Conducting a cooking class through Zoom

I was invited by Jocelyn from the SCGS alumni committee to conduct a cooking class through Zoom for mothers and children. (At first I was asked to do one just for children but I declined because I had some concerns about children handling knives without adult supervision.)

I decided on Cottage Pie and Zucchini Crisps because they were both easy for me to do. I also roped in my good friend Hui Jia, an early childhood teaching specialist, to co-host the class.

My setup (excuse the mess!)

The pieces of paper you see taped below the lap top are the prompts I wrote out to remind myself of what to do and say. I also highlighted areas where Hui Jia was supposed to cut in with some interesting facts about the food.

Jocelyn’s children, Becks, Pirate and Ems (from left to right), busy in the kitchen during the class.

It was an interesting experience because I couldn’t monitor how the participants were progressing in the class.

Here are some things that didn’t go so well:

  • When checking in, I realised some participants were really far behind.
  • Some participants missed certain steps. For example, one participant missed the step when I put in the cheese and had to come back and ask me what to do.
  • One participant grated her zucchini using the ribbon side of her box grater because I had said, “Use the largest holes of your grater”.
  • One participant didn’t have enough mashed potatoes for her shepherd’s pie.
  • One participant asked which setting the oven should be used to brown the top of her pie
  • One participant mentioned that her children were arguing over which jobs they could do.
  • A participant asked how thin the zucchini crisps should be

How I intend to make the next experience better:

  • Ask participants to watch first and then carry out the demonstrated step. I’ll also ask them to indicate they are done by using the thumbs up symbol so we can carry on. I’ll make sure to state this at the beginning of the class.
  • Co-host can help to monitor the students more closely. Also tell participants how to indicate if they need more time, for example, tell the co-host or unmute themselves because it’s difficult for me to monitor the chat function when the laptop is far away from me.
  • Indicate clearly the size of the ingredients e.g. 3 medium sized potatoes (potatoes should be the size of tennis balls) on the recipe
  • Give tips on how to get your dish to be very presentable / appetising
  • Give tips to parents on how to divide work among their children so that it can be carried out more smoothly.

Things to keep doing:

  • Give tips on how children can safely participate
  • Give interesting information on the ingredients.

Some other notes for myself:

  • I need a better introduction.
  • I should highlight that I have a zero waste focus.

I’m really grateful to Jocelyn for the opportunity and to Hui Jia for being a super co-host. I had soooo much fun that I think I might make this a regular thing.

My other thoughts are that I would love for my school students to produce their own cookings segments and I hope to build on the learning from this experience to get students to do this in future.