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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Is Hiring a Personal Chef Worth It

29 Sep 2022

The personal chef concept has been around for a while now, with more and more people hiring personal chefs to take care of their dietary needs. But is it worth the money? Is a personal chef better than taking care of your meal planning? Let’s take a closer look. 

The main advantage of hiring a personal chef is that you can meet your food requirements the way you want. Whether you have dietary restrictions or want to eat healthy meals, a personal chef can match your needs. Another benefit is that you’ll save time by not spending hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up. 

If you are wondering whether having a personal chef worth it, here is a quick guide to help you determine. 

Everyday Struggles of Busy Families Without Personal Chef

Families are busier than ever these days. Both parents work full-time, and kids are involved in various activities. Thus, many families struggle to find time to cook meals at home. So, they rely on quick and easy solutions like takeout or frozen dinners. However, these options are usually expensive and unhealthy. 

A personal chef can help solve these problems by preparing wholesome meals that the whole family can enjoy. In addition, a personal chef is also responsible for grocery shopping and cleaning up after cooking. As a result, families can spend more quality time together without having to worry about meal preparation. If you want to simplify your cooking hassles and improve your family’s health, it’s worth hiring a personal chef. 

How a Personal Chef is a Good Replacement for the Other Options Available to People?

The thought of cooking meals from scratch is daunting for many people. Between work, looking after the kids, and managing other household errands, there’s not enough time to prepare fresh meals every day. Therefore, many busy families choose quick and easy solutions like processed or fast foods. 

Hiring a personal chef is an excellent alternative for busy families who want to enjoy fresh, healthy meals without all the hassle. He will work with you to plan a menu of healthy and delicious meals that matches your family’s taste and budget. With everything being their responsibility, from meal planning and grocery shopping to cooking and cleaning, you will relax and enjoy your meals. With the convenience of a personal chef, you can have restaurant-quality meals without stepping foot in the kitchen. 

Also Read: Elevate your Dining Experience with Your Own Personal Chef

How Affordable is Hiring a Personal Chef?

Hiring a personal chef is a luxury that seems out of reach for many people. However, the truth is that personal chefs can be very affordable, especially when compared to the cost of eating out. 

Suppose you and your family dine out eight times a week, considering the average meal price is around $30 per person. With applicable taxes and a 10% tip, it should cost you somewhere around $1000/week. Now, add the $300 (approx.) you spent on groceries for in-house meals. Plus, those incalculable costs like driving to and from the restaurant and waiting time for your food. For most households, all these expenses would exceed their budget. 

Now, let’s say you hired a personal chef. If you factor in the cost of grocery shopping, cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning up, the cost of hiring a personal chef should be less or at par with dining out. 

Money Saver: You pay only for the service but not for tax and tip to the waiter.  

Time Saver: You won’t waste time commuting and waiting for the meal and check. 

What to Expect from a Personal Chef?

A personal chef is a perfect addition to any household. They can take care of all the meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and tidying up, so you can enjoy your free time. But what else to expect from a personal chef? 

Here are a few key things to keep in mind. 

  • Customized Meals: A personal chef will create a menu that suits your taste and budget. They will do all the shopping, prepare meals in your kitchen, and clean up everything afterward. 
  • Accommodate Dietary Restrictions: Whether you’re allergic to gluten or trying to eat healthily, they will be able to make meals that are suitable for you. 
  • Help Save Time and Money: If you often find yourself eating out or ordering takeout because you don’t have time to cook, a personal chef can help you break that cycle. Not only will you save money on food, but you’ll also get to enjoy healthy, delicious meals. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you’ve never hired a chef, you may have questions about what to expect from a chef. Some of the common questions about personal chefs are as follows: 

Do personal chefs clean up after cooking in your kitchen?

Yes, most personal chefs wash any dishes used during the cooking process and clean up your kitchen. 

What if a person is allergic to some ingredients?

If you or someone in your family has food allergies, be sure to inform the chef in advance so that they can prepare meals that are safe for everyone to eat. 

How do I find a personal chef?

There are numerous ways to find a personal chef. You can ask friends or family for recommendations, search online directories, or contact a professional organization such as the USPCA (United States Personal Chef Association). 

CookinGenie Can Help You With Your Cooking Needs 

CookinGenie is a professional chef-on-demand service based in Ohio. We have a team of experienced personal chefs who can cater to your cooking needs for a gathering of up to 20 people. Our chefs are responsible for grocery shopping, food preparation, and clean-up after cooking.  

We understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to cook meals at home. That’s why we offer our services to busy professionals, families, and individuals who want to enjoy delicious, healthy meals without any hassles. 

Our chefs are highly skilled and experienced in numerous cuisines, so you can be sure that your meals are perfectly cooked. In addition, we offer a convenient online booking system so you can easily schedule your chef visits around your busy schedule. 

Contact us today to know more about how we can help you enjoy the delicious meals you deserve. 

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Bibimbap-CookinGenie

07 Apr 2021

CookinGenie lets you travel with food all around the world. Next stop: Korea. 

Sometimes, the humblest foods are the best foods. That’s certainly the case with bibimbapKorea’s answer to fried rice, and—if you ask us—one of the top must-try foods around the world. 

The word “bibimbap” means “mixed rice with meat and vegetables,” and variations of the dish abound. It’s a dish that is endlessly customizable based on whatever the cook has on hand: some versions are made with raw beef and eggs, while others incorporate cooked seafood or pork and fried egg. What all these versions have in common is a base of rice topped with ingredients that are individually prepared and carefully seasoned, then stirred together just before serving. The result is a colorful dish with flavors and textures that are hearty, bold and harmonize beautifully with one another.   

In its article about bibimbap, the Korean Culture Blog cites different origin stories for this famed food, which is centuries old. “One story is that ancestral rituals were performed in the countryside away from home and after the rituals, instead of bringing all the foods back home which was cumbersome, the people mixed together all the foods in one big bowl and ate them all. Another story is that bibimbap came from the ancient custom of mixing leftover cooked rice with all the remaining side dishes and eating it as a midnight snack on the eve of Lunar New Year.  Another story is that while working out in the fields, the farmers mixed together all the nutritious ingredients in one big bowl to have a quick and healthy meal.”1  

Over time, regional variations developed with the most famous version coming from Jeonju, a small city in South Korea. Jeonju bibimbap is made with bean sprouts, gingko nut, pine nut, chestnut, spinach, lettuce, bracken, mushroom, turnip, carrot, seaweed, and beef. It beautifully represents the philosophy of Hansik (traditional Korean food), by combining the five colors that represent the elements that make up the universe—green/water, red/fire, yellow/wood, white/metal and black/earth—and the five flavors: sweet, hot, sour, salty and bitter.2 

There are also variations based on the type of dish bibimbap is made and served in. Traditional yangpun bibimbap is served in a yangpun, a large brass bowl, although these days many Korean cooks reach for a stainless steel bowl to make yangpun bibimbap instead3. One of the most beloved varieties is dolsot bibimbap, which is made in a dolsot—a heavy stone or earthenware bowl that’s heated to a high temperature before ingredients are added. The rice goes in first so it cooks in the hot bowl and forms a crispy, crackling bottom crust that adds a satisfying crunch when everything is stirred together.  

Bibimbap took flight outside Korea—literally—and gained notice as one of the best foods in the world in the late twentieth century when South Korean Airlines began serving it for inflight meals. Its popularity quickly spread: Wikipedia calls the dish a global symbol that symbolizes the harmony and balance in Korean culture4 and CNN Travel listed it at number 40 on its 2011 list of the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.5  

CookinGenie’s Jared Kent makes his bibimbap by topping seasoned white rice with spicy ground pork and garlicky carrots, soy-glazed spinach, quick-pickled cucumbers, green onions and kimchiand crowning it all with a crispy fried egg. (He makes a just-veggies version for you vegetarians out there too). Just before serving, he drizzles the bowl with a sweet-and-spicy gochujang-soy sauce that ties it all together.  

And just a quick note: we added bibimbap to our menu at the request of one of our customers. Are you craving a dish and don’t see it on our menu? Just ask! Our team of Genies are inventive cooks with a deep repertoire of recipes—so chances are one of our chefs can help you satisfy your cravings for famous food from around the world. Send us an email with your special request to support@cookingenie.com 

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Made to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis

22 Oct 2020

What makes us human? Some would argue that it’s the act of cooking — whether it’s boiling, broiling, roasting, baking, or barbecuing — that separates us from every other species on Earth. 

 In 1999, Harvard professor of biological anthropology Richard Wrangham published an article in the Current Anthropology journal called “The Raw and the Stolen: Cooking and the Ecology of Human Origins. Known as “the cooking hypothesis,” Wrangham’s groundbreaking new theory of human evolution proposed that taming fire to cook food changed the course of human evolution. 

 In his article and his 2009 book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Wrangham argued that cooking allowed our human ancestors to process food more efficiently — and this change had a profound impact on evolution. While all other animals eat raw foods, Wrangham theorized that our ancestors began cooking their food some 1.8 million years ago, a change that gave early man the ability to process food more efficiently. It takes a long time, and a very large jaw and teeth, to grind down raw meat and plant matter. Before our ancestors learned how to cook, Wrangham estimated that half of their waking hours were spent simply chewing enough food to subsist, leaving little time for anything else. Cooking alters the chemical structure of food, breaking down the connective tissues in meat, and softening the cells of plants to release their starches and fats. This makes cooked food easier to chew and digest. This also helpthe body to use less energy to convert food into calories. Once the cooking was introduced, he estimated that our ancestors had an extra four hours in their day — time that could be spent huntingforaging, and slowly beginning to organizinto societiesWrangham explained, “The extra energy gave the first cooks biological advantages. They survived and reproduced better than before. Their genes spread. Their bodies responded by biologically adapting to cooked food, shaped by natural selection to take maximum advantage of the new diet. There were changes in anatomy, physiology, ecology, life history, psychology, and society.”  

This higher calorie, higher-quality diet lead to the evolution of bigger brains and bodies, and smaller jaws and teeth—a transformation that gradually resulted in modern man. From the control of fire and the growth in brain size, it’s not such a large leap to the development of dedicated hearths, the introduction of pottery and other tools for cooking, and the domestication of plants and animals.  

(Also ReadWhat eating healthy looks like)

 Wrangham’s theory is, of course, just that: a theory. Archaeological history to support control of fire 1.8 million years ago has not yet been found, but the recent discovery of ash in a South African cave suggests that our ancestors were controlling fire at least 1 million years ago — far earlier than previous evidence suggested. It may be just a matter of time before definitive evidence that proves Wrangham’s theory is found.  

 And If Wrangham’s theory is correct, we truly are what we eat.  

 If cooking is so fundamental to our evolution as people, it is a wonder that we don’t have time to make home-cooked meals with wholesome ingredients. Modern life has created many barriers to our ability to prepare home-cooked meals. What do we do if we don’t have time for home cookingBusinesses like CookinGenie can help you bring cooking where it belongs—in your own kitchen—even when you don’t have time to cook yourself. Check out our menus, and book your Genie today for building healthy eating habits in the family.  

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