With restaurants and bars closed or operating part-time, and gatherings limited in size, chefs are starting to think up alternative ways of engaging with food and diners, and frankly, earning a living. For local chef Jason Roehm, the shutdown has prompted him to launch a series of live online cooking classes that people can participate in from the safety of their own homes.
Held via Google Chat, upcoming sessions include a pizza class this Saturday, March 28 and instruction on making stir-fries and potstickers scheduled for Wednesday, April 1. Roehm says his first class, a pasta tutorial which he held earlier this week, had students joining in from Oregon, Colorado, New York, Nashville, and Arizona as well as California. The two-hour classes are $25 each.
Roehm’s main business, called Cook with Jason, involves running corporate cooking retreats and cooking classes, including a Farmer’s Market ‘Foodadventure’ which takes clients on a five-hour culinary tour through the Solana Beach farmer’s market, Temecula Olive Oil Company, and Carruth Cellars, ending up at a North County commercial teaching kitchen for a dinner demo. With those options off the table for now, Roehm says it’s been fun to teach out of his own San Marcos home, with his 15-year-old daughter at his side. A self-taught chef, he’s also a member of Screen Actor’s Guild, which helps him handle the live audience aspect. He entertains his students with stories and walks them through his favorite cooking tricks, tips, and hacks, which include peeling an entire head of garlic in 10 seconds.
Beyond entertainment and distraction, Roehm says he wants to continue to host the online classes to show people how to save money and time during this period of uncertainty and stress, so that they can return to their kitchens excited to cook for their loved ones.