9 Simple Steps to Keep Your Home Kitchen Clean & Sanitary

Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘A clean home is a happy home?’ Well this phrase especially applies to the heart of the home, better known as the kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for your loved ones or cooking for hungry customers who ordered from your menu on the HomeMade App, maintaining a clean kitchen is the single most important part of your preparation process. Good kitchen hygiene ensures that people can enjoy your delicious food while remaining happy, healthy, and worry-free — which is the key to keeping your customers coming back for more. 

 

Ready to learn how to keep your kitchen clean while cooking delicious meals for your home-based restaurant? You’ve come to the right place!  Here are 9 simple hacks to keep your kitchen squeaky clean as you prepare meals for your microenterprise home kitchen operation.

 

Person Washing Hands Before Cooking

 

CheckStep #1: Wash Hands Frequently

This step goes without saying, but it’s so important that it can’t be skipped over! The most fundamental way to keep your kitchen AND your food clean is by washing your hands frequently while you cook. Before you begin prepping your ingredients, wash your hands for 30 seconds according to the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep your hands clean throughout your cooking process by washing your hands after touching raw ingredients. Also wash your hands after any activity that requires you to touch other items including smoking, eating, drinking, touching trash, or touching body parts including your face. Germs linger everywhere even in unexpected places, so washing before and after you touch items throughout your home ensures that you keep your kitchen clean as you prepare tasty meals for your customers.

 

Pro Tip: We know it’s hard to stop scrolling, but you can keep your hands extra clean by minimizing phone use while cooking. Phones hold more gems than almost any other item we use in our day to day lives.

 

Keeping a Clean Kitchen

 

CheckStep #2: Create a clean cooking space

There’s nothing like the feeling of creating a tasty meal in a clean kitchen! It gives you the physical AND the mental space to get creative with your meals, plus it ensures that everything your food touches is squeaky clean and germ-free. Before you begin cooking wash any dirty dishes, clear away any clutter, and wipe down your countertops and sink thoroughly. You can use sanitary wipes or bleach diluted in water to disinfect any surfaces — both options work just fine! 

 

Pro Tip: To keep your kitchen clean while cooking, have your go-to cleaning products and sanitary supplies close by so that you can tidy up as you go. Make sure to reset your space by cleaning up any sticky spills after prepping each ingredient to prevent any cross-contaminations or spreading of germs.  

 

Clean Wooden Kitchen Utensils

 

CheckStep #3: Sanitize Your Cooking Utensils

Your cooking utensils are some of the most important tools you’ll use in the kitchen, which makes it all the more important for them to be sanitized before they touch any food you’ll be preparing. Before you get to cooking, sanitize your cooking utensils by washing any dishes, pots, and pans and detachable pieces such as blades or handles in hot soapy water. Rinse them in clean water to remove any excess soap or residue, then place your items in a container and submerge them in a sanitizing solution. You can create your own solution by mixing 1 tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of warm (not hot) water. Remove your utensils from the solution and let them dry fully before using them to cook. Also, no double-dipping! Do not reuse the same utensils while cooking unless you thoroughly clean them first — especially if you are the designated taste tester.

 

Pro Tip: Use a different cutting board for the different categories of food you work with so that you never cross-contaminate. This is not only important for sanitation, but it is important to prevent cross-contamination that can cause your customers to become sick or have allergic reactions. We recommend purchasing a pack of color-coded cutting boards on Amazon to ensure that you never cut up your meat and vegetables on the same board.

 

Tidy Dry Goods Stored in Pantry

 

CheckStep #4: Use Best Practices for Washing & Storing Ingredients

Now that your cooking area and utensils are clean, it’s time to make sure the ingredients you’ll be cooking with are clean too. Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables should be washed under cold running tap water. DO NOT use soap or detergent to wash your produce — cold water works just fine to safely remove dirt. Once your produce is clean, cut any damaged or bruised areas and refrain from using them since bacteria can thrive in these areas of fresh produce. Wash and chop your produce, then immediately place it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and safe to eat.

 

After all the hard work you’ve done to clean your kitchen, you wouldn’t want it all to go to waste by spreading even more germs in the process, right? According to the USDA, it is not recommended to wash raw poultry and meat because bacteria can easily spread to other foods utensils and surfaces.  The best way to keep your meat bacteria-free is to simply cook it at a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. This is also the best way to maintain the highest kitchen sanitation standards by preventing the spread of food-borne bacteria from splashing over different surfaces where you typically prepare meals.

 

CheckStep #5: Keep Your Prep & Cooking Space Dry at All Times

Damp areas in your kitchen are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to spread, so do not let wet items sit around for too long. Wipe up any spills or messes made while you’re cooking as soon as they happen. Instead of using sponges and towels so frequently, consider using disposable paper towels or wipes. 

 

Also remember to disinfect your hand towels and sponges weekly. You can throw your kitchen towels into the washing machine with your laundry. To clean your sponges, saturate them in water and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, then dry thoroughly. Or you can soak your sponges in bleach or vinegar to disinfect them before rinsing them out.

 

CheckStep #6: Handle the disposal of waste and garbage properly

Cooking can easily become a messy task that leads to the accumulation of tons of trash — especially when you’re cooking for a large number of people. Don’t let your garbage pile up on you while you cook! Keep separate disposal methods handy for the different types of garbage you’ll create: one for cans or bottles such as a recycling bin, and one for scraps of food such as a compost bowl.  This will help you skip multiple steps during your post-cleanup routine and it will lower the risk of any potential cross-contamination of bacteria.

 

Woman Taking Baked Cookies Out of the Oven

 

CheckStep #7: Be aware of recommended cooking times for all ingredients

When cooking for customers of your home kitchen, adhering to all recommended cooking times for ingredients, especially raw foods, is essential to kitchen sanitation. Cooking times aren’t only important because they ensure that your meals are fully cooked and ready to eat, they’re also important because they ensure that the ingredients have been cooked long enough to kill any bacteria or germs. 

 

Thaw foods by using the refrigerator, microwave, oven, or by placing sealed packages in cold running water. Do not thaw food on your kitchen counter under any circumstances. The outer layers of the food will warm before the inside thaws, and bacteria will grow and spread in these conditions. 

 

If you can’t serve your food immediately once it is hot and fresh out of the oven, put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as it’s cooled or within 2 hours of preparation.

 

CheckStep #8: Keep Your Meal Packaging Sanitary

Since your customers will be picking up their tasty meals to go, you want to make sure their food stays clean and germ-free from beginning to end! Before you pack their meals in your preferred packaging, thoroughly sanitize and dry them. Similar to your cooking utensils, you can sanitize your meal packaging by washing them in hot soapy water. Rinse them in clean water to remove any excess soap or residue, then let them dry fully before packing your meal orders. For the safest meal packaging options for your to-go orders use new, disposable packaging such as biodegradable and compostable food packaging items to minimize single use plastic or styrofoam waste and stay eco-friendly. You can google several companies offering multiple biodegradable container options in bulk such as Be Green Packaging

 

Woman Writing Kitchen Cleaning Schedule in Notebook

 

CheckStep #9: Have a Cleaning calendar for overall kitchen maintenance

Prepping your kitchen to cook will always require some additional time, but you can make this process a bit easier for yourself by creating a regular routine for cleaning different parts of your kitchen. 

 

 A cleaning schedule is essential for your home-based restaurant because it ensures all food preparation areas are kept clean and sanitized at all times. It also creates a simple and easy reference for everything that needs to be done to keep each area of the kitchen clean. 

 

To create a cleaning schedule, walk through your kitchen and make a list of all the items that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Include everything from pots, pans, and equipment to walls, floors, and doorknobs. Once you have everything listed, take notes on how it is cleaned, how often it needs to be cleaned, and what materials are needed to clean it. Break this list down into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and add this schedule to your phone so you can always make sure that your kitchen is nice and clean before preparing meals for your customers.

 

Proper sanitary practices have always been important but amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become even more essential for the food industry to gain the trust of their customers by taking the utmost care to create the safest and healthiest experience possible. Follow these simple kitchen cleaning steps to keep your cooking space squeaky clean so your customers can enjoy your tasty food without the fear of catching germs! If you have any questions about the best kitchen cleaning practices, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at the HomeMade app – we’d be happy to help! 

The HomeMade App Launches in Los Angeles to Help Local Chefs Sell Home Cooked Meals

HomeMade App Launch Shown on Mobile Phone

 

The HomeMade App Launches in Los Angeles and Surrounding Counties to Help Local Chefs Sell Home Cooked Meals Through Their Mobile Platform

 

In April 2020,  the HomeMade App officially announced the launch of its mobile application on the App Store and Google Play. The app will enable local residents in Los Angeles and surrounding Counties to order freshly made home-cooked food through their mobile platform. HomeMade will also introduce a new sector of the gig economy to Los Angeles residents by providing home-based cooks with the tools they need to start and operate their own home kitchen operations. 

 

The HomeMade App began gaining traction prior to its official launch, amassing more than 1,000 signups from chefs worldwide through organic web searches, social media, and blog posts. The app is also now the number one ranked app on google for homemade food apps.

 

 

Founded by Kapil Pershad and Yaniv Horovitz, the HomeMade App makes it simple for home cooks to operate their microenterprise home kitchen operations, also known as home-based restaurants, by giving them access to easy-to-use tools to attract hungry local customers, create their online menus, manage orders, and get paid easily. For hungry patrons, the HomeMade App will enable them to discover local home-based cooks in their community by browsing a unique selection of menus featuring healthy, affordable, and authentic cuisine from around the world. 

 

“Since the California Homemade Food Act (AB-626) was signed into law in 2018, our team has been working very hard to create a platform that connects local chefs with hungry neighbors in their community in search of new, tasty and fresh homemade food dishes to experience. We’re proud of what we’ve done with the HomeMade App and the way that it will make social sharing through culinary experiences a reality for residents in Los Angeles and surrounding Counties,” 

 

Preparing Home Cooked Meals on Cutting Board

 

The concept of making home-based restaurants more convenient and accessible has always been necessary to create more opportunities in the gig economy for local chefs in Los Angeles and surrounding cities. However, creating these opportunities have become increasingly essential amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The HomeMade App will offer an alternative stream of income to chefs who do not have the capital to open a food business, or have recently been laid off from their jobs.

 

The app went into development after Assembly Bill 626 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 18th, 2018. This bill “microenterprise home kitchen operations,” AKA MEHKOs, allows individuals to operate a restaurant from their private residence as a new approach to retail food options. The HomeMade App is currently only available to residents of select cities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, but the aim is to expand throughout all of California, across the nation, and eventually worldwide. 

 

App Features

 

HomeMade App Launch in App Store and Google Play

 

  • Home-based chefs can create their own menus and add mouth-watering images of the food they love to cook that attracts their very own tribe of hungry neighbors.

 

  • Home-based cooks can customize a schedule for their home kitchen so they’re empowered to work when they want doing what they love to do.

 

  • Chefs can manage orders through real-time notifications and get paid instantly with one tap of a button.

 

  • Home-based chefs can connect with their customers through an in-app live chat that makes communicating with their customers simple and easy 

 

  • Chefs can host foodie events to market their menu of homemade food while connecting with hungry members of their local community.

 

 

About the HomeMade App

 

HomeMade is a whole new way to eat! We connect local home-based cooks with nearby hungry customers who can browse unique menus and order fresh and healthy homemade food. The HomeMade App is free to download on the App Store and Google Play. For more information, please visit the HomeMade website at https://homemadefood.app/.

 

 

Contact: 
Chelsea Horovitz
[email protected]

 

The Ultimate Guide to AB-626 MICROENTERPRISE HOME KITCHEN OPERATIONS in Riverside County

Home-based cooks, this is not a drill! Thanks to the Assembly bill (AB-626), it is now legal to create your very own Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation (MEHKO) in Riverside County. By following a few simple steps and obtaining the right certifications, you can start legally selling your delicious homemade cooking to local hungry customers, right from the comfort of your own kitchen! 

Use this helpful guide plus the quick reference graphic below for step-by-step directions on how you can get your microenterprise home kitchen permit, get your profile setup on HomeMade, and get cookin’ today!

 

Riverside county microenterprise home kitchen operation guide

CheckStep 1: Download The HomeMade App

First things first, it’s time to create your account on the Homemade App so that you can begin selling your homemade food on your own time, on your own terms and make money doing what you love.

Your profile on the HomeMade app will become your premium portal for connecting with local foodies in your community who want to eat your tasty home cooked dishes. With the HomeMade app, you’ll have a virtual storefront for your home-based cooking business to attract hungry neighbors, plus access to real-time data on sales and earnings which you receive after completed transactions. 

You can download the HomeMade App on Google Play or App Store with the links below to get started right away!

 

CheckStep 2: Complete the Riverside County MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form

It’s time to make it official by submitting the Riverside County MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form. By completing this form, you’re giving Riverside County the head’s up that you plan to open your own Microenterprise Home Kitchen, and you’re acknowledging that you understand the restrictions and procedures of operating a home-based cooking business. Filling out this form is easy! You can fill it out online by simply clicking on each box and typing your responses. We know it’s a bit lengthy, but it’s important that you fill out every section accurately to ensure that you can get that certified stamp of approval as a Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operator with minimal fuss. Once you’ve completed the form, save the document as a pdf file on your computer.

 

You can find the MEHKO Standard Operating Procedures Form here:

English Version

 

CheckStep 3: Complete The Riverside County MEHK Permit Application

Now that you’ve been schooled on how to operate your home kitchen, It’s time to get certified by getting your MEHK permit! This permit is your golden ticket to legally operating your home-based cooking business, so this is a very important step in the process. We made this part super easy for you by creating an online version of the MEHK permit form. Simply click the link below and it will guide you through the entire process. Once you submit your MEHK permit application, a copy of your completed form will be emailed to you.

Link to Riverside County Health Permit Application:

English Version

 

CheckStep 4: Get Your Food Safety Manager Certification

You know how to operate a microenterprise home kitchen and you submitted an application to receive your MEHK permit, but you can’t forget about food safety! Before you can sell your first meal,  you must take a course in food safety and handling to ensure that you know all of the useful information you need to prepare safe, healthy food for your hungry customers. If applicable, you will need each person other than yourself to obtain a Food Handlers Certification, too.

You can clink the link below to find all of the information you need regarding the Food Safety Manager Certification, as well as a list of accredited organizations that offer food safety management certification training. The training is available online  in multiple languages, making it as accessible and as simple as 1,2,3.

 

Link to Riverside County’s information page on Food Safety Manager Certification

Link to Riverside County’s Food Handlers Online Course

 

CheckStep 5: Contact Riverside County and Submit Your Application

The hard part is almost over! You filled out all of the required forms, and you’re now ready to submit your application.  Call your local office to make an appointment to submit your documents at (888) 722-4234. Local offices are located in Blythe, Corona, Hemet, Indio, Murrieta, Palm Springs, and Riverside.

Wait! Before your submit, here’s your checklist of all of the documents you must include:

  • Riverside County Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation (MEHKO) – Standard Operating Procedures Form
  • Riverside County Health Permit Application
  • Completion Certificate for Food Safety Manager Course
  • Food Handlers Certification for all persons involved in the MEHKO other than the Manager

 

CheckStep 6: Prepare Your Home Kitchen for Onsite Inspection

Ready to get your home kitchen up and running? Before you can sell your first meal, you must pass the Environmental Health Specialist’s inspection first. Prepare your microenterprise home kitchen operation for inspection day by making sure that your kitchen is in top notch shape. The Environmental Health Specialist will also inspect consumer eating areas, restrooms, janitorial or cleaning facilities, refuse storage areas, and attached rooms within the home that are used for food, utensils, and equipment storage. Vehicles used for transporting food will also be reviewed. Sanitize all of these areas before your inspection and on a regular basis to ensure that you’re always serving delicious AND safe meals to your future customers.

 

CheckStep 7: Create your Menu on the Homemade App

Congratulations, you’re officially in business! Now you’re ready to build your very own foodie tribe on the Homemade App by creating a unique menu of home cooked meals that’ll keep nearby customers coming back for more. In addition to being a virtual storefront for your microenterprise home kitchen, the HomeMade app allows you to up your marketing game by providing you with tools to customize your unique menu (include link to other blog post here). Once you select your featured dishes, double check that all of your ingredients are MEHKO-approved, and snap some food selfies, you can use the Homemade App to tell the world about your tasty dishes on social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The Homemade App also brings local foodies to you, so there’s endless opportunities for you to build and grow your foodie tribe!

 

Simple and ConvenientYou’re officially all set to get rolling in the kitchen! As you take your home kitchen into full gear, always keep these MEHKO restrictions in mind:

  1. Only one MEHKO is permitted per site. The Operator (or manager) must be the resident of the private home and is responsible for the operation.
  2. All food must be prepared, cooked and served on the same day.
  3. all food created by the MEHKO cannot be sold to other food facilities for resale
  4. Delivery to the consumer must be done by an employee of the MEHKO, a family member, or household member of the Permit holder.
  5. No signage or other outdoor displays for advertising are allowed.
  6. A maximum of 30 meals per day and 60 meals per week can be served with an annual sales cap of $50,000
  7. MEHKOs may not produce, serve, or use raw milk, serve raw oysters, or any food that would require a HACCP Plan.

 

These simple steps are the only thing holding you back from turning your passion for cooking into your very own micro entreprise home kitchen! If you get stuck at any point along the way, the HomeMade support team is always here to help you succeed during any step of this process. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about the application process, downloading the app, customizing your menu, or if you just want to find out more information on how to get started. Drop us a line by clicking here. Good luck and can’t wait to start cookin’ with you!