Heatwave headaches for businesses including bakers

The recent heatwave has seen many people get out and about to enjoy the hot weather and bask in the sunshine.

The hot weather is causing Dennice McKinnon and The Toffee Nosed Cake Company a major headache
The hot weather is causing Dennice McKinnon and The Toffee Nosed Cake Company a major headache

However, for some people, it has proved to be more challenging as the hot weather has left them dealing with high temperatures and difficult working conditions in their jobs.

For bakers, restaurant workers and welders across the region, the heatwave has meant finding ways to cool down and ensure they can be comfortable in their work.

Dennice McKinnon is the owner of the Toffee Nosed Cake Company in Wolverhampton, a company specialising in the creation of bespoke cakes, cookies, cake pops and cupcakes and desserts.

The Masterchef semi-finalist said it had been very challenging to do her work in the heat of the bakery at what was a busy time for her.

She said: "It is incredibly challenging, just because of the nature of some of the projects we do as we have weddings from Friday onwards, including a five-tier cake for Friday.

"We've been making as much use of the fridges and freezers as we possibly can and coming in at ridiculous times in the morning, with myself coming in any time between 3am and 5am to get started.

"That means I can get the baking out of the way as early in the day as possible and not be hindered by the heat in terms of having extra heat in the bakery from the ovens."

Ms McKinnon said that the bakery could get as hot as 45C (113F) during the current heatwave and said she had had to find ways to cope with the extreme heat.

She said: "I've been the only person working at present and I've had to work between having the oven open to bake and then having the fridges and freezers used as much as possible to stockpile supplies.

"It means we can keep as many of the cakes in the fridge for as long as possible, which is helpful when you're working with challenging and delicate projects such as wedding cakes and items with fresh cream.

"I've managed to make it bearable though, with lots of fans and making use of the doors and windows being open to let as much fresh air in as possible."

For Kevin Rutty at Taste Harmony restaurant in Smethwick, the grills and kitchen areas of the restaurant could become hot areas, but he had taken measures to ensure the area remained comfortable.

He said: "We've got air conditioning at the front of the premises and at the back, we've got a jerk pan and a barbecue area which are outside and all our equipment is all mod cons equipment.

"That includes an extractor in the kitchen as we don't have any gas equipment because of building up methane gas, and the extractor filters the air to ensure fresh air comes in.

"I've spent a lot of time in our kitchen, which is nice and cool and it's very comfortable for people to work in and for guests to come into the restaurant."

DK Welding & Sons Fabrication director Dean Marshall said the heatwave had made it more uncomfortable for members of staff, but they had been looking at ways to reduce the temperature.

He said: "The workspace is a very big and open area with high ceilings and usually about 15 to 20 feet from the ground to the ceiling, so a lot of the heat goes to the roof.

"We've also got two roller shutters at the front and back to allow a steady airflow in, which helps the guys working on the floor when they have welding helmet and gloves on and they're working.

"It can get to above 30 degrees in the workspace and even more in the office, where there is no air conditioning, so we're having to make it work through opening doors and windows.

"Not much sunlight comes into the building through the ceiling, so we're not too bad for heat, but it can get very stuffy and uncomfortable at times."

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