Along with the disaster of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us – including myself – have had our own disasters in the kitchen (Let’s not talk about the time I tried to make mozzarella sticks with Babybels). With all the free time we’ve had, many of us have turned out attention to the kitchen and thought…’let’s try and learn some new cooking skills.’

Although there are many recipes for people to follow online, with the rise of Zoom and Teams, it has created an opportunity for people to attend virtual cooking classes from the comfort and familiarity of their own kitchen. Many of the popular recipes, such as Seitan Chicken and Baked Feta Pasta have become trends due to social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram. However, for those of us who are not connoisseurs in the kitchen, these short videos often lack the time and detail needed to recreate them ourselves. So why not turn a trend into something useful by giving step-by-step instructions for people to follow?

With much of the hospitality industry being closed to the public during the pandemic, many of us have relied on either our own cooking or takeaways. Although it is nice to occasionally eat a take-out meal in the comfort of your own home, to me it does not taste the same as sitting in a restaurant and getting to eat the food when it is freshly cooked out of the kitchen. So, many of us have tried to replicate these meals, such as making our own Mexican dishes, or homemade Italian pasta and pizza – often with it not going quite to plan. But with a professional chef teaching a class, you can ensure that you get the right ingredients, have a mentor if you get stuck and even the best drinks to pair with your meal.

There are many different types of virtual cooking classes, with some aimed at the novice chefs among us, to the more advanced chefs who would like exposure to a variety of cuisines. As well as this, the way that the classes are taught are varied.

  • Pre-recorded videos allow the busiest of us, or those with children to advance their cooking skills, and fit classes around their schedule. This way, if you get distracted by something else, or need to stop your child from grabbing that one thing they are not supposed to, you can pause your video and come back to it when you are ready to get started again. As well as this, it allows you to access the videos whenever you need them, so you can keep practicing if it does not go right the first time. They also offer a bit more detail and instructions than a simple recipe book that tells you to blanche your food, when you are not too sure what that means.
  • Live cooking courses are very similar to the pre-recorded videos but are that bit more personal. These could be 1-on-1 sessions that make a nice gift for a birthday or anniversary, or larger group classes with several different people. This allows you to ask questions if you get stuck during your class, and often, they will record these too, so that you can access them anytime.
  • Virtual classes, with ingredients delivered, can be taught using either method, pre-recorded videos or live classes, which have the added benefit that you do not have to go out to do your shopping for the ingredients. This has been a huge advantage, especially during the pandemic where often people did online shopping rather than going to the shops and meant that if you were making a more niche dish, that you could get the more difficult ingredients without the faff.

Virtual cooking classes have also allowed people to get the social contact many of us were lacking, whilst building their repertoire of dishes and cooking skill all while making new friends. So why not give it a try for yourself and share your successes (or fails) with us, by tagging us in on Twitter or Instagram using @JellybeanAgency. Good luck!