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The Best Online Cooking Classes and Tutorial from Chefs

Due to stay-at-home orders and the shuttering of restaurants and bars around the world, you might be dabbling in cooking and baking more than usual right now. With everything closed and many people ordering in less (although you should if you can afford to, as it supports your favorite restaurants during this difficult time), many people are spending more time in the kitchen, both for sustenance and as a form of therapy and stress relief. And, with their day jobs we hope only temporarily closed, many top chefs around the world are sharing their wisdom with the masses, launching social media cooking shows and tutorials to teach viewers how to cook and bake, as well as creating a forum to ask questions and connect during these socially isolating times. Here are some of the pros from the food industry and the world’s best restaurants who are offering virtual cooking lessons during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Massimo Bottura

If you’re a foodie, you probably know the name Massimo Bottura, and almost definitely know the name of his award-winning Osteria Francescana. The three-Michelin-starred restaurant is routinely ranked among the best in the world for its innovative takes on Italian classics. Naturally, the Modena establishment is closed for now as Italy hunkers down to weather the COVID-19 storm, but chef-patron Bottura (who was also the subject of an episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table) is still cookin’ and sharing his wisdom with the world. Every night around 8 p.m. Central European Time, Bottura and his family livestream their dinner preparations in a show called Kitchen Quarantine. The episodes are then saved to his account as posts, so you can go back and catch up on old ones, where he and his family prepare three-course meals of delicious Italian and multicultural fare. Sometimes the narration is in Italian, but the video shows exactly what’s being done and how the food is prepared so you can still follow along. Follow him on Instagram to learn from one of the masters.

Gabriel Rucker

Portland’s famous and beloved restaurant scene has been hit hard by the shutdowns, but they’re hitting back just as hard with creative ways to reach their customers and get through these difficult times. Gabriel Rucker is one of those leading the charge to connect with his diners by sharing recipes via his Instagram. The James Beard award-winning head chef of Le Pigeon and Canard has been offering Instagram cooking classes roughly every day for the past week, posting instructions on how to make delicious meals like Canard’s Steam burgers, pork chops, chili mayo, and miso black cod rice bowls. Follow him on Instagram for more and to watch old recipes (which are saved in his Story Highlights).

Alison Roman

Instagram darling and New York Times Cooking columnist Alison Roman is perhaps best known for her viral (but in the good internet way) recipes like #TheStew and #TheCookies. Lucky for us during this time, she is maintaining her solid social media presence and has been posting cooking and baking tutorials both on her personal Instagram and on NYT Cooking’s account, as well as offering advice on ingredient substitutions for stay-at-homers with dwindling pantries and answering all our cooking questions. Most recently, she did an Instagram Story about how to make her popular #TheCookies recipe (located now on her Story Highlights) and over on NYT Cooking’s Instagram Story, she’s most recently gone over how to make “perfect matzo ball soup.” Follow the two accounts to check for new recipes and Q&As, and find old ones on Insta Story Highlights.

The Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

If you’re not already on the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen train, now’s the time. Over the past few years, the long-running magazine has been boosting its digital content by making cooking videos, but it’s not just the good food that has millions of people tuning in. It’s the magazine’s ensemble of Test Kitchen chefs — like Brad Leone, Claire Saffitz, Molly Baz, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli, and Andy Baraghani — who are the real stars of the show with their fun personalities and delightful interactions. Full of humor, warmth, and plenty of kitchen mishaps, the BA Test Kitchen has attracted a cult following because of these chefs, and it’s just about the most feel-good thing ever. The BA YouTube Channel has several different shows with the different cooks, ranging from the more experimental like Gourmet Makes where Saffitz attempts to make gourmet versions of popular snack foods via more straightforward recipes. Follow the Bon Appetit YouTube channel and Instagram account to stay tuned. (And if you want to get really into it, follow each of the chefs on Instagram in turn, as they sometimes share videos and advice from their homes.)

Antoni Porowski

Even though he only recently got famous for being a member and resident food and wine guru of the Fab Five in Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot, Antoni Porowski had a long history in the food and beverage industry before taking his knowledge and expertise to Queer Eye to help the show’s participants learn about cooking and baking. Now he’s helping us. On IGTV, he’s started hosting a video series called Quar Eye: Cooking in Quarantine where he talks viewers through how to make different recipes (usually he’s made the food ahead of time to prevent the videos from being very long, so he covers ingredients, how to prep them, cooking steps, etc.) So far, he’s released thirteen episodes, cooking dishes like chicken parm and salmon squash. Follow his Instagram to be updated on new episodes and find old ones.

Padma Lakshmi

Top Chef host and one of the biggest stars of the Food Network, Padma Lakshmi has also been sharing cooking content on her Instagram, covering how to make things like chicken stock, kootu (an Indian dish), and more. Her kids often co-star, helping out with the prep and cooking. Check it out on IGTV and her personal page.

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Zoe Baillargeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Zoe Baillargeon is an award-winning travel writer and freelance journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. She covers travel…
How to Make Boxed Mac and Cheese Better
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Right now, to avoid going to the grocery store more than necessary, lots of us are turning to shelf-stable, long-lasting pantry staples that are easy to make but also provide some much-needed comfort. And what tasty staple of the pantry better fits those criteria than boxed mac and cheese? A childhood classic that most of us still enjoy in adulthood, we all may be making this a bit more than usual right now, so maybe we’re getting a little sick of just regular mac and cheese and might be looking to get a little creative. There are plenty of easy ways to jazz up this simple dish, from additional ingredients to condiments to alternate cooking methods. Here are some of the best methods for making boxed mac and cheese even better.
Add Real Cheese
Yes, yes, yes, the cheese blend that already goes with the pasta is both absolutely delicious and definitely not the best thing in the world for our bodies. But if you want to make your mac and cheese even cheesier, grate some real cheese in as well to make it extra gooey. After draining the water and stirring in the cheese packet, milk, and butter, add gratings of your favorite kinds of cheese: cheddar, gouda, gruyere ... there are udderly limitless options. Keep over low heat, mix it up until everything is melted and blended together, and enjoy! And don’t forget to experiment with different varieties of cheese to find the best combinations.

Top with Panko or Bread Crumbs
Looking to really class up your mac and cheese? Cover it with a crunchy coat of panko (a type of flaky bread crumb that is popular in Japan as a coating for tempura and other fried foods) or by crumbling up some stale bread to make your own breadcrumbs. Spread the prepared mac and cheese out in a casserole dish and liberally sprinkle with bread crumbs. Stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to allow the panko to get nice and crispy, and then you’re good to go! For an added treat, toast your bread crumbs in some butter and herbs in advance before putting on top of the mac and cheese.
Sprinkle Your Favorite Hot Sauce
Give your mac and cheese a little kick by stirring in some of your favorite hot sauce. Whether it’s a standard classic like Sriracha or Tabasco or a small-batch brand from a local restaurant or producer, it’s bound to make your meal more flavorful.
Bring on the Bacon
The only thing that goes together better than macaroni and cheese is mac and cheese and bacon. And you can go as fancy or as basic as you went with the bacon. For something simple, just sprinkle the finished product with some bacon bits (or stir them in when adding the cheese, milk, and butter), or fry up some real bacon, break it up into tiny pieces, and add those.

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When many grocery shoppers (myself very much included) mention “regular” peanut butter, they’re referring to the mass-marketed, undoubtedly processed but still completely delicious jarred stuff that’s widely available, reasonably priced, and beloved by sandwich-toting schoolkids, college students in need of a low-maintenance snack, and grown adults who still have a soft spot for the Jif and Skippy of their youths.

But if your grocery excursions frequently take you to organic markets or to Whole Foods (or you're ordering online), then you’re undoubtedly well-aware of “natural” peanut butter, a product famous for its lack of artificial ingredients or preservatives (most contain only peanuts and salt).

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As you may have noticed, this isn’t exactly the time for bountiful meals of fresh produce to be shared with friends and family. This is quarantine time, which increasingly translates to less in the way of fresh goods and more in the way of non-perishable grub.

It sounds like rations and unsatisfied stomachs on the surface but there’s actually a lot of fun food to work with here. Part of its appeal is that it’s so often overlooked, reserved for the the day before grocery shopping or buried away in your natural disaster kit. That, or we live in a fortunate enough state that we don't wholly depend on the stuff. Either way, when you enhance a good can of soup or frozen pizza with the right wine (which you can still get at the store, online, or perhaps through curbside pickup from your favorite bottle shop), the dish becomes more than a serving of food—it becomes a bonafide meal.
And, really, who are you trying to impress at the moment anyway? You’re either solo and talking to your pet, with your SO, or with your immediate family right now, barely clothed and badly in need of a shave. But make no mistake, good wine can and does elevate average cuisine. The following pairings are easy and surprisingly uplifting, providing a ray of non-expiring hope as you and yours navigate these strange, strange times.
Some wine and food pairings utilizing what you've got in the house worth exploring:

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