Indy Chefs Offer Online Cooking Tutorials

Pastry Chef Hattie McDaniel walks participants through baking exercises such as making cinnamon rolls from scratch.

Image courtesy Kelli Bastin

It’s a sign of the COVID-19 times that two of the hardest things to find at grocery stores these days are disinfectant wipes and instant dry yeast. (Source: frantic social media posts by anyone and everyone.). 

Yes, people want to be sanitary. And, boy howdy, do they want to bake. And roast. And make cocktails. It seems that as soon as folks hang up from their Zoom meetings, they head to the kitchen. Luckily, local chefs and food personalities are taking to social media to do cooking classes and demos on everything from sourdough bread to traditional tiki drinks. 

Some of the demos are done on the fly; some run on a regular weekly schedule. Most of the lessons and demos on this list are available for free on Facebook or Instagram, and some are fee-based classes done via Zoom, with advance notice on ingredient lists and equipment needs, and live a Q&A during the class. 

A couple of tips on finding archived demos and classes on social media:

  1. On Facebook, go to the restaurant or chef’s page and look for the “Video” tab on the left side of your screen. You should find previously posted lessons there.
  2. On Instagram, demos are likely to be in one of two places—either in the regular Instagram feed, or at the top of the profile in an Instagram story highlight reel. Check both. 

Happy cooking, baking, and cocktailing!

Fee-Based Classes and Demos

At Home with Hattie
Vida pastry chef Hattie McDaniel has created some of the most delicious desserts and bread baskets this city has ever seen, and now she’s sharing her tips in a weekly Zoom baking class. Students get shopping lists, recommended tools, and a recipe eBook in the days before the class, which are occasionally split into two parts, because the nature of baking often requires time for proofing or other tiered steps. For her cinnamon roll class in early April, the first day included making the dough, filling, and frosting. Day two was rolling, shaping, proofing, and baking. (Both days were included in the price of one class.) 

Cost: $40

Conquering the Kitchen
Personal chef Tanorria Askew of Tanorria’s Table came to fame in 2016 when she placed fourth on Fox TV’s MasterChef in 2016, making what Gordon Ramsay classified as the best shrimp and grits he’d ever had in the history of the show. She recently started a subscription service that offers twice-monthly live cooking classes in a private Facebook group, with additional weekly resources throughout the month for shopping and equipment. 

Cost: $50 per month

Gallery Pastry Shop
Gallery is taking their popular macaron class online, offering live instruction via Zoom. Students need their own baking sheet and stand or hand mixer, but all other ingredients and tools will be delivered to your home the day of the class. 

Cost: $75; $100 includes a mimosa package add-on

Free Classes and Demos

I Heart Pasta
We can’t say for sure, but we wouldn’t be surprised if chef Alan Sternberg’s magic way with pasta is one of the reasons he’s a repeat James Beard semi-finalist. The Ukiyo chef (formerly of Cerulean, Field Brewing, and the Common House dinner series) is known for his pasta creations that are as gorgeous as they are delicious.

He’s launched a new pop-up dinner series, I Heart Pasta, with his wife and creative partner, Audra, and they have a YouTube channel where he gives detailed instructions on making fresh pasta at home. Take advantage of the short-but-beloved ramp season by taking a stab at Sternberg’s ramp carbonara recipe.

Beach Bum Barbecue
Food truck owner and pitmaster John Barker has a YouTube channel packed with recipes that seem tailor-made for people in need of some comfort food. We don’t even know where to start, but the jalapeño popper cheeseburgers, bacon cheddar biscuits, and challah bread seem like good choices.

Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe
Raw foods chef and Ezra’s owner Audrey Barron has an hour-long “uncooking” class on her Facebook page, where she walks viewers through detoxifying recipes like dandelion cilantro veggie pasta and herbal infusion drinks. She’s kicking off shorter lessons this month, all on Facebook. 

The Fletcher Place fave has always had a deep bench of talent, and the stay-at-home orders have given this crew lots of opportunities to show off their food and beverage skills in a format that’s educational and fun. Head to Instagram or Facebook for lessons on everything from how to make a Reverend Palmer cocktail (old-fashioned with lemon simple syrup) to Hoosier Hot Chicken. And if learning more about wine has always been on your to-do list, check out sommelier Jan Bugher’s weekly series, The Click Away Sommelier.  

Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie
Bluebeard’s sister cinema project in Windsor Park has some drink ideas from bar director Robert Gullett for the on-demand movies the theater is screening during quarantine. Gullett showed everyone how to make one his favorite beer cocktails, the Spaghett, before the recent screening of The Social Network.

Traders Point Creamery
The staff at this cozy, pasture-side restaurant take fans inside the kitchen for classic dinner ideas like lemon roasted chicken, or pizza you can make at home with a Take and Make pizza kit designed especially for kids. 

Zoë Taylor
The former Milktooth pastry chef takes followers inside her own kitchen for pastry lessons that somehow manage to be both detailed and totally chill. Her baghrir (Moroccan pancake) is our new favorite vehicle for just about everything (cheese, jam, syrup, and so on). And if you’ve got a sourdough itch (doesn’t everyone right now?), she’s got a detailed tutorial for a sourdough big softie loaf.

Cardinal Spirits
The Bloomington distillery hosts weekly Tiki Tuesday classes via Zoom with bartenders Baylee Pruitt and Chris Resnick, live from their home bar in Chicago. Learn to make classic tiki drinks, select the best garnishes, and pick the perfect rums to stock your personal collection.  

Hotel Tango Distillery
School is in session at Hotel Tango University, where you can participate in virtual happy hours and learn to make cocktails on Facebook and Instagram. During one recent class, mixologist Thomas Hartman taught everyone how to craft three popular Hotel Tango drinks, including Cherry Limeade, Orange is the New Whack, and Gin Bravo.  

Upland Brewing Co.
If you’re looking for a boozy dessert, Upland has you covered with this ice cream float made with Bad Elmer’s Porter and ice cream from Bloomington’s The Chocolate Moose. 

The Tiffin Kitchen
Ruchi Shah is a personal chef and food blogger specializing in vegetarian cooking and chai tea. She does casual cooking demos on Instagram live, where you can visit her highlight reel for lessons on paneer, colorful cashew milk, and a four-ingredient Mexican dish with tofu

Fresh Hunger
Cookbook author and food blogger Lovoni Walker is launching online cooking classes this week on Facebook and Instagram, walking followers through the most popular recipes on her Pinterest page and social media channels. Walker says to expect lessons on things like pastries, frittatas, pasta, roasts, and more. 

Cooking with Heather
Before Heather Tallman took on the role of program director at the Indiana Department of Agriculture’s statewide branding initiative, Indiana Grown, she was a busy food blogger and television personality. She’s back in front of the camera every Thursday at 2 p.m. to make inexpensive, family-friendly meals with pantry ingredients and readily available proteins (week one was garlic-and-brown-sugar chicken). It’s a project of Franklin’s Better Together COVID initiative, and the free classes are open to anyone who registers in advance for the Zoom link.