As Singapore bans all social gatherings this week as we work to flatten the COVID-19 curve, many culinary professionals predict that of the businesses shuttered to dine-in guests during the crisis, many — perhaps up to 90 percent — will never reopen.
But there’s also some uplifting news. As people around the world continue to support local restaurants pivoting to takeout and delivery to stay afloat, many chefs are also trying to support those affected by the crisis.
Last week, chef Daniel Humm announced he was turning Michelin-three-star eatery Eleven Madison Park in New York — where restaurants have been closed since March 16 — into a commissary kitchen to produce thousands of meals per day for those financially displaced or working on the front lines.
Other lauded chefs have taken to social media to live-stream cooking classes and share recipes from their home kitchens, to ours, as we band together to shelter in place. Here, some channels bringing culinary comfort in these times of #socialdistancing.
For more inspiration, you might follow these hashtags: #chefsathome #chefshelpchefs #recipeforthepeople #quarantinekitchen #kitchenquarantine and #quarantinemeals.
And, of course #savefnbsg.
01 | Gaggan Anand
Gaggan Anand & Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh, Bangkok, Thailand
After opening his eponymous restaurant in Bangkok in November last year, chef Gaggan Anand was forced to shutter on March 22 by Government edict along with all other restaurants in the Thai capital. His team at Anand’s “Mexican Indian fiction cuisine” casual restaurant Ms.Maria & Mr.Singh continues to offer delectable dishes – Kerala fried cauliflower, north Indian style seabass with carom – for pickup each morning. Today, Anand also partnered with appliance brand Miele for its #chefsathome recipe programme, preparing long grain basmati rice with spring green vegetables and mushrooms on Miele’s Instagram account at 4 pm, Singapore time.
Ingredients were shared via Miele’s and Anand’s IG accounts so home cooks can follow along; sessions are also posted so we can tune in on our own time. Look out for forthcoming live-stream recipes with Brazilian chef Helena Rizzo (Maní, Sao Paolo) and British-American chef and educator Kyle Connaughton (SingleThread Farms, California).
02 | Massimo Bottura
Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
As the crisis unfolded in Italy, Italian restaurateur and chef-patron of three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana Massimo Bottura raised spirits through his #kitchenquarantine series, streaming daily at 8pm, central European time (2 am Singapore time) via Instagram live.
Join him to learn how to prep ingredients for hummus, craft almond gelato with pistachio sauce and how to resurrect last night’s osso bucco family dinner as a tasty pasta lunch.
(Bonus: a clip of Bottura reenacting a De Niro scene from Taxi Driver in the bathroom mirror while brandishing a forkful of fusilli.) Missed the live stream? Not a problem — Bottura also posts videos to his gallery and IGTV channel.
03 | Eric Ripert
Le Bernadin, New York, United States
When New York’s restaurant scene went into lockdown, chef and co-owner of three-Michelin-star @LeBernadinNY – where “the fish is the star of the plate” – took to Instagram to post step-by-step recipes in the form of multi-image posts.
Come to learn to make sautéed monkfish with spring vegetables with one of the world’s foremost seafood authorities; stay for recipes for heartwarming comforts like Easy Chicken Soup from leftover roast chicken, and Gran Ma French Toast, or pain perdu, using stale bread.
04 | José Andres
ThinkFoodGroup, including Minibar (Washington, DC) & Somni (LA)
Under normal circumstances, exuberant Spanish-American chef José Ramón Andrés Puerta — named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” twice — zips between more than 30 restaurants and culinary-themed experiences across the United States and Bahamas.
Two, Minibar in Washington DC and Somni in LA, have two Michelin stars; his non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK) supports communities by providing meals following natural disasters, notably serving 3.6 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
Now, Andres is channelling his considerable energies through social media, sharing home-cooking videos with family members staging as sous chefs while singing Hamilton show tunes under @WCKitchen’s hashtag #recipesforthepeople. Dishes include chicken and cauliflower, dedicated to all immigrants, and his childhood favourite sugar omelette, dedicated to frontline COVID-19 responders (both of Andres’s parents were nurses).
Other chefs and celebs are also sharing under WCK’s #recipesforthepeople — you can cook leeks and croutons with Natalie Portman here.
Want mas José? You can find more details about the man and his causes on his website joseandres.com, Youtube channel ThinkFoodGroup, Twitter and Facebook.
05 | Tom Kerridge
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at the Corinthia Hotel, The Hand and Flowers Pub, Manchester, UK
As England went into lockdown, chef Tom Kerridge — who oversees a number of elevated pub grub establishments — took to Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to share #lockdowndinners for the nation.
When he’s not whipping mouthwatering sausage bake with sauerkraut or a batch of paella-ish with whatever he’s got handy in the pantry, Kerridge is working to provide 500 free meals a day to healthcare and frontline workers and anyone deserving in the community.
06 | Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, US, which includes The French Laundry (CA), Per Se (NY)
This week Thomas Keller announced he was partnering with fellow US-based chefs Daniel Boulud, Gavin Kaysen and Corey Chow to ship provisions packs of products from their suppliers — boneless leg of lamb, mixed veggies and Animal Farm butter — direct to home cooks.
This strategy helps keep their small-scale purveyors in business, and a portion of profits will go to furloughed restaurant employees. To cook with Keller, fill your grocery cart with similar ingredients from your local supplier and follow along with him in this Instagram post.
More Thomas Keller: YouTube, Twitter, The French Laundry on IG, Twitter, Facebook.
07 | Andrew Rea
Binging with Babish
How about some meta for the moment? As we stream hours of TV from our couch, many chefs are right there with us — like Binging with Babish host Andrew Rea, who cooks dishes from his favourite shows and movies for more than a million YouTube followers.
Tune in to learn how to make the “Egg Sandwich” with homemade ciabatta from Margot Robbie’s new DC Comics universe spinoff Birds of Prey, staring Harley Quinn, and ram-don from Oscar-winning Korean film Parasite, or check out the recipes posted on his website.
08 | Marie Robert
Café Suisse, Bex, Switzerland, for The Michelin Guide
Unsurprisingly, The Michelin Guide has launched its own dish-sharing series featuring recognised talent from around the world under #MichelinGuideAtHome. Thirty-year-old Marie Robert — who has run Café Suisse with partner Arnaud Gorse for nine years — makes a strong case for trying to make a traditional tarte tatin (upside apple pie) at home with this easy-to-follow recipe.
For more delectable sweet treats, check out Jean Sulpice’s chocolate cake and Guy Lassausaie’s panna cotta with coffee.
More Is More
While it’s never a bad time to revisit the back catalogues of some of the best on-demand food shows — Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown; David Chang’s Ugly Delicious — there’s also a growing number of “how-to…” online shows and channels being streamed via Netflix, Hulu and other services to help us hone our skills while in self-isolation.
In this polished online series, you’ll find some of the world’s most highly esteemed professionals sharing their experiences and insights to their success in a series of well-packaged “lessons”, including a sprawling library of cooking courses.
Under the “culinary arts” tab you’ll find programming by Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay, French pastry fundamentals from Dominique Ansel, and “the art of home cooking” by Alice Waters.
Among the platform’s most recent instructors: Gabriela Cámara, the female Mexican chef behind Contramar in Mexico City, Cala in San Francisco, and Onda in Santa Monica, who talks about the importance and nutritional value of corn in her home country to seafood sustainability, sharing recipes for dishes such as tostadas de atun (tuna tostadas) and Mexico City street food staple tacos al pastor.
You can sign up for one-offs that interest you, or the whole programme — right now, when subscribers buy an annual membership for US$ 180, they’ll receive an additional one to gift to a loved one.
Eater’s YouTube channel is incredibly diverse, but this week we’re glued to its 46-show Omakase series, which goes inside the otherwise hard-to-access world of Japanese food professionals. You can follow “Tuna King” Yukitaka Yamaguchi as he sources fish from Japan’s celebrated Tsukiji market (before trade relocated to Toyosu market), and step behind the counter at Nodaiwa, in the Higashi Azabu area of Tokyo — a 200-year-old restaurant where Chef Kanejiro Kanemoto is a fifth-generation chef specialising in the preparation of unagi.
In one of its more recent episodes, you can watch chef Masahi Yamada prepare wild duck and boar hunted in the mountains of Japan at Yanagiya over charcoal at invitation-only Yanagiya, a restaurant located near Nagoya.
More more more! New appetite-whetting series and inspiring feature-length documentaries continue to launch weekly over Netflix, Amazon Prime and other services.
On April 3, Somm TV released A Chef’s Voyage, a documentary profiling Emmy award-winning Chef David Kinch and his team from the three-Michelin-starred Manresa as they journey from California to cook a series of “four-hands” dinners with teams at some of France’s most lauded restaurants in 2017. (I had the great pleasure of accompanying Kinch to France and experiencing his collaborative dinner at Le Taillevant in Paris in celebration of the restaurant’s 15-year anniversary and the spirit of culinary collaboration for GQ.) The film is available on-demand for US 4.99 for a 72-hour rental for 30 days, with all rental proceeds benefitting the Lee Initiative’s restaurant workers relief program, aiding US culinary workers during the pandemic.
Documentary Beyond Food focuses on alternative means and philosophies to mainstream health practices, tapping athletes, farmers, doctors and wellness practitioners to provide viewers with the skills and knowledge to improve their health and overall wellbeing — perhaps more important now than ever. Now streaming on Amazon Video to buy or rent, or as part of the IMDB and Food Matters TV channels.