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Issue Date: May 2007 Issue

If You Can't Stand the Heat...

Tori Woods
Life in a restaurant kitchen is not for the faint of heart. Local chefs were eager to regale us with tales of their war wounds — and most could immediately recall their worst injury. From burning and cutting to repetitive stress, we feel even more grateful to those who feed us

“I flipped [a piece of tuna] too soon and it splattered into the oil and I burned my retina. It actually splashed straight into my eye. I had to wear an eye patch, I couldn’t see for a couple of days.” - Rachel Spieth, Three Birds

“I cut the top of my thumb in half on Valentine’s Day 1998 at Johnny’s. ... They put it all back together. I didn’t think they were going to be able to save it, but modern medicine did wonders.” - Jeff Fisher, Lago

“I just had carpal tunnel surgery, and this has really been the worst thing that’s ever happened to me as far as the kitchen is concerned. Although, I did burn myself very badly one time when I spilled a pot of boiling pasta water down the front of me. I tripped on a mat, and it fell back on me. I persisted on cooking through the entire night over the heat, which just aggravated the burns all the more. By the next day I was in complete shock with third-degree burns all over my chest.” - Karen Small, Flying Fig

“I was cutting a cheesecake with a slicing knife, and every time you cut it, you had to clean it off. I hooked my finger on the blade, pulled it all the way across my finger. I had to have like six stitches in my forefinger, and I came back to work like a true champ.” - Jill Vedaa, Saucy Bistro

“When I was living in Portland, Ore., I was braising artichokes in olive oil, and the kitchen was very small, and I took the pan of olive-oil braised artichokes out of the oven and was walking to the cooler, and someone opened the cooler door, and the artichokes went down my legs. I got third-degree burns and had to go to the hospital. I was out of work for two weeks.” - Doug Katz, Fire Food & Drink

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