Even though some cooking school undergrads undoubtedly probably still think that being chef means leading the glamorous life of a Food Network star, in reality it’s anything but: Long hours, low pay, and lots of time on your feet are all par for the course. Oh, and the serious potential for life-threatening injury.
You’d be hard-pressed to meet a professional chef who doesn’t have at least a scar or two from a cut, a burn, or worse. Heck, instead of going to the hospital after getting a gash, plenty of chefs have just cauterized it right on the plancha. But some kitchen injuries and mishaps are especially horrific. Here are five.
Last February, 45-year-old Carmen Lindhardt was killed in the kitchen of a Salt Lake City supermarket after being pulled into an industrial mixer and subsequently crushed. A coworker heard the woman scream and ran to shut the machine off, but it was too late.
in March, a 27-year-old Charlottesville, Virginia, chef named Allie Redshaw was using the meat grinder to prep for a dish at Lampo Neapolitan Kitchen when a piece of her clothing got caught and pulled her hand into the machine. She was rushed to the hospital, where her hand had to be amputated at the wrist.
Mamadou “Sav” Savané
Lexington, Kentucky, chef Mamadou “Sav” Savané, the owner of Sav’s Grill & West African Cuisine, was walking with a 20 gallon pot of boiling peanut chicken stew in June 3, 2014, when he slipped and fell, spilling the sauce and causing second-degree burns on more than 50 percent of his body. Sav made a full recovery and today is back in his kitchen.
In June 2012, Nashville chef Jay Luther, owner of Germantown Café East, got a quadruple dose of bad luck: Not only did he become trapped in his restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator overnight, he didn’t have his cell phone, the emergency release mechanism was broken, and a recent power outage had forced his staff to fill the cooler with dry ice to prevent the food from spoiling. Luther suffocated to death from the dry ice’s carbon dioxide vapors within minutes.
Cynthia Tan Kian Hoon
In 2012, a cook named Cynthia Tan Kian Hoon was using a six-inch knife to prepare breakfast at a Kuala Lumpur restaurant. Something caused her to slip, however, and the 41-year-old Hoon fell forward, directly onto the knife. A main artery in her chest was severed, and she died nearly instantly.