Thursday, October 9, 2008

Foodborne Illnesses

It's that time of the year. The potluck food Olympics are about to begin. Co-workers, neighbors and family members are anticipating taking their new recipes to holiday parties and family reunions. But, they're bringing more than just food. They're bringing armies of germs, bacteria and microscopic organisms that would love to work their way into any and every digestive tract they can find.

Everyone is obligated to bring a casserole, desert, meat, or salad. However, they may not take as much pride or care in the preparation of their contribution. Even worse, they might actually mean well but, they don't follow the rules of good hygiene. They simply don't know how to prepare a dish and reduce or eliminate the risks of food borne illnesses.

Personal chefs cook in a lot of homes. Any personal chef could tell you about at least one client house they would classify as a "Danger Zone" for breeding of all kinds of yucky germs and viruses.

Kahlil Wyche is a ServSafe (food safety) certified personal chef in Voorhees, NJ and owner of "Catering To Your Whims; a Personal Chef service". He explains, "I have seen everything from piles of moldy, dirty dishes stacked on the counters, cat litter boxes in the food panty, bugs in the flour, mouse droppings around the stove, spoiled milk and other unrecognizable green, hairy foods in the fridge. Add the shedding cats walking on the counters and dogs flinging slobber from floor to ceiling and you've got a breeding ground for some pretty nasty stuff that can make you very ill."

Chef Kahlil says that you should always question whether food items at pitch-ins are properly cooked, cooled and prepared for serving. Food borne illness can be very dangerous and the risk increases dramatically when foods are not properly cooked or are exposed to warm temperatures that promote the multiplying of bacteria and germs.

Here are some guidelines that you might want to print and share with family and coworkers before your next get together.

Rules for A Healthy Pitch-In:

If you don't know how to cook, it's okay to pick up a bag of chips and some salsa. You'll only get teased for a day or so.
Wash your hands (with soap!) before you prepare your famous meatloaf. Use hot water and anti-bacterial soap. If you finish scrubbing before you can finish singing the "Star Spangled Banner" your hands aren't clean.
If you have a mouse problem, see number 1 above or get a kitty.Put kitty and doggy in the bedroom and vacuum up any hair that might find its way into the brownies.
Check all ingredients to make sure they didn't expire in 1987.
Don't double the oven temperature and then reduce the cooking time by half just to get the casserole done faster. It doesn't work that way! Cooking foods to an internal temperature of 140-degrees will kill most organisms.
Don't leave cooked items on the counter for three hours to cool. Make a cooling bath of water and ice in a large container and set your dish in it for about 30 minutes to cool it down and then seal it and put it in the fridge or freezer.
If you accidentally sneeze on the plate of cookies, feed them to your family…not ours!
Don't put your item in the trunk of your car on a hot day. Use a cooler to keep foods hot or cold.
Don't set food out until right before it's time to eat – especially items with dairy products or mayonnaise.
When in doubt about your coworkers or extended family members' hygiene or cooking abilities, suggest hiring a personal chef to help with food preparation.
Ask everyone to pitch in a few bucks or have the company pay for the services. Everyone will be less stressed and personal chefs know how to prepare, store, transport and serve food items. And, while there's always a risk of food borne illness, a personal chef will dramatically reduce the risks. Here's to happy, healthy eating!

Industry Information

According to 2003 study conducted by, there are approximately 6,000 personal chef businesses operating in the United States and Canada. As culinary schools, colleges and universities add personal chef studies to their culinary curriculums, the number of personal chefs is expected to grow.

Entrepreneur Magazine recently chose the personal chef business as one of its top six home-based businesses to start in 2004.

There are currently three support organizations providing training and support to the personal chef industry. These include the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA), American Personal Chef Association (APCA) and Personal Chefs Network (PCN).

The American Culinary Federation and the USPCA offer certification programs for qualified personal chefs. However, certification and professional culinary training are not required for persons operating personal chef businesses.

For more information contact Chef Kahlil at or visit

Kahlil Wyche

Executive Chef/President, Catering To Your Whims
Executive Chef/VP, Abundant Harvest Catering
Viewer Contestant,The 16 Week Challenge TV Show

Voice 1.866.374.7131 or 856.383.8600
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cooking Tips

Just wanted to share of couple of cooking tips for all of the readers out there. Every week I will dropping some cooking knowledge and recipes here on my blog so tune in and feel free to comment or shoot me any suggestions you would like to see!!

Cooking Tips

Chef Kahlil when I use the double boiler method I always wind up burning my pan, what can I do to prevent the pan from burning?

When using a double boiler, put a few marbles or a jar lid in the bottom pan when the water gets low you will definitely know by the rattling when sound and this will save the pan from scorching.

Chef Kahlil I was trying to make a beef stew the other day and my hand got a little heavy with the salt. I wound up having to run to the market and buy a couple quarts of soup because I only had 30 mins before my guest were going to be arriving. Could I have prevented or fixed this problem?

Here is what I would have done, you simply add a cut-up raw potato and simmer it in the stew for about 30 minutes. The potato will act as a "sponge" and will soak up the salt. After, doing this discard the potato and you are ready to serve up the soup. If you don't readily have a potato for the remedy, add more unsalted liquid (water, stock, etc.), a little tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes (or something else slightly sweet), and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to counter the saltiness.

Until next time, BonAppetite!

Chef Kahlil


PS - "Don't Keep Me A Secret"

Welcome To The Official BlogSpot of Chef Kahlil

I'm an entrepreneur from NJ looking to network and share knowledge with others. I am the Owner & President of Catering To Your Whims a personal chef service/private catering company, you can check me out at I am always open to learn about new business ideas and ventures. I'm currently the Executive Chef/VP for Abundant Harvest Catering. I am a true believer that if you help someone reach their dreams and goals, they in turn will help you. I look forward to meeting new friends, network contacts and building business relationships in this community, God Bless & see you at the top!

About The Chef

Chef Kahlil has been practicing the art of fine food preparation for over a decade. Chef Kahlil made his start as a personal chef by catering parties for friends, family and colleagues as a way to make extra money. Word quickly spread of his innovative, tasty and soulful dishes, and soon "Catering To Your Whims" was born.

Over the years Kahlil has found himself preparing food in fine restaurants, hotels, military, formal dining settings, private homes, and also competed in the Prestigious Connelly Competition.

His training began in the late 80's creating some of his family's favorite dishes at home. After working in various restaurants Kahlil decided to "formalize" his training when he pursued a career in the illustrious United States Army. During his tenure in the US Army Kahlil worked his way up the ranks to Sous Chef.

Through out his career, Chef Kahlil has diversified his experience which contributes to developing his creative techniques. "I have sought opportunities to learn from some of the best chefs in the country.

“Kahlil takes his passion for using creativity, mixing exotic herbs and seasonings into every meal, and shares it with others.“
Having cooked for many years professionally and for friends and family I was encouraged to establish a company that has the vision of "Making Your Culinary Wishes a Reality."

Catering To Your Whims... is an extension of my own creative techniques. I have designed a variety of cuisines and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for different flavors with our clients. Chef Kahlil's specialties include Classic American, Creole Cuisine and Nouveau Soul food with Caribbean accents.

Now that you know a little more about me, as well as the services that we offer, here are a few good reasons why I believe you should contact "Catering To Your Whims..." about preparing meals for you:

Change - Variety is the spice of life and we offer a pleasing assortment of delicious dishes for you to choose from.

Health - Artificial preservatives or additives are never used. Also, we can create "health conscious" items for you, example South Beach Diet, Atkins, or any special diets your Doctor or Dietician has set up for you. In addition, you know the meals that we prepare for you are prepared the day we come to visit and have not been sitting in a refrigerator case or under a heat lamp for the past few days.

Freeing up time - We do the shopping. We prepare the meals. We clean up. All you have to do is dine!! These days time is at a premium. Allow us the opportunity to save you some time to do the things you would really like to do.

Please give us the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss your food preferences. "Catering To Your Whims..." is fully licensed, certified and insured for your protection and safety. I wish you a successful and enriching year.

Successfully yours,

Chef Kahlil G. Wyche