Cooking demos 101

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If there’s one positive thing that’s come out of this pandemic it’s that more people are spending ‘thyme’ in their kitchens, and not just to grab snacks. According to a study by Bloomberg News and Morning Consult, in a survey of over 2000 adults, just 7% said they plan on cooking less once the economy is back on track.1 Cooking is cool again!

While some people are feeling more confident in the kitchen, others still may be struggling to get things started. Making more meals can be time-consuming and challenging for many. Avoiding food waste and making nutritious meals in minutes will still be a priority for most. Providing food demos is a perfect opportunity to teach people the basics of healthy cooking.

Before deciding to conquer sourdough, consider recipes with just a few ingredients that don’t cost too much or take hours to prepare. Ideally, encourage your clients to use what’s already in their pantries or freezers to prevent unwanted trips to the grocery as well as food waste.

Providing a food demo requires prep just like anything other presentation. Below are some tips to get started:

Know your audience. Are you cooking for new moms, teens or bachelors? Each may have unique needs and interests, but most will appreciate your expertise. Find out who’s participating.

Get comfortable in front of a camera. Until most populations are vaccinated, cooking demos will be taking place in your home in front of a camera. Be sure to have enough light and a method of streaming the demo such as Facebook or Instagram Live, a Zoom link or Web-Ex invite.

Clean your kitchen. Your kitchen doesn’t have to look like Martha Stewart’s, but a clear space without a lot of clutter will reduce your stress and give you a more professional look. Remove unnecessary items from the counter and background such as refrigerator magnets.

Choose something you’ve made before. A simple salad and vinaigrette are an easy start or beans with brown rice is another simple dish.

Mise en place. This French term literally means “putting in place”. In the kitchen, this means having everything ready to go. Be sure to have your knives, cutting boards, measuring spoons and cups, whisks, and can openers available. Don’t forget to have your recipe and talking points available as well.

Keep things visible. While those bright green or orange Fiesta ware bowls are adorable, it’s best to use clear bowls to showcase ingredients. Have ingredients measured out and ready to add to limit how many items are in your prep space.

Showcase your nutrition knowledge and more. Provide tips on the recipe’s health benefits but also include prep tips, storage tips, and seasonal tips.

Engage your audience. “Pepper” your viewers with questions. This keeps things interesting while you’re chopping onions or mixing marinade. Have them cook along with you if possible.

Stay tuned for more tips in this next series on cooking demos! Check out our free recipe section or cooking demo recipe section for members.

Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

How the pandemic is shaping home cooking trends | SmartBrief

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