Whenever I make burgers (stovetop with cast iron), they produce a high amount of smoke. I usually take extra precautions to ensure adequate ventilation, but I end up inhaling quite a bit a smoke.

Is it common for professional or semi-professional chefs to use protective gear in lieu of adequate ventilation? If I do this semi-regularly (once every two weeks), should I invest in protective gear such as a mask?

  • 1
    It sounds like you need a fan (to send the smoke out the window), not protective gear.
    – Joe
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:34
  • @Joe, even with fans, when I'm over the pan flipping, I get plenty of smoke
    – wnnmaw
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:38
  • ...a longer spatula? No need to put one's face over the pan.
    – moscafj
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:47
  • 1
    @wnnmaw : or turn the heat down. You may have to then adjust the thickness of the burger so that you achieve your desired doneness at lower heat.
    – Joe
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:48
  • A particle mask provides no protection from smoke. You would need a mask with an activated carbon filter or SCBA, neither of which is practical. Nov 3, 2014 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


It's extremely common for professional chefs to have fans: most of the time these are mandated by regulations for the safety of those in and out of the kitchen. If you producing so much smoke to be considering protective gear my advice would be to change your method because as it stands you are at risk of fire and you aren't doing your lungs (or those of the people around you) any good.

  • Not just fans, but range hoods, which suck air (and thus smoke) up and slightly in, away from the chef.
    – Joe M
    Sep 2, 2014 at 16:35
  • ...and if the baffles (covers) were removed, our hats would get sucked up while cleaning inside the stainless hoods. That's how strong/efficient they are.
    – Michael E.
    Sep 2, 2014 at 21:54

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