As life under lockdown looks set to be extended, now is the time to log out of Netflix and do something more edifying instead. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to know more about wine? How to make the perfect Martini? Or whip up a Michelin star dinner à deux? Here’s our guide to the best online courses, tutorials, tastings and cookalongs that will show you how.
Cantonese Cooking with Andrew Wong
Chef Andrew Wong of Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant A.Wong in Pimlico has proved himself a quick and decisive thinker since the Coronavirus crisis shuttered his restaurant. First, he started distributing cook-at-home boxes to the vulnerable in his local community; now, he’s hosting free online courses via Zoom. The initial session, a cookery masterclass in classic pork char siu as served at his City restaurant Kym’s, takes place on April 14. Dim sum dough and Cantonese marinades follow on May 21 and July 11 respectively.
Homecooking with Jason Atherton
Celebrity chef Jason Atherton, he of the multiple Michelin stars, is an old hand at television. His daily IGTV cookalong Social Kitchen Isolation shows a more relaxed side to him, however, as he cooks in the kitchen of his family home, clad not in crisp whites but hip hoodie and trackpants. His chosen dishes are slick but achievable: think whole mackerel with a Japanese shiitake and sesame dressing, Dover sole with beurre noisette, or seared wagyu steak for date night. You can even purchase his tableware range to ‘get the look’ at home.
Follow him @_jasonatherton
Cult Pasta from Padella
Recreate the Padella dining experience – minus the hour-long queues – by tuning in to chef Tim Siadatan’s weekly Italian food cookalong every Thursday at 6pm. Siadatan’s live sessions are jolly affairs, designed to be enjoyed with music blasting and a Negroni on the go. Check in a day or two in advance to find out what ingredients you’ll need this week. He’s already revealed the secrets behind his iconic hand-rolled pici ‘cacio e pepe’ (now viewable on IGTV). What next? Fingers crossed, he’ll share his salted caramel ice cream recipe.
Follow along @padella_pasta
Beautiful Baking with Ravneet Gill
Ravneet Gill is the super talented pastry chef behind the Puff Bakery pop-up, which was the talk of the town before all this. You could sit back with a copy of her new cookbook, The Pastry Chef’s Guide, or you could put on your pinny and join her weekly bakealong on Instagram Live. Every amateur baker worth their (Maldon) salt has had a go at her fudgy double chocolate chip cookies (you can find the method and recipes saved to her highlights). Soon to come: frangipane tart. Hanging virtually with Gill is like hanging with a mate: ‘Soz for swearing’ she says. ‘Don’t @ me about the strawberries’.
Follow her @ravneeteats
Cooking and Baking with Honey and Co
Husband-and-wife duo Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich have long taken a multi-media approach. Their recipes are always mouthwatering; their Food Talks podcasts with food world folk are inspiring; and now they’re holding our hands through home cooking via their live cooking sessions (saved in their Instagram highlights). The current focus is baking: a flourless chocolate cake, ‘non-denominational’ hot cross buns, and maamoul for Ramadan. Other useful ideas to return to again and again include ‘One chicken, three meals’ and fluffy homemade pitta.
Follow them @honeyandco
Chocolate Masterclass with Paul A Young
For wannabe Willy Wonkas, the golden ticket is a chance to learn from the master himself, London chocolatier extraordinaire Paul A Young. Young’s Art of Chocolate Making Course takes his online apprentices through all the essentials from tempering, tasting and moulding chocolate to making truffles and ganache. The full course calls for considerable commitment and involves four marked assignments, group discussions and online classes. Participants leave with a certificate and a new skill.
Online courses from from £29-£109
Cocktails with Mr Lyan
Ryan Chetiywardana, aka ‘Mr Lyan’, was this year declared the number one most influential person in the drinks industry. His cocktails are clever, complex, cutting edge: a world apart from the amateurish Martinis many of us are making do with on lockdown. But we can do better. Learn how by signing up for a home mixology course with Mr Lyan himself and acclaimed New York bartender Lynette Marrero on MasterClass. The course fee includes 17 video tutorials that will have you shaking and stirring with the best of them. Alternatively, pick up a few quick tips for nothing from his D.I.Y cocktail vids @lyanessbar.
The course costs £170 for two passes with access to all classes
Online Wine Tastings from Hedonism Wines
Until we can visit Hedonism Wines again ‘in real life’, we will have to magic ourselves there virtually. The exclusive Mayfair wine boutique’s programme of online tastings for the months ahead looks excellent: place orders now for the selected wines to join in with the ‘Desert Island Wines’ tasting on April 15 (£200/£550), ‘Red Wine and Understanding Tannin’ on April 17 (£150/£600) or a fun ‘Reverse Blind Tasting’ on April 24 (£175/£350). The ticket price includes a box of wines (sample producers: Gaja, Ridge, Jadot) and a link to join the interactive video tasting anonymously or in person. A thoughtful birthday gift for any wine buff in isolation.
Course prices vary
Cocktails and More from The Booze Brain
The Booze Brain is a new online community of cocktail aficionados created by Maxim Schulte and Jo Last, bartenders of the Savoy’s American Bar and Beaufort Bar respectively. Every Sunday they post the week’s line-up of masterclasses, discussions and tutorials which have so far ranged from a kombucha ‘how to’ to a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary Connaught Bar and the American Bar ‘live in concert’. Pour yourself a glass and join in on Instagram Live or seek out the saved highlights later. Cheers!
Follow them @theboozebrain
Coffee with James Hoffmann
Square Mile Coffee’s James Hoffmann is no stranger to the world of online tastings and tutorials. The one-time World Barista Champion already has 259k worldwide subscribers to his YouTube channel. Anything you want to know about coffee (from which water to use to how to cup coffee at home), he’s got it covered. Now your favourite café is closed for the foreseeable, there’s no better time to learn how to make the perfect cup at home. Follow his Instagram account for news and views from the world of coffee.
Follow him @jimseven
Wine Tasting with Honest Grapes
The online oenophiles at Honest Grapes have launched a series of ‘Wine Therapy Sessions’ to comfort and counsel during quarantine. The ‘explorative, escapist’ tastings, held on Zoom every Thursday at 6.30pm, will cover wines from around the world, beginning on 16 April with ‘Viva España’. Sign up and they’ll send you the three bottles you’ll be tasting (from £60). Future sessions include ‘Global Bubbles’, ‘Teutonic Tipples’, and interactive talks with special guests such as 100-point St Emilion winemaker Jonathan Maltus and Burgundy micro-negociant Jane Eyre.
Follow them @honestgrapes
Main picture: A.Wong