A Maple Ridge Secondary culinary arts instructor is taking his teaching skills to the biggest virtual classroom of his cooking career.
“I am super excited,” he said. “I hope people watch. I have had a lot of fun putting it together and anytime we are on Zoom with people who enjoy food as much as me, it can’t not be a great time.”
Ordinarily, Randle can be found holding cooking demonstrations at big Lower Mainland events, like Surrey’s Fusion Festival and Vancouver’s PNE. However, with those shows on hold due to COVID-19, he has moved his lessons online, filming live classes in his kitchen at home.
With his wife working the camera, he has held a half-dozen smaller virtual events, with audiences ranging in size from 10 to as many as 40.
“After a little trial and error, we have the perfect placement for the cameras,” he said. “We have a light we put in and a path to get her to and from the stove as seamless as possible.”
Next week’s cook-along is expected to be Randle’s biggest audience by far, he said, noting the event is free and open to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.
The chef will be joined by farmers Lovella Schellenberg and Mickey Aylard, who will provide insights into B.C. agriculture and answer questions about sourcing local food.
With everyone tuning in from their home, Randle said the audience will learn they do not necessarily need the latest and greatest cooking tools to make great food.
“You don’t need special equipment for this,” he added.
Choosing the menu took some thought.
First, Randle said the meal must be possible to prepare within the allotted time and the recipes should appeal to a diverse audience with a range of experience.
The finished product should also be tasty, he added.
“It needs to be different enough that it will attract the foodie but not so difficult that a person who is scared to turn the stove on can’t pull it off,” Randle said.
For the recipes, he settled on a delicious B.C.-inspired Thai chicken curry with a vegan option for the main course. For dessert, students will learn how to make a baked lemon pudding with blueberry compote.
Randle is eager to get in front of the camera and teach. He said he is really embracing the online platform, noting it is a way to pass along his skills and insights in a way that is fun for both himself and the audience.
“A lot of chefs are adapting,” he said. “It just seems like the easiest way to reach a lot of people at once.”
• Chef Randle’s free cook-along will be held between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23. To learn more or to register, visit www.bcaitc.ca. Participants will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of three prize packages valued at more than $200 each.