Food and home safety
Safety is the number one priority when cooking for customers.
To join the Dinner Elf platform, you're already an expert in food safety based on:
- your passing and submission of a valid food handler's certificate
- past experience in commercial kitchens and/or culinary school
In addition, we require a 100% passing score on the Dinner Elf quiz that covers the below material.
💡 As a cooking professional, the food you prepare should be much safer than customers cooking for themselves.
Wash your hands upon entering the customer's home, and as needed throughout cooking. Watch this 2-minute video for the Oscar-worthy performances.
The improper handling and cooking of meat create a very real risk of food poisoning or campylobacter. Watch this 3-minute video for tips.
- Sanitize all surfaces where you will be doing food preparation.
- Touching your smartphone can be another source of cross-contamination. Sanitize your phone before beginning food preparation.
- Wash your hands before you cook or handle ingredients, anytime you leave the kitchen and return to it, and after handling any raw meat.
- When purchasing raw meat at the grocery store, place it in a plastic bag to help prevent cross-contamination.
- Store raw meat, wrapped in a clean plastic bag, in a cooler or the customer’s fridge until ready to cook.
- Use a separate cutting board for raw meat handling. Consider bringing your own cutting board sheets.
- Clean your cutting board thoroughly with soap and hot water.
- Wash all produce before cooking with it.
- Don't use the same kitchen towel from home to home.
- Wear disposable kitchen gloves when handling raw meat.
- Reminder: You'll likely cook immunocompromised customers.
Watch this 50-second video.
- Use a dedicated cooler bag to transport raw meat from the grocery store to the customer’s home. Use a second cooler bag to transport other perishables.
Watch this 20-second video.
Watch this 45-second video.
- Bring and use a food thermometer at every cooking appointment.
All groceries must be purchased en route to your customer's home per local health department laws and regulations. Never purchase groceries for two appointments in the same visit to the grocery store.
⚠️ Intermediate storage might be faster, but it's unsafe, illegal, and you'll be removed from the platform if you do (customers let us know).
⚠️ All cooking must be done in your customer's kitchen.
Health department laws and regulations stipulate that food preparation for resale must be done in an inspected, licensed, food production facility (e.g. not your own kitchen). Cooking in a customer's home is ok.
Other food safety tips
- Use a hairnet or hat to prevent hair get into a customer's food.
- Clean your phone at the start of each shift to prevent cross-contamination from germs on your phone to the food.
Here's one final 2 minute video to wrap up:
In addition to food safety, be diligent in protecting your customers' homes.
- Bring an inexpensive fire extinguisher or baking soda to customer appointments in the event of a fire.
Damage to cookware
- Never set a hot pot on a glass table, as the table may crack (we've seen it happen).
- If cooking with ceramic pots, read these tips. In short, use low heat and minimal cold water, as ceramic pots break easily.
- Some customers have high-end cookware. Avoid damage from scratching and thermal shock warping/breakage by reading these tips.
Children and pets
- Recommend that children and pets are not allowed in the kitchen during the cooking appointment for their safety (hot water, etc).
- You should never be responsible for supervising children or pets.
Leaving the home
- Never leave the customer’s home with the oven or cooktop on, even if you are just running out to your car to grab supplies.
- At the end of your appointment, always take a photo of the oven and stove in an off position.