Avoid wasting food: save $1600 per year

29 Oct 2019

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Avoid wasting food: save $1600 per year

Food waste is a growing problem in America. According to a recent study, the average American family of four discards nearly $1600 in discarded produce alone annually. That’s right this post is ode to all those banana’s who never became banana bread. That number is not including dairy, meat or grain waste which are also high on the list. What would it mean for your family to have $133 more in your bank account every month? Factor in dairy, meat, and grain waste and that number climbs much higher.

The waste is also an environmental problem. It contributes to the releasing of dangerous gases as it decomposes in landfills. It’s estimated that one third of all food grown is lost or wasted. In fact, some food is left to rot in fields, shipped to feed livestock, or sadly shipped directly to landfills because it’s not cosmetically pleasing to average Americans. That’s right, we only buy pretty tomatoes. If a fruit or vegetable looks strange, grows oddly or has a blemish, consumers won’t purchase it – even when it’s perfectly fine to eat.

Additionally, families are purchasing food with every intent to use it, but life gets in the way. We’ve all done it. Making dinner was too much work so we grabbed dinner on the way home. Fast forward to the weekend and you’re dumping soggy lettuce out of your crisper drawer before you head to the grocery store to stock up for a new week.

There are lots of creative solutions out there. Some families have taken to composting, or meal prepping to try to cut down on food waste. There is one more solution on the table that more and more families are considering. That is hiring a CookinGenie – someone who shops & cooks your favorite foods – right in your own kitchen.

So how does that address the issue of food waste? Our Genies approach food purchasing, prep, and waste differently. They can use leftovers to cook for the next family on their schedule.

Many times, food waste is a result of not knowing how to create a meal around unused portions. Half an onion and some chicken bones? A family would dispose of that. An experienced cook would make chicken stock for a later meal. Hire our genies allow him or her to shop for highly consumable food items in bulk, he or she will only serve you the food you and your family will want to eat. This is the best use of all the food purchased, effectively reducing food waste immensely. Not to mention cost effective, even with the cost of hiring a person you will most likely end up saving money instead of throwing it away in the form of food that has gone bad and eating meals out. Remember if you are spending less than $1600 a year on this service, you’ll be saving money. Just something to chew on. We look forward to cooking for you & your family once our lives return to normal from the current COVID-19 crisis.

References:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-waste-nearly-a-pound-of-food-each-per-day-study-finds/

Households Lose Up to $1,600 a Year in Food Waste, U of G Study Reveals


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Personal Chef's Advice to Beat Holiday Buldge

21 Sep 2022

When pregnant, you may worry about a million things, such as your health, your baby’s health, what you should be eating, what you shouldn’t be eating, and on and on. It can feel like there’s never enough time or energy to get everything done.   

One thing that you don’t need to worry about is dinner; as for that, you can depend on a personal chef. Hiring a personal chef can help save you from the stress of meal planning and preparation, giving you more time to focus on your baby’s impending arrival. A personal chef will work with you to create a menu that fits your needs and dietary restrictions and prepare meals accordingly. You’ll never have to worry about what’s for dinner again!   

1- Hiring a personal chef can take a load off  you

Expecting a baby is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. In addition to all the usual preparations, you both have to think about how you will keep up with your routine while taking care of your upcoming baby. One way to ease the transition into parenthood is to hire a personal chef. A personal chef can take care of meal planning and preparation, giving you one less thing to worry about. And because they can customize their menu to meet your dietary needs, there’s no need to fret about whether you’ll enjoy the food or not. With a personal chef on hand, you can easily focus on taking care of yourself and your new bundle of joy.   

2- A personal chef can help to make sure that the family is eating well

As an expectant mother, you know pregnancy is a time of intense physical and emotional changes. In addition, it can also be a time of upheaval when it comes to mealtime routines. With morning sickness, food cravings, and a constantly changing body, it can be challenging to cook meals for oneself, let alone for a family. In such situations, a personal chef can be a great help. By preparing meals in advance, a personal chef can take the stress out of mealtime for you. In addition, he can also customize menus to meet the unique needs of you and your family. From Salmon Salad to Chicken Soup, a personal chef can help ensure that your family is eating well during this particular time. 

3- A personal chef can help to save time and money by cooking meals in advance

Along with all the joys of parenting comes a lot of extra work, including meal planning and cooking. In these instances, a personal chef can be a real lifesaver. By cooking meals in advance and freezing them, a personal chef can help you save both time and money. Having a stash of homemade meals in the freezer means you can reheat and serve without spending precious time in the kitchen. And because the chef prepares meals using fresh ingredients, the food is healthier and more affordable than takeout or frozen dinners. A personal chef is an invaluable asset for busy parents like you, especially when expecting a baby.

4- A personal chef can tailor the menus to the specific needs and preferences of  your family

A personal chef is an excellent option if you have specific dietary needs or preferences. A personal chef can cater to your particular needs, whether you have food allergies, follow a religious diet, or are choosy about what you eat. A personal chef can create menus everyone will enjoy by working with you to understand your family’s likes and dislikes. And because they do all the shopping and cooking, you’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones – something that’s priceless.  

Also Read: 10 Time-Saving Services That Every Busy Mom Should Use

5- Expectant parents should interview several personal chefs before making a decision

The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time, but it can also be chaotic and stressful, full of new challenges and responsibilities. Although a personal chef can take care of meal planning and preparation, helping you de-stress a bit, with so many chefs to choose from, it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. Here are five questions to ask when interviewing personal chefs and making the right choice: 

  1. What is your cooking experience? This question will help you gauge the chef’s level of expertise.  
  2. What are your specialties? You’ll want to ensure the chef can prepare the meals you prefer.  
  3. What do you need from me? Some chefs need access to your kitchen, while others work independently. Be sure to discuss your expectations upfront.  
  4. What are your rates? Personal chefs typically charge by the hour or by the meal. Get a sense of their pricing structure before making a decision.  
  5. Do you have any references? Ask for references from other clients to understand the chef’s work ethic and food quality.  

By asking these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find the personal chef that’s right for you and your family.   

6- Once hired, be sure to communicate any dietary changes or preferences to the chef

 When hiring a personal chef for the first time, you may be eager to convey your dietary needs. One way to do this is to be proactive about communicating any dietary changes or preferences to the chef. Of course, you don’t want to be a picky eater, but you must let the chef know if you have any food allergies or specialties. This information will help them to create meals that are both tasty and safe for you to eat. In addition, sharing your dietary preferences with the chef shows that you are considerate of their time and effort.  

Overall, as an expectant parent, you have a lot to think about, and meal time can be one of the last things on your mind. However, hiring a personal chef can take some of the stress out of meal planning and provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is eating healthy, homemade meals. In addition, personal chefs can tailor their menus to meet your unique needs, whether accommodating dietary restrictions or simply preparing your favorite dishes. So hiring a personal chef may be the answer if you’re looking for a way to make mealtime easier when expecting a baby.  

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How to Cook Meat Safely - CookinGenie blog

28 Sep 2021

There are many foods that can cause illness when handled incorrectly, but one of the most common instances of serious foodborne illness comes from the undercooking or mishandling of meat. Raw meat is often full of fecal matter from the animal, which can contain a host of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. Because of this, it is crucial to handle raw meat carefully and cook it to a safe temperature to kill as many pathogens as possible. If not, an undercooked piece of meat can easily get someone sick.

While this may sound simple, there are some intricacies to cooking meat safely, and not all meats are safe to eat at the same temperature. Here are some of the key things to remember when cooking meat and how some of the most popular meats need to be cooked in order to be safe to serve.

Keep raw meats separate from other foods—including other meats

It’s common sense that the juices from raw meat should stay away from fresh produce but it’s also good practice to keep raw meat away from other raw meat. As you’ll see with the minimum required internal temperatures, not all meats are safe at the same time. Chicken, for example, needs to be cooked more than steak. So, if you get the juices from raw chicken over your steak, the steak may be cooked all the way through, but the residual juice from the chicken may not be.

Also be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils for different kinds of meat, wash your hands after handling raw meat, and disinfect any surfaces the meat may have come into contact with.

Minimum required internal temperatures

Poultry, like chicken and turkey requires the most cooking, while pork, beef, lamb, and seafood requires less. Note that ground meat of any kind requires more cooking than a whole piece of the same meat. This is because ground meat, with an increased surface area and the potential to come from more than one individual animal, has more exposure to bacteria. To take the temperature of a protein, insert a clean, sanitized thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and wait for the thermometer to read a temperature. For many meats, the meat needs to hold that temperature for a given period of time before it’s considered safe.

Also note that after you remove your meat from the heat, it will continue to cook for several more minutes in a process known as carry-over cooking, which will raise the internal temperature 5-10⁰F, so if your meat is a couple degrees under the minimum required internal temperature when you measure it, it’ll be safe to serve by the time you eat it.

The following are the minimum required internal temperatures for different proteins.

Poultry—Including whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck: 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds

This also includes any stuffing inside of a bird (think thanksgiving) as well as any casseroles, stuffed pastas, or stuffed chicken breasts. When temping whole birds, make sure to insert the thermometer underneath the thigh, which is the thickest part of the bird.

Ground meat—Including beef, pork, lamb, veal, and ground seafood: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Note that a medium burger is 140-145⁰F, and a well-done burger is 160⁰F.Eating a burger less than well-done could increase your chances of getting sick, which is why restaurants have the note at the bottom of their menus denoting the increased risk of foodborne illness from consuming undercooked meat.

Injected meat/brined meat—Including brined hams and roasts injected with flavor: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Eggs that are meant to be held hot: 155⁰F for 15 seconds
Eggs that are to be served immediately: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

Chops/steaks of red meat—Including beef, lamb, veal, and pork: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

All of these meats will be a little pink at this temperature, but they’re safe to eat. A medium-rare steak is between 130-135⁰F, so there is a higher risk associated with eating steak under medium.

Whole roasts of pork, beef, veal, or lamb: 155⁰ for 4 minutes

Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Because roasts are much bigger, the temperature needs to hold much longer to ensure it’s cooked through.

Whole seafood—Including whitefish, shellfish, and crustaceans: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

This applies to whole pieces of fish and shellfish/crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. With bivalves such as mussels or clams, there is no need to measure temperature, they are safe when the shells open.

The bottom line

Overall, cooking meat to safe temperatures is a very simple, but very important task in the kitchen. Having a digital thermometer makes everything easier. If you’re unsure of how the meat needs to be cooked, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and slightly overcook a piece of meat than to get someone sick. When you book a chef from CookinGenie, you can trust that they’ll cook your meat so that it’s not only safe to eat, but also delicious.

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Personal Chef Vs Private Chef Vs Catering Services - CookinGenie

13 Dec 2021

It can get confusing when you hear the words personal chef, private chef, and catering services. Are they all the same and can be used interchangeably? The truth is that while these services can all help with meals and special events, they are each different in their own subtle ways. So, before discussing when to use these various services, let’s discuss what each of these terms means, what they typically include, and how much they cost. 

What is a personal chef? 

A personal chef is a chef that doesn’t work in a traditional restaurant setting. Instead, they chose to have their own clients and often cook at their clients’ homes. They work for as many or as few clients as they prefer and make their own schedule. Essentially, a personal chef is more like a small business owner compared to a private chef or catering service. 

A personal chef includes a great deal of value wrapped up in an affordable package. A personal chef will typically handle all of the shopping for the fresh ingredients needed for the meal you’ve chosen. Then, they’ll arrive at your home and begin preparing your dishes. You’ll be served your food piping hot and ready to be enjoyed. They’ll follow up by cleaning the dishes and items that they used in your kitchen before taking their leave. When it comes to cost, you can typically expect it to be around the same amount you’d be spending while eating the same dish at a restaurant. The cost typically includes the service of the personal chef along with the groceries. 

When to Use: Personal chefs are great with their versatility. You don’t need a big party as an excuse to hire one. Thanks to their affordability, you don’t have to wait until a special occasion to plan a date night-in with a personal chef handling all of the cooking. However, they are also great for planning intimate family events, such as dinner parties. The cost and flexibility of a personal chef make them great for just about everyone’s budget.  

What is a private chef? 

A private chef is also a chef that doesn’t work in a restaurant setting. However, they typically will be employed by one individual or family. Rather than cooking different meals at different places, a private chef will often provide a daily menu for all of the meals for their employer. In addition, rather than being more like a small business owners, they are more like an employee in how they are paid and receive benefits. 

A private chef will handle all of the home’s grocery shopping, meal preparation, and meal planning, typically every week. This effort means that they’ll be preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with snacks. The cost can be more expensive for a private chef compared to the other services. As your employee, you’ll not only need to be able to offer them a salary, but also benefits, such as retirement, insurance, paid time off, and other perks on top of also paying for the groceries that they use for the meals and snacks they prepare. 

When to Use: A private chef is a wonderful tool for families and busy individuals that can afford to hire and pay a chef to handle all of their meals.  

(Also Read – What is the difference between a private chef and a personal chef?)

What is a catering service? 

A catering service typically employs one or several chefs who often prepare meals for special occasions, such as big parties, meetings, graduations, or weddings. The meals are usually prepared in a commercial kitchen and brought to the location where they sometimes need to be warmed back up or need some light preparations, depending on the menu. 

While not all catering services offer the same experience, they typically cook the food off-site, deliver the food to the site of the event, make any on-site preparations for the meal. Depending on what you choose when placing your order, they often serve the meal either as a buffet service or table service. Some catering services also offer bartenders and beverage servers for your event. As with most of these services, the cost will typically vary based on the menu you choose, the type of service you prefer, and other similar factors. It can be helpful to get several quotes to help you find the best catering service to use as most of these companies don’t have a set price that works for every event since the details can change from one event to the next. 

When to Use: While catering services can be excellent for smaller events, they really shine for significant events where many guests need to be served. Weddings, class reunions, conventions, galas, graduations, charity events, and other huge events typically can benefit from a catering service being employed. 

To Conclude 

Determining the right choice of these services for you depends on a few factors. First, you may just want to enjoy an occasional meal prepared for you in your home instead of visiting a restaurant, so you’ll want to choose a personal chef. You may be planning a massive event and need a more extensive staff to help you ensure that everyone gets served and fed, so a catering service may be the best choice for you. Finally, you may be in a position where you can employ your own private chef and stop worrying about anything to do with the kitchen except on their days off when you might want to pop something they prepared on a different day. Everyone’s situation is different, and you may find that you can benefit from using a variety of these services to fit your life at that particular moment best. 

Hiring a personal chef through CookinGenie has never been easier. Please scroll through the available chefs and dishes they make to find the perfect menu for your upcoming special event or even weekday dinner. You’ll love the choices you have, the way it fits into your budget in the same manner as going out to eat, and how convenient it happens to be for your lifestyle. 

Contact us today in case you have any questions about using CookinGenie to book your next meal. 

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