“Good cooking is honest, sincere, and simple” - Elizabeth David
Many of us enjoy cooking. However, enjoying cooking and knowing how to do it are two very different things.
Similarly, many people would like to become better cooks. Much like learning to play the piano, practice makes perfect and many people are ready, just like with the piano, to get lessons and learn how to cook. Just like with music, dancing, or art, there are also plenty of different types of classes available: baking, organic cooking, molecular cuisine, Thai food, vegetarian cuisine, etc. There’s something for everyone!
Have you considered teaching students remotely via webcam?
If this all sounds a little bit complicated, don’t worry! In this article, whether you want to set up an online cooking school, teach online cooking courses, or become a private cooking tutor, we’re going to explain how you can broaden your client base and start teaching students via the internet.
What Equipment Do You Need to Teach Students How to Cook Online?
Before you start your online cooking workshops, you’ll need the right equipment. You have to plan an online tutorial a bit differently to face-to-face cooking tutorials. While students in both cases are learning to cook, a cooking class online needs to be taught differently than a lesson where both the student and teacher are cooking at home.
Firstly, you’ll need:
- A computer.
- A good quality microphone that captures clear audio.
- A good quality webcam so that your students can see what you’re doing.
- Good speakers or headphones so that you can hear your students.
- A good stable internet connection.
- Video conferencing software such as Skype which can be downloaded for free. Your student will also need to install the same software.
- PayPal to receive payments online. You can also be paid by bank transfer but PayPal tends to be much easier.
You’ll also need the necessary space to cook. Ideally, you need somewhere near your computer where you can be clearly seen and work comfortably. It's hard to cook even simple recipes or any delicious recipes if you don't have space and it's even harder to run a cooking course if your students can't see what you're doing or how you're chopping and prepping the food.
You’ll need to set up your computer so that your student can see every part of your kitchen. If your webcam isn’t great, you can also use a real camera as many of them can be plugged into computers and act as webcams.
If your kitchen isn’t big enough for this, there’s still hope. The important thing is to focus on certain parts of your cooking like cutting and preparing ingredients. It won’t matter too much if they can’t watch the food cooking in the oven.
Before the start of your first lesson with a student, you should schedule a call to check that everything works fine. This takes just two minutes and can ensure that you won’t have anything to worry about during the tutorial.
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What Are the Advantages of Online Cooking Tutorials?
There are several advantages to teaching students how to cook via webcam. For example, you won’t have to travel very far to get to an online cooking workshop or online cooking classes, which means you’ll save a lot of time. Similarly, you’ll save money on paying for fuel or public transport. You’ll also save your back from having to carry all your equipment to and from the tutorials.
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With the time saved, you’ll also be able to be more flexible when it comes to scheduling sessions. It’s easier to schedule lessons during lunch breaks, on evenings, or at the weekend if you don’t have to spend an hour getting to them. There are also no geographical constraints so you can teach students from all over the world as long as their connection is good enough.
You’ll save money as your students will have to buy their ingredients as you won’t be bringing it with you and the same is true of their equipment and utensils.
You can also teach several students at the same time. Ideally, though, you won’t want to teach more than three students at a time as you won’t be able to tailor the lessons to them as much. In any case, you’ll have to make sure they’re all at a similar level before you start teaching them.
How Can You Plan an Online Private Cooking Tutorial?
Before you teach an online cooking tutorial, you need to prepare. Set aside some time to talk to the student about how you’d like to teach them and what they’d like out of the lessons.
Tell them how you work, what the lessons are like, and your teaching approaches. Then, ask them about their objectives and how they think you’ll be able to help them. Finally, make sure you check what equipment they have, too.
Do they have a toaster, blender, a microwave, etc.? How many pots, pans, and salad bowls do they have?
Some people mightn’t have an oven or only a few hobs so you’ll need to adapt your recipes to each student and their equipment. Talk to them about the recipes you’d like them to learn. You can also schedule the lessons during this time.
A few days before each lesson, send a message to the student telling them which ingredients they’ll need to buy and what they’ll be making. You might also want to include advice for buying the best ingredients. For example, they’ll need to know how to tell if the produce is fresh, which are the best cuts of meat, etc.
Tell them what will happen in the lesson, too. They won’t need the whole recipe but tell them what equipment they should have ready and give them time to find it or buy it, if necessary.
Will they be using their oven or just the hobs?
Make sure you mention the cooking techniques they'll have to use. After all, a student who's learning how to cook with online cooking classes mightn't be familiar with basic cooking, knife skills, or certain cooking methods and they might want to look these up before the lesson.
A quarter of an hour before the lesson, get yourself and everything you’ll need ready so that you won’t waste any time during the lesson looking for stuff. Place your computer or webcam somewhere where it can see you at all times.
Now you’re ready for your workshop! Get your hat and apron ready!
What Happens in an Online Cooking Tutorial?
So what exactly happens in an online cooking tutorial?
You’ll have to make the dishes alongside your student. Choose a recipe that can be made within time. After all, you can't learn culinary skills if you don't finish the meal. After all, you won't know if your meals taste good or how you can improve.
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Err on the side of caution. For a recipe that takes you 40 minutes, it may take you and your student an hour.
Additionally, you might need to take some time to explain a certain technique as an hour can go by quickly when you’re cooking. You’ll need to explain what you’re doing and how you do it. Explaining every step will take more time than just doing it from memory. Similarly, you’ll need to then wait for the student to copy. The goal is for them to successfully make the dish. If they can’t follow, they’ll get it wrong. Allow some time for questions, too. Don’t go too quickly as they’ll run the risk of getting it wrong.
Don’t choose overly ambitious recipes, either, especially if your student is just a beginner. Prepare your lessons ahead of time and try out the recipes so you can see how long they take.
Beginners will be happy to create a simple home-cooked meal rather than something worthy of a culinary school. Recipes for meals like macaroni and cheese, poached eggs, roast chicken, frittata, risotto, coconut flan, tapas, fruit crumble, etc. are all great for students who want to learn to cook. However, if your meal requires a marinade, you might need to teach your student how to make it one lesson and finish it off during the following cooking lessons.
You can also look for TV chefs and chefs on YouTube to get ideas of how to plan a good recipe for your online tutorials.
So are you ready to start teaching online cooking tutorials? Or do you think it’s too complicated?
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