In Food + Drink

Four Top Chefs Helping You (Virtually) Upskill In The Kitchen

Nothing brings people together quite like food. Whether it’s sharing a meal with family and friends or connecting with our heritage by dusting off nanna’s favourite recipes, there’s an undeniable beauty and power that comes from cooking in the home.

Though the global coronavirus pandemic has put a temporary halt on our ability to meet up over good food and great wine, there is a silver lining.

Self-isolation is a perfect opportunity to further our culinary skills – trying, occasionally failing, but ultimately perfecting. And, when life does indeed return to normal, we can dazzle everyone with our new abilities.

Here are some of the top chefs and home cooks helping us do just that.

Massimo Bottura

cooking classes

Image: MasterClass / supplied

Though not a household name in Australia, Italian chef and restauranteur Massimo Bottura is among the best in the business. His three Michelin star restaurant Osteria Francescana, an intimate venue in the northern city of Modena, has been named in the top five at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards since 2010 – including the top spot.

Securing a reservation at Osteria Francescana can be more difficult than currently finding toilet paper or hand sanitiser for sale on supermarket shelves, but there’s a way for you to enjoy a taste of Bottura’s delectable dishes for yourself today. No reservation required.

After weeks isolating at home, Bottura has turned his hand to Instagram Stories, live streaming bi-lingual tutorials and Q&A sessions as he prepares the family dinner. From a Thai vegetable curry to bechamel sauce and tortellini, Kitchen Quarantine lifts the lid on culinary secrets, with Bottura’s infectious personality making it a joy to watch.

Jamie Oliver

British chef Jamie Oliver is the master of feel-good food. His new UK Channel 4 TV show, Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, is about getting creative using whatever ingredients you have on hand – perfect for the times we find ourselves in. Though it’s not on Australian screens just yet, Oliver has just announced he too will be live streaming on lockdown.

Oliver will be bringing comfort food to Facebook Live each day at 4pm London time (2am AEST). Don’t worry about setting your alarm for the middle of the night though, the videos will be accessible via his Facebook page so you can view them at a more civilised hour.

Gabriela Cámara

cooking classes

Image: MasterClass / supplied

When you want to learn a new skill, learn from the master. Online tutorial site MasterClass allows you to do just that, with a huge range of masterclasses from singing to acting to interior design. However, it’s the food classes you should really sink your teeth into.

Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck and Massimo Bottura are just a few of the recognisable celebrity chefs ready to guide you step-by-step through some of their favourite dishes. All you need to do is sign up, buy an annual All Access Pass and you’re ready to embark on a gourmet journey.

The newest face to join the platform is acclaimed chef and restauranteur Gabriela Cámara, a superstar of Mexican cuisine. Cámara brings a trademark modern twist to time-honoured traditions, teaching you new dishes and old favourites such as tuna tostadas, tortillas, quesadillas and tamales.

Nonna Nerina

Want to learn how to make authentic pasta but not prepared to visit Italy right now? Live streaming an Italian nonna to your kitchen is the next best thing. Nonna Live offers virtual cooking classes with 84-year-old Nonna Nerina and her granddaughter Chiara, teaching you family recipes that go back more than 100 years from the comfort of your home.

Classes are reserved online in advance, with a list of ingredients and utensils required sent to you a week in advance to prepare. Nonna Nerina takes participants step-by-step through preparing Italian favourites such as fettucine and cannelloni on weekends, while Chiara takes the lead for weekday classes focusing on gnocchi, ravioli and lasagne.

Spaces are limited and aligning the scheduled class times with Australian time zones may result in an early morning start, but it’ll be worth it the moment you enjoy that first bite.

With self-isolation part of our temporary new norm, maintaining social interaction is more vital than ever. Though you could wait to unleash your new skills when life returns to normal, a virtual dinner party via Zoom in the meantime could be a fun way to share the positivity. All you need is an internet connection, shared recipe and you’re ready to go.

(Lead image: MasterClass / supplied) 

Published 30 March, 2020