It’s a tough time for our industry, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make use of our newfound time. Do something for our frontline workers; find a way to make an extra income; delve into our creative side; study for a diploma. Anything is possible.
Take a look at some of the ways chefs are keeping themselves on balance, helping others, and in a few cases, raking in much-needed cash:
1. Feeding NHS workers
2. Create teaching videos showing how to make cost-efficient meals
Do your part to help family and friends in the simplest of ways: share your knowledge and pass the time with a fun activity!
You never know – you might also generate some business from locally based viewers who like your style.
There has been a surge in purchase of yeast, flour and other bread-making essentials since the lockdown began, as people begin to realise the importance of cooking and baking. Learning to make kitchen staples like bread and pasta might become more important as dried pasta and rice fly off the shelves at your local store.
3. Volunteer or cook for the homeless, or your neighbours
Reach out to your local charity and find out what you can do to help ease the difficulties of homelessness during these trying times. A simple Google search will reveal charities in your area that accept food donations, volunteers and more. Now more than ever: Cook healthy food
4. Host a virtual recipe party live
Being under quarantine can extra tough if you live alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company of friends and family. Apps like Houseparty and Zoom will let you set up a video call with multiple contacts at once, so put on a nice outfit and prepare your favourite meal as your guests watch, then enjoy a virtual dinner party with your group of friends or family in the next street or abroad!
5. Take an online course
Now’s a chance to learn a new skill! If you were normally a line chef at an international restaurant, perhaps now is the time to practice your patisserie. There are loads of courses available online to help you discover your true potential.
If you’re looking for a free course or are happy to invest some money into a long-term class, there are courses for every budget and skill-level readily available in sites like Udemy.com, Master Class and the like.
6. OFFER an online course
If your video skills are slick enough you could slowly build up a library and teaching aid. Put a Patreon link on your site and ask people who use your recipes to show their appreciation.
7. Start a cookbook
Whether you’re serious about publishing your own cookbook or simply want to start a fun project you can later pass down to your children, writing down your favourite recipes can be a great place to start. Once you have 10 recipes, open a Patreon account and ask people to show their appreciation if they use your recipes.
Think about what people are looking for at the moment – nobody is going out to restaurants. Perhaps they want to experiment with new dishes.
Instagram is the choice for three of the capital’s top chefs – here is what they cooked up for their fans this week:
Jason Atherton – Filipino adobo chicken
Top chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton has had to shut all of his seven London restaurants, but is keeping himself (and us) entertained with his new Instagram Live series Social Kitchen Isolation. Atherton is travelling the world with his recipes, using leftover ingredients from his cooking the day before as a starting point.
Among the many dishes he demonstrated this week is a dish of Filipino adobo chicken, which Atherton marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, black peppercorns and served with rice and fresh coriander. Watch him make his chicken here.
Karan Gokani – Squash and spinach kari
Hoppers chef Karan Gokani has a motto for all of us struggling during the lockdown: “Keep calm and kari on”. The director of the Sri Lankan restaurant is looking to showcase regular recipes on his Instagram during the lockdown, kicking off with a squash and spinach curry that is “inherently mild, but packed with flavour”. The 20-minute vegetarian dish is flavoured with the likes of mustard seeds, star anise, turmeric, Jaffna curry powder and creamy coconut milk. Check out the “Recipes” highlight on his account for the full details of how to make it yourself.
Tom Kerridge – Tuna and sweetcorn pasta
Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge is no stranger to cooking on-screen, but last week he swapped the TV for Instagram. In his new Lock Down Dinners series, Kerridge is showing his followers how to cook simple dishes made largely with store cupboard ingredients and food he’s found at the back of the fridge. This week’s dishes included a tuna and sweetcorn pasta, amped up with some avocados, sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of feta cheese.