How to organize a team dinner at home to celebrate a work anniversary?

team dinner at home to celebrate a work anniversary - cookinGenie

01 Nov 2021

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How to organize a team dinner at home to celebrate a work anniversary?

For some, going through the motions of getting to work and clocking out is as much effort as they want to put into their job. Often, they don’t feel that connection with their coworkers that makes them want to do more than the bare necessities to get their paycheck. For managers and leaders that want to inspire their employees to feel more like a family and a true team, it’s important to implement a workplace that has a more personal touch. One excellent way to do that is to organize team dinners to celebrate work anniversaries and other events.  

Why does Team Dinner Matter? 

There is something special about food and the act of sharing food. Throughout the past, there have been rules about breaking bread and how it can be a bonding action to the point where it could bring opposing parties together. Team dinners can be an amazing opportunity that offers more benefits than meets the eye. It can be more than a meeting outside of work hours to have a meal.    

Increase Retention by Developing Friendships  

One of the biggest expenses that companies can have is turnover. Having to go through the motions of recruiting new talent only to have them leave later on is expensive. It’s also can be costly when you consider that your loyal employees can often start to feel burnt out by having to pick up the slack for open positions or helping out with new trainees. It can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Celebrating work anniversaries and other work events with dinner parties thrown at your home can help to make your existing employees feel seen and important. It’s great for their morale while also being great for increasing your employee retention. 

Foster Highly Engaged and Productive Teams 

It’s hard to be dispassionate about the people that you work with when you know each other on a more personal basis. You can create a team that’s engaged and productive when you find ways to build a team spirit. Each member of a team will be more willing to work with each other and ensure that their work helps to support each other. It’s easy to put off working on a task or not put your best effort in if you don’t care about the next person that will be working with the product you created, such as a report or data collection. Creating camaraderie can help people feel more involved and want to be productive.   

Exchange Ideas 

You may find that your team has great ideas, but sometimes, these ideas can be lost in the shuffle at work. Organizing a team dinner can be an excellent place to talk about work with the exchanging of ideas. You may find that team members in a different area that have other tasks may have ideas that impact other portions of the team. In a regular work setting, these ideas might never see the light of day, but you’ll be creating a more comfortable setting where it can be discussed. 

Communication Links  

Communication is a skill that a lot of people feel is easy, but good communication can be hard. It takes practice. There is more to communication than meets the eye. Active listening is essential with communication. Hosting team dinners for work anniversaries and other occasions is the perfect opportunity to work on the communication skills among everyone in a more relaxed setting. 

How To Turn Team Dinners into a Meaningful Experience  

Food Tours 

You can make your dinner about more than just a mandatory meeting outside of work, but make it fun. Food tours are a great way to incorporate a fun element that turns your dinner into a worthy occasion to celebrate a work anniversary or other event. Food tours are when you take a particular country’s food and create dishes that only come from that area. Often, during food tours, you learn a little about the culture of the area along with getting to try out the most popular dishes from the area. Sometimes, the food tour may be a specific region in a country, like creating dishes from Tuscany, or from around the country.   

Personal Chefs 

Personal chefs can be a great idea for your at-home work dinner. It’s hard to handle ice breaker games, friendly chats, and relaxing with your coworkers when you’re trying to handle all of the cooking. Utilizing a personal chef allows you to host your dinner without being absent from all of the festivities. Why miss something fun by being trapped in the kitchen? You could get takeout, but why risk the food being cold when personal chefs are a comparable option price-wise with all of the benefits of your food being cooked in your very own kitchen. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

Team Building Activities  

As your team is sitting around eating dinner, it’s the perfect time to enjoy team-building activities. The food and conversation can help to relax your team members while they get to know each other better. Throwing in some team-building activities can be a fun way to spend time with everyone in a more personal setting without work tasks hanging over everyone’s head. You get the benefit of helping your group of workers feel more like a team while enjoying themselves. Some fun team-building activities include two truths and a lie, office trivia, blind drawing, virtual escape rooms, and you could even have a murder mystery or similar games. Any activity that makes you come together to problem solve, work as teams, or learn more about each other can be good activities to enjoy during your time outside of work.  

 CookinGenie can be an excellent way to explore the possibilities that are available when it comes to team dinners. It can be stressful enough getting your home ready to host a team of coworkers in your personal space, so why add to your to-do checklist before the event? When you use CookinGenie, you free up a lot of time to handle all the other last-minute tasks. Your private chef will do all of the shopping, meal prep, and even clean your kitchen after they are done preparing your dinner choices. What could be easier? Check out the CookinGenie website today to find your new favorite personal chef to cook for your upcoming work dinner party or other events. 


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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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How Chefs Manage Their Own Business

09 Jun 2021

If you’re a talented chef, you probably know the rewarding feeling of cooking for friends and family and being met with rave reviews. They might ask you when your restaurant is opening, half-seriously urge you to start a catering business, and proudly proclaim that they would pay good money to eat your food. But even as a chef, the idea of opening a restaurant or catering company is daunting. It certainly is fulfilling to share your cooking with people, but you may not want the risk or commitment of trying to launch your own business.

What if there was an easier way, a way to earn money cooking the food you love, but in a casual setting, without the all-consuming obligation of running your own business? Well, for professional chefs and skilled home cooks alike, CookinGenie is just that.

(Also ReadWhat is CookinGenie)

With CookinGenie, chefs have a platform to essentially manage their own business but in a flexible manner. CookinGenie allows chefs (genies) to create their own menus, set their own prices, and make their own schedules to fit around their busy lives. They can do all this while building their personal brand and establishing a base of regular clients. At CookinGenie, the genies have total creative control of the food. They can change menu items seasonally and can source ingredients from the local stores they love. To fulfill an order, they arrive at the client’s home, cook a meal, clean up, and earn money sharing their talents with satisfied customers.

This setup is dramatically different from most traditional chef jobs. Typically, the life of a restaurant chef entails working long hours in a hot, sweaty commercial kitchen, all while under the pressure of trying to satisfy a packed dining room. It’s hectic, stressful, exhausting, and often doesn’t pay well. Plus, most chefs in a restaurant are preparing someone else’s menu, either the head chef’s or the owner’s, so it’s hard to let creativity and passion flourish. Although the hours may be a little more normal, working in a catering company offers many of the same challenges.

CookinGenie, on the other hand, provides all the joy and excitement of cooking for others without the serious drawbacks of other chef jobs. The genie decides what’s on the menu and when they want to be available to cook. All of the cooking is done in a relaxed setting in the client’s home; there’s no pressure to keep up with the pace of service. The genie gets the personal satisfaction of interacting directly with the people enjoying the fruits of their hard work, instead of the food being sent out into the void of a dining room. CookinGenie chefs are compensated competitively and even have the opportunity to collect tips from happy customers.

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All told, CookinGenie is a fantastic way to make money and manage your own business as a chef. The flexibility allows chefs to continue other pursuits while also earning extra income as a genie and building a following. From a work perspective, there is simply no beating the creative liberties and stress-free atmosphere CookinGenie provides. In the crazy world of cooking, CookinGenie proves that there really is a better way to be a chef.

If you’re a talented local chef or home cook and CookinGenie sounds great to you, then we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at: careers@cookingenie.com

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28 Oct 2019

In our previous posts, we talked about how challenging it is to manage all our daily priorities (life, work, kids….) & still cook healthy meals from scratch.

Healthy eating can be a controversial topic. There are so many options today between organic, vegan, paleo and keto, all claiming to be healthy and offering a totally different perspective on health. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking for guidelines. Most of us can agree that heavily processed foods, starch, carbs, and lots of fried options, is a far cry from a healthy diet. Let’s break it down and look at what the experts say.

What did Mom and Dad say?

Things like “clean your plate” and “Eat your veggies”. It’s true that eating healthy sustaining foods helps to balance your blood sugar; and therefore, helps to stabilize your mood. But portion sizes in America have gone off the deep end. No one needs to clean their plate if their plate is a platter. In general, most experts agree that a serving size is roughly equivalent to the palm of your hand. Now as for the veggies, that’s a message we can all agree on. No one is going to argue you’ll gain weight or decline in health by piling on the greens. Way to go Mom and Dad.

What does the Government say?

Well that depends on when you ask. In the 40’s there were 7 food groups recommended. In the 70’s they reduced it to 4. Then turned it into a pyramid in the 90’s and now we have the “my plate” icon. The new icon suggests that we should eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and milk. The government guidelines have changed over the years as science has evolved and our understanding of nutrition has changed. Of course, they are also influenced by industry and culture trends. But balance has always been the resounding message, eat a variety of foods, and eat in moderation.

What does your Doctor say?

This might be a great source for a more personalized direction. As he or she can assess your personal medical history and challenges. They can consider your blood work, your family’s history of heart disease or diabetes, any food allergies you may have or possible interactions with medications you may be on. But overall the general recommendation from the medical field is fewer processed foods, more fruits, whole grains (whole wheat) veggies, and proteins, keeping sugar, starch (e.g. flour, potato) and fat in moderation.

So what DOES healthy eating really look like?

We’ve looked at a variety of “experts” and we’ve received a bunch of different answers. How can we move forward? It’s not as overwhelming as it might seem. The best advice is to look for the common threads. Although the focus and motivations of these people are different, there are a few things they are saying that are the same. Eat a variety of nutrient rich foods. Avoid excess sugar and overly processed ingredients. Of course the best way to know what’s on your plate, is to prepare your own food from scratch. Nutrient rich meals are made with simple ingredients and if you are what you eat, what’s on your plate matters. The next best way is to get someone to prepare it for you under your direction. This is where CookinGenie can come to your home & create home cooked meals for you to enjoy. We shop, we cook & we clean. Try us out.

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