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Cooking for an older couple


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Hello Gulleters!

 

here's the deal.  I, like everyone here, loves to cook and I usually make more than is needed for the two of us in my home.  My partner's brother is a low-income single father of two, so where applicable, he gets "leftovers", usually in takeaway containers and often frozen.

he raves to everyone about my food, and now I have a new situation.

an older couple, remotely related through family, have recently cancelled their 'Meals-On-Wheels' program because they don't like the food.  The remote sister of a friend etc has reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to provide some meals such as might be of better quality to fill the gap.  Partners brother really recommended my food etc.

 I'm more than happy, and even a little excited about the idea, and that's why I'm asking you folk to offer advice on how I should approach this.

please keep in mind that I have over 20 years in the industry so don't really need entry level advice.

more along the line of what might I need to invest in for a home kitchen? Do I need a license if I am selling this food on such a small level and so on.

 

thanks

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Sorry to reply to myself, but to clarify:

 

I wouldn't be approaching this as a business, as such, and wouldn't be "selling" in the normal sense.  I would probably only require payment for the ingredients and labour/overheads without a profit.

 I already have most of the kitchen equipment I would need, so I'm thinking more about things like bigger waste disposal containers, more bulk items, industrial dishwasher detergents, disposable containers and stickers for instructions and dietary information.

 

the thing here is that the older couple live in a retirement village and I've been told that there is a very good possibility that more work might come my way, so if I do this, I want to start right.

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Do you have a high end pressure cooker?  I used cheapies like Fresca and Lagostina for years, until I got a Caphalon, which is a re-branded German brand.  It has made a lot of difference in my one pot meals, as it achieves a true 250 F temperature and cooking time is reduced. I cook for myself; I frequently cut vegs and proteins to similar size, and cook for 10-20 minutes. You probably know all that, but here is a tip from Jacques Pepin:   his mother would buy day old or last day sale items at the market for her restaurant, often one hour before the market shut down.  Pepin insisted that over ripe items had great flavor and nutrients,at low cost.

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You should read THIS thread by CaliPoutine older people can be really picky, and not realize that their tastes have changed with aging. Someplace in there is a good description of how they would always complain about the meat being tough.

 

Anyway, I'd do a really in-depth interview about their tastes and food heritage.

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A conversation about expectations is certainly a good idea. 

 

But I would not at ALL assume that "older" means either provincial or bland 

How old are we talking about ?

 

 

On the other note,

if you are doing this just as a private caterer for one couple, I doubt very much that you need a commercial kitchen license in your area. 

 

 

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On 8/1/2017 at 7:44 AM, Cronker said:

the thing here is that the older couple live in a retirement village and I've been told that there is a very good possibility that more work might come my way, so if I do this, I want to start right.

I'd say that you need to decide whether you want to use the "I'm going to cook exactly what each person/family wants" model, or whether you want to come up with a menu that you offer to all your clients. (Are you going to be more like a personal chef, or more like a restaurant?)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I see some posts about the actual food, which is nice and probably helpful, but that's not what Cronker is asking at the moment.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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On 8/1/2017 at 4:33 AM, Cronker said:

please keep in mind that I have over 20 years in the industry so don't really need entry level advice.

more along the line of what might I need to invest in for a home kitchen? Do I need a license if I am selling this food on such a small level and so on.

 

If you've been in the industry for 20 yrs, you are probably familiar with your local regulations and understand how widely they vary from state to state here in the US and in other countries.   I'm not sure where you are.

 

Here in California, a "cottage food act" was passed a few years ago but it only allows sale of home-produced items that require no refrigeration (breads and some baked goods, candy, jams, mustards and other condiments, dried pasta, granola, etc.)  There is a bill in the California legislature (AB-626 - California Retail Food Code: microenterprise home kitchen operations) that seeks set standards that would allow sales of a broader range of foods.  If you follow that link in the bill title, you can see the text and get an understanding of the proposed regulations.

 

The tech start-up Josephine, which offers an interface to match home cooks with interested clients had to suspend operations in California last year due to legal challenges related to food safety.  The company is now working with its former opposition, the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health as well as cooks, legal experts, and food and labor justice organizations on AB-626.   I hope they are successful as it could open some wonderful opportunities for home cooks.

 

For general interest, here's a link to a 2015 Atlantic article: Why I Quit Ordering From Uber-for-Food Start-Ups that compares the Josephine experience favorably to a number of other food start-ups. 

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