Cuiline brings the current zest for live, online experiences and the pandemic-inspired resurgence of home-cooking, to our screens. Olivia Palamountain reports
A Cuiline cook-a-long virtually transports home cooks to another country for a few hours of cultural exchange and learning, followed by a feast.
Capitalising on the Zoom boom, all classes are live, online and led by a roster of chefs from all over the world. What’s more – all ingredients are sent to participants in advance.
There are more than 20 classes to choose from, including free-from cooking styles and dietary preferences such as pescatarian, veggie, kosher and family-friendly, and the chefs are each specialised in a particular cuisine, from Thai and Indian to Italian, Peruvian and Argentinian.
If you want to learn the art of Japanese home cooking, for example, you can sign up for a three-hour session with Chef Mayuko who lives in Choshi city. For US$187 you will learn how to prepare a three-course menu including udon noodles and teriyaki chicken. Bookings include a Zoom connection for up to four people, as well as some of the ingredients for two multi-course meals, which are sent out before the class. Additional ingredients can be added for another two meals at an extra cost.
The concept was conceived by Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Culinary Trips, a tour company specialising in exploring culture through cuisine.
As international travel came to a halt in spring 2020, and her clients were forced to cancel their trips, Lowell recognised that they would likely not be traveling for some time and “would be craving international culture and connection”. She was also determined to get her network of chefs around the world back to work.
“We know first-hand how much people enjoy in-person cooking classes, not just to learn new skills, but to connect with people and cultures over food,” says Lowell.
“That’s why our online kitchen to kitchen experiences with top chefs around the world end in a beautiful multi-course meal that is meant to be shared. And like traditional cooking classes, we make Cuiline experiences fun and easy.
“We deliver hard-to-find ingredients directly to the kitchens of our home cooks, and our virtual kitchen assistants help set up home kitchens, keep the class flowing, and foster a personal connection with the chef for the ultimate food-culture experience.”
How does it work?
Wannabe chefs can browse by cooking style ( European, Latin American, Southeast Asian and Mediterranean) or choose from Cuiline’s roster of chefs. Since chefs are based all over the world, it’s advisable to select a time zone that suits.
A few days before the class, participants are sent a hamper of pre-measured ingredients along with the recipes they will be making and a shopping list of the fresh ingredients required. A Zoom link and instructions on how to join the class will arrive via email along with a full list of kitchen tools needed.
When it’s time to check in for the cooking lesson, Cuiline’s Virtual Kitchen Assistant will video call participants to talk through the Zoom platform and get set up before the Cuiline chef takes over, leading guests through every recipe, as if they were in the room. Classes last from two to three hours, and all feature multiple courses.