ON COOKING: Chef Dez offers help in the kitchen during a pandemic

COVID-19 has more people at home and spending time in the kitchen

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.

by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media

These are definitely trying times for everyone. The start of this pandemic produced epic shortages of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Then with the onslaught of people staying at home, the shortages expanded to include staples originally destined for our kitchen pantries, like flour, yeast, baking powder, and sugar. No one could have seen this coming, and no one knows what’s on the horizon as autumn, and the threat of a second wave, falls upon us.

Like many people, I was initially out of work. With retail businesses shutting down and all my cooking classes cancelled, I was left wondering what the future held for me, and where to take my next step. My Mom’s past childhood teachings echoed in my mind: “look for the silver lining.”

“Look for the silver lining?” I practically argued with my conscience, “what silver lining?”

And then it dawned on me. People, more than ever, were cooking at home. They finally had the time to tap into their budding inner chefs that were yearning to be unharnessed and released into the wonderful world of culinary arts. Home kitchens were transformed into culinary battlegrounds as people dusted off cookbooks, and viewed YouTube and TV cooking shows like never before. I needed to go virtual. With four cookbooks on my resume and almost 18 years of culinary instructing, I knew I could offer a solution to people that was more interactive than what they were watching.

Ever since I was a young boy, I have always loved cooking. I was that nerdy kid that always had his eyes glued to the all the cooking shows on TV, long before the internet was even a thing. I am proud that I have fined tuned that passion into something I can share with anyone that has taste buds, and thus my Zoom Cooking Classes were born this past spring.

Adapting all my culinary teachings to a virtual experience through the Zoom platform, I was able to start coaching people that were not within my geographical reach. With Zoom you can choose to either cook along live with me, or take notes and cook at a later time. Regardless of your intention for tuning in, you consistently have to ability to ask questions as the cooking process unfolds on your screen. This switch also made my offerings more affordable and provide greater value for my clients because every lesson can be a hands-on lesson if they choose. With video going both-ways, I am also able to provide constructive advice on their progress as well.

I have always believed that the kitchen is not only the heart of the home, but also a learning ground to produce and perfect the very sustenance that keeps us alive. For as long as I can remember, I have always chanted “chances are you have a kitchen at home; and chances are you are going to eat food the rest of your life. Unless you win the lotto, you are going to be cooking that food for the rest of your life – so you may as well get comfortable with it and get better at it.” Food and cooking are not going away anytime soon, pandemic or no pandemic.

Typically, my Zoom Cooking Classes are Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time. To learn more, visit www.chefdez.com/cookingclasses or follow my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/chefdezcooking.

Let’s face it, we eat food for two reasons only: 1. To stay alive, and 2. For pleasure. If you’re going to eat to stay alive anyway, we may as well make it as pleasurable as possible.

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– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

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