Chef Ha Nguyen, founder of Otao kitchen has been running different cooking classes for more than 6 years at Otao kitchen. His hands-on classes were limited to intimate groups of 10-12 people from Thursday to Sunday with over 120 guests in over 12 classes weekly with employing 3 chefs. The COVID-19 shut down all public gatherings, his classes have disappeared. So he's was planning to take his classes online.
The age of social distancing has sparked a passionate shift to online home cooks' learning. Parents stuck at home with their kids are tuning in to live youtube cooking videos for ideas and entertainment. And people who are struggling to cook for themselves, perhaps for the first time, are turning to their favourite food personalities, like Luke Nguyen, for practical home cooking how-to through free and often live video streams. Similar to many artists, free online culinary instruction is what’s preventing some chef and cooking instructors from making the pivot to educational contents.
Otao launched Home Cooking Live for many people stay at home looking to something fun and useful in food creation. Otao kitchen’s chef entered into live cooking in the last 2 weeks. We saw a strong interest in healthy eating at home and in people motivation to cooking to save money and being nurtured at home. Many chefs are turning their phones to themselves to share their skills and to meet the unique needs of the moment. That’s not even including the non-food professionals who are also sharing cooking videos free of charge on social media.
Firstly, we are doing cooking videos because it makes our chefs happy and because it feels they contribute something to this pandemic to get people back to cooking. Plus we were so busy and we have planned to build more contents meaning to set up a YouTube channel that hope might generate more interests for our cooking classes, though now we will have to charge for video cooking lessons. In return, we would provide more support than a Facebook or Youtube videos and you can't really ask any question. Secondly, we are an established cooking school with knowledge of educating home cooks by bringing expert chefs virtually into people home and this is worth what they paying for. We found unique benefits to the online format already and people were really engaged and I never thought that would be the case with online classes - according to Chef Ha Nguyen.
At home Asian cooking classes online will be for a total of 12-week classes and this will be live-streamed from Otao kitchen in Richmond, Melbourne, Australia. This is a bargain compared to our face-to-face classes where we taught three to four times a week for around $109-$185 per ticket but ingredients were not provided by the school this time. To be flexible when it comes to cooking while social-distancing, the program will gear the class with ingredients that guests might find in their fridges already or in their local supermarkets. It was great to see people outside of Melbourne for online platform hosted on Zoom. Unlike a normal brick-and-mortar Otao Kitchen cooking school https://otaokitchen.com.au, we are making a quick transformation to virtual classes at https://www.homecookinglive.com/ and are looking for opportunities for this format. Our goal is to do the same number of classes as we usually do and I think we can do more says Chef Ha Nguyen.
We don’t know what that looks like now but we do know that we will continue to teach in this new world of distancing and we missed seeing our guests. We were planning for an expansion of our physical facilities before COVID-19 canceled all classes abruptly, and we put those plans on hold. Together with the world of chefs, writers and educators, we are offering this unique option for those seeking more food coaching from live streams.