A heat wave like the one Calgarians are currently sweating through can make spending your day in a restaurant kitchen quite a challenge.
An example of that is Pizza Culture, where pizzas are made in the traditional style, old-fashioned all the way.
“The oven’s straight from Napoli, Italy,” Pizza Culture owner Jeremy Hube said. “It’s a handmade brick oven, with the same design for about 200 years.”
Once the oven’s loaded up with burning wood, the temperature inside soars.
“We bake at around 900 degrees Fahrenheit — 400 degrees Celsius,” Hube said.
That makes working alongside it for hours at a time a draining experience.
“You sweat in places you didn’t know you could sweat,” Hube said.
But there’s one new spot in Calgary where co-workers take all the heat and don’t mind it a bit.
The recently-opened Space Robo Chicken uses robotic arms to handle the frying of items like chicken and fries.
“We have robots, so it’s really easy to work,” cook Jin Lee said. “It’s not hot.”
Having the help of the robots means kitchen staff don’t have to spend as much time near the deep fryers.
“It doesn’t matter — hot weather or cold weather, we always have the distance,” Space Robo Chicken owner Tyler Choi said.
The restaurant is part of a chain based in Seoul, South Korea, and Calgary is its first location in Canada.
“I want to be like McDonalds or KFC,” Choi said. “I want to open all over Canada.”
It remains to be seen whether other Canadian restaurants will add robots to their kitchens.
“I might be able to make a pizza one day with a robot, but we’re going to keep doing this by hand,” Hube said.
Hube said dealing with the heat wave is all part of the business.
“It’s not comfortable, but it’s not the end of the world,” Hube said. “We love making pizzas, so we do what we do.”