What’s for dinner?
For many amateur home cooks, it’s the dreaded question that causes anxiety and sends them scrambling to find something new in their limited arsenal of recipes. With most people preferring to eat at home, especially during the current pandemic, it can be difficult not to think of cooking as a chore.
But what if you could learn new skills in the kitchen, taught by professionals and peers from around the world, and create dishes you never thought possible – all while never having to leave the comfort of your home?
Here are 17 virtual cooking classes that will put the magic back in the mundane, and have you flourishing your kitchen tools like a pro:
1. Airbnb Cooking Experiences
Ever wanted to learn how to roll pasta with an Italian grandma? Don’t let the pandemic stop you. Airbnb Experiences allows you to book your place in cooking classes and workshops that are geared towards experiential cooking. There are a range of hosts – pro chefs, farmers, families – who use authentic recipes and take the time to share their culture while cooking in a homely, intimate setting. Classes start from $20 (Dh73).
2. Publix Aprons Cooking School classes
The American grocery store chain, Publix, is elevating home-cooked meals with online classes by Publix Aprons Cooking School chefs. Their videos are short – no longer than 12 minutes – yet, they teach you how to transform that forgotten chicken breast in your freezer into chicken scaloppini or how to bake a batch of pillowy biscuits that can be both sweet and savoury. Here’s even more good news: the classes are completely free!
When cooking is a serious passion, you may want to work on your skills in the kitchen with reputable teachers for an extended period of time. In that case, access Masterclass’ cooking courses, taught by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Dominique Ansel and Wolfgang Puck. It’s a subscription-based service for $20 (Dh73) per month and you can access classes from a host of other disciplines as well – once you’re done cooking up a storm, of course.
4. Chef Kunal’s cooking videos
Indian chef and restauranteur Kunal Kapur gets down to business on his Instagram and YouTube channels, sharing hundreds of instructional videos on fusion Indian food. From momos to aloo tikki burgers, every meal is fun and easy to follow. Kapur even has an ‘Ask Kunal’ segment where you can get insight, tips and tricks on Indian cooking. And you don’t have to pay a single dirham for it!
If you are out of ideas for dinner, let American chef and cookbook author Michael Symon challenge your taste buds with his Facebook Live cooking classes. He introduces viewers to a range of dishes, from a humble rice pilaf to a barbecue feast of grilled maple chicken with smokey greens. Just plug in the hashtag #SymonDinners on Facebook’s search bar and get access to grills, bakes, and desserts that even kitchen novices can ace.
6. Home Cooking Show
With step-by-step instructions and hundreds of videos, the Home Cooking Show helps Indian food lovers sample all the flavours of the Indian subcontinent. The best part? It’s free! Chef Hema Subramanian demystifies complex curries and desserts with her quick tips, and posts complete recipes, along with her video tutorials. The videos are even available in Tamil and Telugu.
7. America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School
Before deep diving into cooking elaborate meals, you have to know the basics. That’s what America’s Test Kitchen focuses on in its courses, a few of which teach you knife skills, how to buy meat and the best way to prep dishes. The website also has a host of recipe lessons and technique workshops. You can access all these tools at $20 (Dh73) a month.
8. The Chef & The Dish
If you want to know whether to salt your pasta water, why not ask a chef who has worked in a Michelin starred restaurant? For a fee, learn to cook delicious dishes through private cooking classes on Skype, with chefs from Italy, Japan, Spain and around the world. They will cook along with you, coach you and share tips as you follow authentic recipes under their watchful eyes.
9. Traveling Spoon
Imagine having a friend’s mom cook you a homemade meal – in every country you visit. That’s the goal of Traveling Spoon, which helps connect viewers to qualified chefs and home cooks all around the world. You can also add on a market visit, where your host will show you how to pick the best produce for the meal you will be cooking together. The cooking experiences are available for a range of prices to suit your budget.
Born in the current pandemic, airKitchen is a Japanese company that offers cooking classes via Skype or Zoom. The food is primarily Japanese focused and covers a wide variety – from homemade noodles to street food. But the website is continuously adding more sessions, with Thailand and Portugal based classes now on the list. Class fees start from $10 (Dh 37).
11. Christina Tosi’s Bake Club
What’s better than a book club? Definitely a bake club (it tastes better too)! James Beard award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi [@christinatosi], who started the popular New York bakery Milk Bar, hosts a series of live baking videos every week on Instagram. The night before the video, you can expect a post with all the ingredients you will need, so you are prepared to bake with the pro. And if you are too busy drooling over the sweet treats to remember the ingredients, you can always read the recipe on Tosi’s website: milkbarstore.com/bake-club.
12. Joe the Baker’s Quarantine Cooking
Texas based chef Joe Baker’s popular cooking demos usually cost $100 (Dh367) per session. But during the pandemic, he took his recipes to Facebook, and live-streamed them for free! His videos are relaxed and fun, as he ropes in his pre-teen son to help in the kitchen. Head over to Facebook to see how you can get your children to be sous chefs, while flipping ricotta pancakes or baking your first batch of blueberry scones.
13. Hebbar’s Kitchen
This food blogger promises to help you learn to cook with drool-worthy recipes. Started by Archana Hebbar, and growing in popularity, the platform encourages amateur home cooks to explore Indian vegetarian recipes free of charge. Hundreds of videos guide you through the process, helping you triumph over sweet and savoury dishes, primarily from the south of India.
Ever wondered what a professional chef’s kitchen looks like? Expert hosts share their culture and craft in online cooking classes right from their homes, in cities like Barcelona and Singapore. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the classes are extremely affordable. So, whether you’re learning to make gnocchi by hand or perfecting your stir fry skills, rest assured that a pro is there to guide you along the way. Classes start from $12 (Dh44).
15. Don’t Panic Pantry
Every Monday and Thursday, American comedian Iliza Shlesinger uses the hashtag #dontpanicpantry to live-stream a cooking video on Instagram. Since she is not a professional chef, her videos are less instructive and more engaging, as she cheerfully navigates a new recipe in every episode. Her success in the kitchen inspires amateur home cooks to give new recipes a try. Follow along on Instagram for her take on chicken noodle soup and the perfect cheesy tuna melt sandwich.
16. Tabitha Brown’s vegan recipes
Brown rose to fame during the pandemic with her snappy Tik Tok recipe videos. Her hilarious one-liners keep viewers entertained, even as they appreciate the effortless way in which she advocates for vegan meals. Try her carrot hotdog and spinach garlic grilled cheese!
17. Chef Kirti Bhoutika’s Indian cooking classes
Masterchef India season five winner Kirti Bhoutika’s Instagram channel is a treasure trove of modern fusion fare. Some of her dishes may sound odd (lentil rice cheese croquettes for instance), but the raving reviews from her viewers quell any doubts. You don’t need to pay to learn from Bhoutika – all you require is an Instagram account!