September is National Food Safety Month – Here are Some Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

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

24 Sep 2021

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September is National Food Safety Month – Here are Some Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

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

 


Related Post

Hiring a personal chef what to expect in terms of cost

14 Oct 2022

Are you thinking about hiring a personal chef? It’s a great way to free up your time and enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals. But what does it cost to hire a personal chef? In this post, we’ll look at the factors that affect the cost of hiring a personal chef. We’ll also provide tips on getting the most value for your money. If you’re considering hiring a personal chef but don’t know what to expect in terms of cost, read below to learn more. 

Factors that Affect the Cost of Hiring a Personal Chef

Trying to figure out how much it will cost to hire a personal chef can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube – there are so many variables!  

Some of the most critical factors that affect the cost of hiring a personal chef are as follows: 

  1. The size of the kitchen: A larger kitchen will require more time to clean and prep, which means higher rates. 
  2. The menu: A complicated menu with many ingredients will take longer to prepare and be more expensive. A simple menu will be less costly. 
  3. The number of guests: More people means more food, which raises the price. 
  4. Special dietary needs: If you or someone in your family has special dietary needs, the chef may consider that when planning menus and preparing food, which can add to the cost. 
  5. Location: If you live in a remote area or an urban center, you will also need to consider the chef’s travel time and expenses into the cost.   

Average Costs of Hiring a Personal Chef

If you’re like most people, having a personal chef may seem like a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. However, the average cost of hiring a personal chef is surprisingly affordable. The average price of booking a private chef is $50 to $200 per hour in a state like Ohio. This rate can vary depending on the chef’s experience, geographic location, and the type of food he will prepare.  

For example, if you’re looking for a gourmet chef to prepare an elegant dinner party, you can expect to pay more than if you’re seeking someone to cook healthy meals for your family weekly. However, even with these factors, the average cost of hiring a personal chef is still quite reasonable. So if you’re tired of eating out or cooking the same old thing night after night, why not hire a personal chef? You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy having someone else do the cooking for you. 

Also Read: How to organize a birthday party at home?

Ways to Save Money when Hiring a Personal Chef

If you’re tired of eating out all the time or eating unhealthy processed food, you may be considering hiring a personal chef. But before you shell out the big bucks, there are a few ways to save money on the cost. 

  • First, check the chef service provider’s website or blog for coupons or discounts. Many platforms offer discounts for first-time clients or referrals. 
  • Second, ask the service provider if they offer any package deals. For example, some companies will offer a discount if you hire a chef from them for multiple meals per week. 
  • Third, take advantage of any special promotions the company may be running. For instance, many service providers offer seasonal discounts or discounts for bookings made in advance. 
  • Fourth, ask if the chef is willing to use some of your groceries instead of buying all new ingredients. 

Following these tips can save money when hiring a personal chef without sacrificing quality or service.  

To summarize, hiring a personal chef is an excellent way to save time and money and eat healthy. You no longer have to worry about what you make for dinner daily because the chef will take care of it! Plus, they can come right when you are hungry, so there’s never any more stress involved in cooking something quickly before bedtime or on busy workdays. 

Moreover, convenience is a significant advantage of hiring a personal chef over doing everything yourself. Plus, if things don’t turn out as planned (occasionally), at least you know who has your back should anything go wrong. 

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30 Oct 2019

Workarounds to cooking are ubiqitous. From food delivery apps to meal kits. Quietly, unobserved by mainstream food industry, private individuals are selling meals right from their own kitchens. Allowing neighbors to pick up from their homes or offering delivery or meet up options. These individuals can make a decent side hustle providing regular menus and meals for a small group of customers. Things like Facebook groups make this easy to expand and reach a wider customer base.

But how do you know the condition of the kitchens in which this food is getting cooked? Cleanliness? Safety? Commercial kitchens have to be mindful about environmental cleanliness. There, your food is prepared in a safe and sanitary environment. You can expect safe handwashing practices. Safe food handling. Attention is paid to proper food storage and safe cooking temperatures to avoid illness. Professional restaurants even have to think about food safety during delivery. Such as keeping hot and cold items packaged separately and insulated properly to maintain proper temperatures. For your average neighborhood cooks, you have to take for granted that their homes are safe places to cook in. The Board of Health is not inspecting these home kitchens. If they did a surprise inspection on one of these home chef kitchens what would they find? In each of our homes we have different levels of cleanliness that we deem acceptable. What is acceptable to you might not work for me. Let’s explore some of those grey areas. Does the home have pets? Is the owner’s precious kitty walking on the same counter your chopped salad will be prepped on? Perhaps after she’s been digging in kitty litter? Is there smoking in the home? Even if not while the cooking is being done, are those chemicals in the air? What about common kitchen pests? Are their kids in the home? Are they helping to prepare the food? That’s a lovely thought unless we consider all the things little hands touch, and the lack of thoroughness in their hand washing.

We all love the idea of eating home cooked meals. We enjoy eating freshly prepared food that is lovingly prepared. We aren’t saying that all these kitchens are biohazards. But we do encourage you to find out for yourself. The provider of such foods should not be offended by questions regarding food prep and safety. When in doubt ask the provider in question what levels of food safety are being practiced keeping your food safe before you eat it. If you’ve ever been affected by food poisoning, you’ll understand the threat skimping in any of these areas can cause.

Alternately, if you put your faith on us, we will simply use your kitchen to cook your meals. Now, that is a surest way to ensure that your food is being prepared fresh in an environment you trust.

Reference: https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/food-safety-strategies-safer-delivery-takeout

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Health Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

26 Jul 2022

It’s no secret that a balanced diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle, and home-cooked meals are the best way to meet those daily nutrient requirements. But for the majority, following a diet plan with their busy schedule is impossible. If you struggle to prepare healthy, fresh meals for yourself and your family daily, you might benefit from hiring a personal chef. 

Having a personal chef prepare your meals will make it much easier to develop a healthy lifestyle. You will also be able to spend quality time with your family and ease the pressure of cooking and cleaning. 

To ensure that your family is eating well, a personal chef can step in to help meet your family’s needs for quality, nutritious food in the following ways. 

No Stress of Planning Meals or Shopping

Planning your daily or weekly meals and shopping for the required ingredients is part of the job of your private chef. It means you don’t need to go through the stress of buying groceries, preparing meals, and cleaning up the kitchen. 

Without a personal chef, juggling kitchen chores, hectic work schedules, and kids’ after-school activities affect your stress level. Following this routine daily, sooner or later, takes a toll on your mental and physical health. 

However, with a personal chef at home, you can have enough time to look after your other priorities and enjoy quality time with your family. 

Better Portion Control with Less Wastage

While keeping a check on your diet is a task in itself, it gets more challenging when you also need to control the portions for every meal. Inexperienced home cooks can overestimate the quantity, making you consume more calories and ruin your hard day in the gym. 

With the convenience of a personal chef, you can be assured that the food gets prepared in the right portion sizes with little or no wastage. 

Meet Daily Nutritional Requirements with No Compromise on Taste 

Preparing wholesome, nutritious meals that taste like restaurant food but without unhealthy ingredients requires skills that personal chefs know better than home cooks. As a dietician helps you make healthy and nutritious food choices, a personal chef ensures you meet those nutritional requirements through the food prepared by him without compromising taste. 

Food Gets Prepared, Keeping Dietary Restrictions and Allergies in Check 

A personal chef knows multiple ways to prepare the same dish with different ingredients. This talent allows them to cater to clients with varied dietary specifications efficiently. 

If you are allergic to some ingredients or your doctor has suggested avoiding something specific (like trans-fat to manage your cholesterol level) a personal chef can help. Your chef can produce meals accommodating such restrictions while not depriving you of your favorite dishes. Expecting mothers can also hire a private chef to satisfy their cravings without overlooking dietary constraints. 

Freshly Cooked Food is Healthier   

Studies have proved that fresh, home-cooked meals are healthier than those ordered from fast food outlets. Still, people tend to prefer having the latter accusing their busy lifestyle and not having the time to cook. In the long run, such a lifestyle causes health risks, and thus one must consider home-cooked meals freshly prepared by a personal chef. 

With a personal chef, you can enjoy the taste of restaurant-style food (if that’s what you crave) without the hacks (high sugar and fat) used by eateries. What sweetens the deal, even more, is how hiring a personal chef is more affordable than spending time and money ordering online and visiting restaurants. 

Book A Personal Chef Now 

Now that you know the health benefits of hiring a personal chef, book one today and let him cook and customize your meals to support your health goals and nutritional needs. When you eat meals prepared using fresh groceries (bought by the chef), you can always stay on track as you strive to maintain your health. You will not need to waste time agonizing over menus, shopping, and preparation, as you can count on your personal chef. 

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