Montreal chefs turn to Zoom Cooking Classes to connect with diners


With dining halls still closed across Montreal, the city’s chefs have had to keep improvising instead of switching fine take-out and set menus to offer home-style and staple groceries. With a curfew limiting restaurant orders to delivery (no takeaway) after 7:30 p.m., chefs are turning to Zoom to connect with customers remotely.

“We miss being able to provide service and being in contact with the public,” says Francis Blais, one of the chefs behind the Mile End Outfit Menu Extra. The Top Chef Canada winner and his partner, 2020 Les Chefs! The winner, Camilo Lapointe Nascimento, came up with the idea of ​​a zoom cooking course “Chefs en Direct” on Saturday afternoon to remedy this. “We want to spend time together as a community,” Blais tells Eater. “Our course is designed for learning and interacting from the moment everyone says’ Oui Chef! ‘Say. at the beginning of the class until the time we end up eating together. “

Menu Extra’s cooking class focuses on using local produce to create classic dishes and demystifying kitchen techniques that may seem daunting to the home cook. Their first session on January 16 features French classics like coq au vin and rice pilaf and takes chefs home to boning poultry. Participants will have the option to sign up for the full food menu – all the necessary ingredients delivered to anyone on Montreal Island – or just for the online course.

The next class on February 6th will include Coulibiac, a traditional pastry bowl filled with salmon, vegetables, rice, and egg – just the kind of dish you might need to have someone prepare before you try it for yourself. “People may be scared,” says Blais, “but it’s a great dish to impress people with and it’s easy to make.”

Panna cotta with bee pollen, buckwheat and lemon cream pastel / Delivered

The award-winning Pastel restaurant in Old Montreal offers three-course meals made with local ingredients for the hands-on “handcrafted) Cousu Main cooking classes, also starting on Saturday, January 16. The first repetition begins with Chef Yoann van den Berg teaching how to make beet carpaccio (with three types of beet, accompanied by a cranberry chutney and caramelized pecans), roulade de volaille (chicken breast filled with ricotta and truffles) and a panna cotta with bee pollen , Buckwheat and lemon cream make for dessert.

Ingredient boxes for the class can be picked up at the Old Montreal restaurant. You can also include wines recommended by pastel sommelier Jonathan Brisebois, who speaks about his pairing decisions during the session.

Van Den Berg says he’s sure that home cooks master the menu under his guidance and can tackle sweetbreads, foie gras, magret de canard and even the humble egg in the weeks that follow. “We do this without claiming to enjoy together,” he says. And with a cap of 20 participating screens, he hopes there will be plenty of interaction. “We want everyone … to share their creations online so we can see the beautiful food we created together.”

I drink / deliver

Menu Extra and Pastel are new additions to the online cooking space, but the trend has picked up momentum among other chefs in town as the pandemic progresses. There are instructional videos that come with the mise-en-place meal sets from Chef Danny Smiles, group lessons for everything from Pad Thai to Mai Tai from Cacao Barry Ambassador Jonathan Garnier’s La Guilde Culinaire, and pizza classes live via Instagram from Bevo Pizzeria in Alt -Montreal be delivered.

“As negative as the situation is, food still brings people together. I know that I get energy from people who bring me into their kitchen for these courses, ”says Bevos Chef Giovanni Vella. He runs an Instagram Live Pizza class every Thursday; Guests can either order Bevo’s margherita kit for delivery or make their own dough according to his instructions. “We don’t expect everyone to have a perfectly round pizza,” says Vella with a laugh. “We have people who do that with their children. It should be fun. “