All across the food community, many folks who used to cook for people have found themselves with fewer customers and more time on their hands. A common trend arising is the virtual cooking class, allowing those with skills in the kitchen to continue feeding their community by teaching others how to make the meals on their own. Many chefs at restaurants are turning to these virtual classes for small fees in order to keep afloat, but anyone can host a class, even casually amongst a group of friends! (Ex: if you miss your normal Sunday brunch crew, make food together over Zoom one Sunday morning - have everyone ‘teach’ one part of the meal!) Sharing food is a powerful connecting tool and virtual cooking classes offer the opportunity for people to come together and cook as a community.
If you are interested in hosting your own virtual cooking class, we at Kitchen Commons would love to help you organize and run your show! As a supporter of in-person community kitchens during ‘normal times,’ we feel that virtual cooking classes are a great way to stay engaged, share conversations about food, and support others as many tackle much more home cooking than ever before. Kitchen Commons has supported one of our founders, Florence Jenkins, through her classes with her church which are always a ton of fun and a great way to reconnect with faces you may not have seen in a while!
Here are some tips if you are considering hosting a class for your local community/family/friends! If you need more support, reach out to Kitchen Commons and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction!
- Make your menu accessible and available ahead of time!
- Consider selecting a recipe that folks of all skill levels could learn (especially only virtually) and it’s best to use as many pantry staples as possible. Also consider limiting the amount of kitchen tools needed.
- Versatility of ingredients and offering alternatives is great! Let your participants get creative! Try to account for different diets by choosing a recipe that could be altered for any vegetarians joining the class!
- Send out an ingredient list ahead of time and determine how much time you will need for prep - you may want to have your audience chop their vegetables beforehand, for example.
- Going live on Instagram or Facebook is certainly an option, especially if you have a large following there, although your audience does not have the opportunity to call in with video, only comment.
- Zoom or Google Hangouts are also good options!
- Promote your event! Send it along to us and we will post your virtual class on our socials (if you send it early enough we may be able to include it in our seasonal newsletters!)
- Set up early to check camera angle, lighting, sound, etc.
- Make sure you have a room with enough lighting and set up your camera/laptop/phone at an angle where you don’t have to move it so much - and preferably not at all - throughout the class.
- Go slower than normal and pause for questions often!
- It can help to have a co-host field questions for you, especially with a larger audience. Have everyone mute themselves while cooking and only unmute to ask questions - or use the chat box, and have the co-host read the questions out.
- If a member of our team is available, Kitchen Commons would be happy to provide support for your class by being a co-host, just ask!
- Use baking time/any other long waiting periods during the class as an opportunity to check in with your audience, share a story, or have a ‘kitchen conversation,’ as we say at Kitchen Commons!
- Encourage folks to take photos of the final product! A collage of everyone’s work can be a great way to see others’ work and promote your next class!