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A cooling apron for those hot days of summer cooking

So, as a project for a class, we were compelled to find an idea to solve another student's problem. The problem I chose related to keeping cool while cooking in a hot kitchen. As a personal residence, many of the options available for commercial kitchens, i.e. heavy-duty HVAC and exhaust fans, are relatively impractical. As such, I began thinking towards cooling the cook, rather than the kitchen. This led me to ponder how my brother, a solider, keeps cool in the Middle East while wearing full combat fatigues and a bullet proof vest. The answer there lies in cooling vests worn as close to the body as possible. Many of these cooling packs contain organic fluids which only cool to between 50 and 60 degrees (for comfort's sake). Additional online roaming gleaned stories relating to the detrimental effects experienced by professional male cooks due to their prolonged proximity to hot stoves at waist level. As a means of alleviating the bane of cooks everywhere, I am thinking of combining one of the oldest pieces of kitchen attire, the lowly apron, with the relatively newer technology of cooling vests. Though aprons aren't necessarily worn around the core (one of the best areas to maximize overall body cooling), they are generally worn tight and are placed perfectly to deflect the heat coming directly off the stove. Modern cooling packs are light and compact, therefore the addition of cooling packs into the apron would add undue weight and bulk. I believe this could be a practical idea to help lessen the impact of "slaving over a hot stove." Any thoughts on improving the idea? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, how effective could it actually become?


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    Nov 15 2012: I don't know if this will work, but if you change the design of the typical apron to make it wide, and add a second made of space blanket material (worn under the cotton one) with the shiny side facing the stove, it might help. If you have spent much time in a kitchen, you know how you don't want to inhibit movement. It could be dangerous. Space blankets weigh next to nothing and they're very effective.

    It's not below the waist that gets me in the kitchen. It's the part that's over the stove, so you might want to include a fan in a chef's hat (like the pith helmets or baseball caps that have solar powered fans built in)
    • Nov 16 2012: That could be a pretty good addition, TED Lover. As those Mylar blankets reflect something like 80 percent of incoming heat, it would prove very effective at keeping the localized heat of the stove from penetrating the apron. Combine that with the cooling layer from the packs, and maybe even Gordon Ramsey wouldn't have room to complain (though I think that may be towing the line just a bit...).

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