Cut and rub in front of the screen

Want a little trip around the world? With Helmut Bäumker, founder and owner of the Eisenherz cooking school, this journey begins with an Indian cucumber salad with roasted peanuts and dried apricots in a spicy oriental vinaigrette. The main course is Italian and the dessert is German.

Within a good two hours, chef Helmut Bäumker creates a three-course menu with at least twenty participants. There are also breaks for cleaning and eating. However, we don’t all celebrate together at one big table. Everyone sits at their table – just as everyone snaps and whispers in their kitchen.

However, the head of the cooking school tries to create a real atmosphere, introduces himself at the beginning and explains the menu based on the food that is on the table in front of everyone. If a course is booked, Eisenherz also supplies all the necessary ingredients in advance. Every possible question is allowed, says Bäumker. “Only those who ask get ahead, and the simplest questions are the most important.”

Everything is passed step by step

“You can even look in my pot,” says the chef. If something does not work for a participant, he can immediately ask. “Then I say: ‘Hold your pan slightly at an angle and in front of the screen,’ so I can see directly what happened there, because I also have a screen in the kitchen where I can see the participants.”

It is often companies that book a course for their employees or for customer events. Even larger groups of friends or families can cook together on the screen. Wherever participants are, all they need is internet access, a notebook or a tablet.

The course is developed through the Teams platform, on the part of Bäumker with extensive technical equipment and corresponding staff efforts. Therefore, such a course is not worth it for individuals, twenty to forty activations already cost over a thousand euros, plus ingredients.

Helmut Bäumker thinks it’s better when the participants don’t just stay in the kitchen, but take the whole family with them. “It was really great,” he recalls of several Christmas parties last year. “People sat there with their children in their arms, the dogs and cats were there and everyone was able to talk to each other in a calm way. This is the advantage in the home atmosphere”.

There are also chef subscriptions to the media library

If you want it cheaper, you can book a one-month, three-month or annual subscription to the media library. There, Chef Eisenherz explains a wide variety of dishes in cooking videos. The concept of the Golden Circle platform is similar. Here amateurs can learn from star chefs. Cornelia Poletto explains how to make handmade potato agnolotti in sage butter, or nature expert Andi Schweiger makes you want to start a campfire with bread on a stick with beef tartare and honey onions.

With an annual or quarterly subscription, cooking enthusiasts have access to all episodes posted online. They last between 12 and 20 minutes, depending on whether it is about the basics, such as lamb chops or hollandaise sauce, or main recipes like roasted mustard or salmon trout in an herb bath.

Chefs are called mentors here and explain dishes from their areas of expertise to the platform’s subscribers. The fact that they are eminent professionals should not deter amateur chefs, says Steffen Sinzinger of The Golden Circle. “If they have one, two or three stars, that only represents the expertise they bring to the table, not the difficulty level of the recipes.” Kitchen questions can also be answered through customer service.

Learn by copying from the pros

“Ninety percent of what you learn, you learn by copying,” Sinzinger knows from his experience as a former chef. And here it is about learning from the experts. “It makes a difference if it’s a star chef show or someone who’s not an expert, puts two or three things together and shows it all online for free.”

To cook with the pros, it’s best to print the recipe in advance and watch the “dry” video. During practical implementation in the kitchen, the film can simply stop in the middle. “When Jan Hartwig explains, it’s like cooking with him,” says Sinzinger.

Again and again on Sundays: Two-hour baking course

Berlin cafe owner Cynthia Barcomi cooks together. On the last Sunday of the month, the German-American pastry chef and cookbook author broadcasts a two-hour cooking class from her kitchen in the morning. Whether it’s cheesecake slices, puff pastry bunnies or Angel Food cakes – for just under thirty euros each, baking enthusiasts can look over their shoulder digitally.

The recipe is available in advance, and if you want, you can join the baking in real time. If there are questions, they will be answered. “I like the questions of the participants”, says Barcomi. “The exchange is very important – it’s the only way I can teach them everything.” Your daughter takes the questions and asks them when it suits you.

Up to a hundred participants are possible, some just watching, many baking live. “What a pleasure when I see the photos of the pastries from the participants afterwards”, says Barcomi. And they, in turn, look forward to delicious cakes, shortbreads and brownies for their Sunday coffee.

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