes a team
When you’re cooking on the line, it could be tough to get away. It’s during these times that other back of the house staff can help. Rely on your expeditors or other staff members (like bussers, food runners and servers) who can help fill water bottles for cooks unable to leave the line.