Meal kits – chop chop flop

29 Oct 2019

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Meal kits – chop chop flop

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.

Refernces:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-meal-kit-delivery-service-market-worth-usd-8-94-billion-by-2025-hexa-research-300811555.html

https://slate.com/business/2017/06/blue-apron-customer-retention-low.html


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National Food Safety Month— Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

24 Sep 2021

Cooking for friends and family is one of the great joys in life. But without practicing proper food safety, cooking can make your loved ones sick, or in extreme cases, even kill them. Luckily, all it takes to prepare and serve food safely is following a few simple rules and using common sense. In honor of food safety month, here are some of the most important things to remember when cooking.

Wash your hands

One of the most important things you can do to keep food safe is constant handwashing. The first thing you should do when you walk into the kitchen is washing your hands. And wash them again after every completed task or when you start handling different ingredients, especially after touching raw meat.

One of the most common ways foodborne illnesses are spread is by bacteria jumping from dirty hands to the food. So, you cannot wash your hands too often. When washing your hands, make sure you run them under warm running water for at least 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap. Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails every time and dry off with a clean cloth or paper towel. For extra protection, turn off the knob on the sink with that paper towel instead of your bare hands.

When in doubt, throw it out

Nobody likes to waste food. But holding on to old food after it’s gone bad is a good way to get your guests sick.  If anything in your fridge or pantry is moldy, slimy, smells rotten, or is well past its expiration date, just throw it out.

When cooking with canned ingredients, beware of cans that are rusted, dented, or swollen. Swollen cans are a sign of botulism, a dangerous spore that can be fatal. If there are any physical deformities on the can, put it right into the trash. There is a chance that every now and again you may throw out some food that’s still safe to use, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

As a general rule of thumb, you should try and avoid keeping foods out at room temperature as much as possible, especially more sensitive items like meat, dairy, and eggs. When cooking and storing food, be mindful of the “temperature danger zone”, a temperature range between 41⁰F and 135⁰F. This is the range in which bacteria grows and multiplies most quickly.

Temperatures above or below this range are usually too extreme for most bacteria to survive. So, if a dish is meant to be served hot, you should keep it on the stove or in the oven at 135⁰F or higher for as long as possible, and if it is meant to be served cold, you should keep it in refrigeration at 41⁰F or lower until it’s ready to serve.

It may be helpful to have a digital thermometer on hand to help ensure you’re keeping foods at the proper temperatures. If any highly sensitive foods like meat or dairy are left out in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, they may be unsafe to eat. Any cooked food that is being reheated should be heated to 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds before serving.

Beware of Cross Contamination

Cross contamination occurs when bacteria or other contaminants are passed to food from shared surfaces or through the air. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board then later use that same cutting board for fresh vegetables, the vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria from the chicken. To avoid cross contamination, use different utensils for raw meats and vegetables. Also be sure to wash and disinfect counters and other kitchen surfaces frequently.

Consider food allergies

One of the scariest parts of cooking for others can be dealing with food allergies. Allergic reactions to food can range anywhere from a mildly upset stomach to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, where the victim’s throat can begin to shut.

Before your event, ask all your guests if they have any food allergies. If anyone in your party has a severe allergy, consider serving something without that ingredient at all. For people with severe allergies like nuts or shellfish, they may not even need to actively consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction, just an invisible trace amount may be enough to cause serious symptoms. So, just making a portion without that ingredient may not be enough to keep them safe. When it comes to cooking for people with food allergies, you cannot be too careful.

Cook proteins properly

A common cause of foodborne illness is undercooked meats, especially chicken. Meats need to be cooked to proper internal temperatures to kill the majority of bacteria and parasites that can make you sick. When cooking meats, use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature and don’t serve it until the meat comes up to a safe level.

For example, chicken and other poultry need to reach an internal temperature of at least 165⁰F for 15 seconds before they’re safe to eat. For more specifics, check out our complete guide to safely cooking meat.

Wash raw ingredients well

Before cooking with fruits, herbs, or vegetables, rinse them off under cold running water to remove any debris, bacteria, or chemical coating. This is especially important with cantaloupe and honeydew, which always should be washed before cutting. It’s also good practice to rinse off your eggs before cooking with them.

Be extra cautious with the most vulnerable members of your family

When cooking for older or immunocompromised people, you have to be extra careful and attentive. For someone who’s young and healthy, a case of salmonella from an undercooked chicken breast could cause a few days of illness. But for an older person or someone suffering from an autoimmune disease, that salmonella could be fatal.

CookinGenie takes food safety seriously

When you book a chef through CookinGenie, you can be sure that food safety will be the top priority. Many of the genies are professionals with formal food safety training, and others are experienced home cooks with a proven track record of keeping people safe. Food safety is stressed, and every genie knows that’s the most important thing when cooking for you.

Better yet, when you allow a CookinGenie chef into your home, you can watch them cook to be sure the food is being handled properly. Unlike a restaurant, this in-home set-up allows much more transparency and peace of mind than dining out or ordering takeout.

Author – Jared Kent

 

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Fresh home cooked food by Michael Booth

25 Mar 2021

I believe Cleveland’s own Michael Symon says it best: “Cooking and feeding people always makes me feel better and, I think, it will also make everyone else feel a little more normal and better, too.” 2020 has, to nobody’s surprise, devastated the culinary industry around the world. It has left many cooks, chefs, dishwashers, and servers without a reliable source of income and taken away a major part of their daily drive. But as times change and industries evolve, people find new outlets for work, creativity, and passion to satisfy their craving for fresh food. 

Right as the pandemic took hold and many places were forced to close their doors, I found myself without a kitchen to run and a lot of time on my hands. It allowed me time to pursue other culinary outlets and has given me the chance to explore the world of cuisine from outside the confines of a hot bustling commercial kitchen. With CookinGenie, I am able to keep pursuing that daily drive and practicing my art, even in times of turmoil. At first, as with any new industry, I had my doubts about reversing the typical restaurant status quo and traveling with my expertise. But as I would go on to learn, culinary passion is the same whether it was in a busy kitchen or in someone’s home.  

One of the best feelings of working in a restaurant is going out to the dining room at the end of a busy night and seeing a packed house of customers all having the night of their lives. From couples having a romantic night out, to families celebrating a birthday, it brought a sense of accomplishment and pride to see plates of food that took so much time and effort to make come back practically licked clean. With CookinGenie, I am able to work directly with the client and give them that same sense of satisfaction, while being able to give them and their food one hundred percent more focus and attention. My first client was a family celebrating getting their vaccine and being able to see extended family from out of state for the first time. I was able to connect and bring these people a stress-free, decadent first meal in a long time. It allowed them a chance to reconnect, drink and share all while not having to worry about shopping for fresh ingredients, clean-up, sanitization, or any other worry that could come with traditional restaurants. 

CookinGenie brings a sense of appreciation that is sometimes hard to feel in the back of the house (BoH is anyone that works unseen in the back. Cooks, food runners, dishwashers, etc). Instead of the train of tickets on the line, with orders from 15 different families, CookinGenie allows for a much more personal, romantic experience. When preparing food for a client in their own kitchen, it allows the individuals cooking the meal the chance to really let their culinary talents shine. Most cooks have to follow a menu set by either their chef or the restaurant owner and never have a chance to let their personal talent and skillset succeed. With CookinGenie, the menu, the schedule, the sourcing is all mine. It also allows for menus to be changed seasonally so that you can always guarantee fresh delicious home cooked food

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15 Jul 2020

What is CookinGenie? CookinGenie is a service where delicious and healthy home-cooked meals come with only a couple of taps on your smartphone. The twist is that the food is cooked right in your kitchen.

It’s not catering. It’s not meal kits. It’s not food delivery. It’s not frozen 500 miles away.

It’s made fresh with ingredients from your neighborhood grocery. Enjoy it fresh for lunch or dinner, or as leftovers after. CookinGenie is ideal for you, your family & small parties of less than ten people.

How does it work? Go online to CookinGenie.com and select your dish and a time for our Genies to come to your very own house and cook JUST for you, your family & perhaps a few friends. Then all you have to do is sit back & relax.

Wait, who are our Genies you ask? They are experienced cooks who make delicious foods. Some of them have worked in restaurants before. How do we know about their cooking? Simple, we taste their foods before they cook for you.

A restaurant inside your home. The world on your taste buds (yes we have cooks from diverse backgrounds). More YOU time, while dinner is taken care of.

Check us out today. Book a time with one of our Genies – then sit back & watch us conjure up your dinner. Sounds too good to be true? Yes…. it’s magical. Visit Now: cookingenie.com

 

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