My name is Kristine, I'm currently pursuing my masters in human centered design and engineering at Northwestern University. I've always been interested in cooking, food tasting, trying new recipes and watching cooking related tutorials, shows and attending cooking classes. I wanted to take my passion further through my thesis.
I'm currently designing/developing a new product for professional chefs in restaurants that could help them prevent burns and/or provide a better, more convenient way to touch hot handles and other hot items. I've talked to several chefs and observed what's going on in couple restaurant kitchens during busy hours. The key insights I've found was that 1) many chefs get burns because they touch hot things that don't look hot and 2) chefs always hold towels to handle hot items - often times constantly holding the towel even though they need both hands to do things and looking around for a towel.
I have couple ideas that makes it easier for chefs to hold hot pan handles and other hot items in the kitchen during busy times.
1) Armband: This is a very simple armband similar to a tight (breathable) sleeve. You can pull it out to wrap around your hand to hold hot items and when you don't need it anymore, just slide it back up your arm. It will be made of special breathable material on the end that mostly stays on the arm and the other end that will be wrapped around your hand will be a heat and water resistant towel.
2) Simple half mitten attached to body: This is a special material mitten that can be easily slipped on your hand and when not using it, it can be attached on the body via a magnet, velcro or clip.
3) This is a side idea but some kind of a band or some attachment to a pan handle that changes color from black to red when it reaches temperature that causes skin burns - purpose is to give visual feedback that something is hot.
It's been really challenging for me to get in touch with professional chefs as and any feedback, comment or thoughts from you would mean so much! Please respond (if you don't mind) with your name, brief description of your cooking experience/careers so I have a general understanding of who I'm getting feedback from.
If you live in Chicago, Evanston or anywhere nearby, and are interested in talking to me in person about my project, please let me know as well. I would love to get input from a chef/cook with experiences in working in restaurants.
I appreciate your help and I hope to get some replies soon.