CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department continues to make its daily rounds inspecting the more than 25 food vendors for the Sesquicentennial celebration and FestivALL, some of the local vendors are welcoming the guidance.
Jeni Burns, owner of Ms. Groovy's Cafe & Catering at 709 Washington St. W., takes her restaurant mobile for festivals all summer long, including Wine and All that Jazz and Live on the Levee.
Burns said any suggestions from the Health Department only serve to benefit her business.
"The health department is here to help me be better," Burns said.
"We're certainly not perfect, but if they tell me I'm doing something wrong, that correction helps me become a better chef. The reality is I don't want anyone to get sick on my food. The health department requires these certain things so people don't get sick."
Ms. Groovy's is serving up quesadillas, pepperoni rolls and more for the festivities. And Burns wants to make sure her customers love every last bite.
To prevent cross-contamination, she keeps the meat in separate coolers. Rather than keep the meat cooking all day and risk losing flavor, Burns cooks it, cools it and then reheats it to order. She said she also checks temperatures throughout the day to make sure hot food stays hot and cold food cold.
Wearing gloves and hand washing are also essential. A jug of water and soap sit nearby so workers can keep their hands clean at all times.
Minnie Leonard, 61, is the owner of The Leonards, a former family restaurant in South Charleston that now focuses solely on traveling to various fairs and festivals.
"For us, following the regulations isn't difficult," she said. "We've been doing this for 24 years, so that experience has helped."
The items on Leonard's menu include fish, whole chicken wings, pulled pork and ribs. To keep their food safe, The Leonards have multiple deep fryers for separate foods that are set to specific temperatures.