Necessity is the mother of invention, and this past year has brought plenty of fresh ideas to the kitchen. One of our favorite recent trends is the accessibility of virtual cooking classes that you can take right in your your home kitchen. Classes cover delectable subjects like fresh pastas, desserts, Korean BBQ and Mexican cuisine. And featured chefs include well-known restaurant and TV favorites and top cookbook writers.
Learn to cook from some of the world’s brightest culinary stars on Master Class: Household names like Gordon Ramsay (Restaurant Recipes at Home), Thomas Keller (Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts), Yotam Ottolenghi, (Modern Middle Eastern Cooking), Massimo Bottura (Modern Italian Cooking), and Alice Waters (The Art of Home Cooking), among others, offer a series of videos that walk you through their cooking process. I mean, who better to teach a bread baking class than Apollonia Poilâne from Paris? The only hitch is it costs $180 to join Master Class, but once you do, you can watch to your heart’s content, and on your own time. There is no interaction as these are pre-taped classes.
Cookbook authors and TV personalities (many of them doing double-duty as award-winning chefs) are also getting into the game over on Craftsy, which has a host of experts leading pre-taped cooking classes. For example, you can join Andrea Nguyen for Vietnamese Classics: Phò, Noodles & Beyond, Molly Stevens for Roasting Techniques Every Cook Should Know, or even the great Rick Bayless for Essentials of Mexican Cooking. Purchase individual classes for $40 or join Craftsy for $8 per month/ $80 per year to gain access to unlimited classes. Recipes are included in the deal; download them once you’ve paid for the class and cook along. Tune in on your own time, on any device. Bonus: you can also access classes for knitting, painting, sewing, and more.
Can’t get enough of chef Rick Bayless? You’re in luck. Join his new YouTube channel, The Complete Mexican Kitchen Sessions, as either a Kitchen Club member ($5 per month) or the Live with Rick! option ($10 per month). Depending on the level you choose, you’ll get access to exclusive members-only recipe videos, live cooking sessions hosted from his home kitchen, monthly live-video chats, and more. And every week, you’ll find a surprise included, like tours of his incredible home garden, entertaining tips, and more.
Another aggregate cooking class site is Chefsfeed, which provides a variety of classes livestreamed on specific dates and times.
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The chefs may not be as well-known as Master Class, but what they lack in cachet they make up for in variety and pricing, which can range from $15 to $85 per class. Make Herb-Dyed Mint Gnocchetti with Brooklyn’s Allora Pasta Co. on May 22 at 5 pm EDT or hit up the Backyard Korean BBQ Edition from Justin Park in San Mateo on May 15, or any of the many other options available.
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She’s teaching a month-long class on Creative Baking over on Monthly. It’s the chance to “level-up” your baking skills with 30 days of step-by-step video curriculum. It will set you back $249 (!), but you’ll become part of the Tosi baking community with other learners in the group, and it grants lifetime access to the program. By the end of the 30 days, you’ll have accumulated the knowledge to create three original recipes. It’s for bakers at any stage, with the leeway to learn at your own skill level. The overall time commitment is 5-10 hours per week for 4 weeks, but as with any educational program, it is what you put into it. The class is offered a few times a year; join the waitlist to be notified when the next class opens.
For a more personal touch, try a live, interactive cooking class. My current favorite is the Kitchen Sisters Cooking School, run by former Food Network host and James Beard Award-winning chef Gale Gand and former Traveling America’s Test Kitchen host Jessica Dawson.
To keep busy (and sane) during the early days of the pandemic, Gand started doing live feed cooking classes on Facebook (to “help mark time and keep people involved,” shares Gand) and amassed quite a following. Partnering with Dawson, Gand’s former kitchen assistant who went on to her own culinary career, they’ve created an on-line kitchen school that feels like a hug from a friend.
Sign up for a class with an out-of-state friend or relative and text during it; entertain your bored tween with one of Dawson’s kids’ cooking classes. There are myriad options, from live-streamed, hands-on adult classes with Gand ($40 per class) or a monthly guest chef ($50 per class), or kids’ classes with Dawson ($30 per class), to on-demand classes (recordings of live classes for $25-40). Upcoming live classes includea Spinach and Cheese Soufflé Dinner with Gand on May 22 and a Filipino Dinner class with guest chef Gabe Concordia on May 15. Check the website for updates.
Looking for a unique team-building event to break up the monotony of endless meetings? Check out Truffle Shuffle, started by chefs Jason McKinney and Tyler Vorce, who worked together in Michelin-starred California kitchens (think The French Laundry).
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They first created Truffle Shuffle to showcase their favorite ingredient, developing recipes for Truffle & White Cheddar Kettle Corn, Black Truffle Carpaccio, Brown Butter Truffle Honey, and more. They branched out to live cooking experiences that include ingredients for the recipes shipped to your door, and that led to private virtual cooking events with the opportunity of entertainment, product, and cocktail add-ons.
Upcoming live and interactive classes include Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce ($99/ 2 servings) on May 23, Spiced Lamb Loin with Roasted Sweet Carrots ($125/ 2 servings) on June 13, and a Father’s Day Porterhouse Steak with Twice Baked Potatoes ($150/ 2 servings) on June 20. Classes last about 90 minutes. The best bit: for every meal kit they sell, they donate enough food for a meal to a family in need. Check out the website for more details on private events, which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.
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- Hop to It! 9 Easy, Elegant Easter Recipes You’ll Want to Make Every Year
- 6 California Wine Country Recipes — With Wine Pairings!
- Pass the Matzah! 8 Great New Passover Recipes to Carry You Through the Holiday
Julie Chernoff, Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.