During this time of social distancing, the search for new and interesting things to do at home can be extremely difficult. If you’ve been looking for something unique that the whole family can get involved with, The Culinary Center of Kansas City has just the solution: online cooking classes hosted by some of the cooking school's expert chefs.
The Culinary Center’s cooking classes were a staple of the downtown Overland Park business until the coronavirus pandemic swiftly put a stop to them earlier this spring. Luckily, the Culinary Center already had a plan in the works to move some of its classes to an online format. Laura Laiben, who refers to herself as the Culinary Center’s “Main Dish” (aka CEO and owner), says they weren’t planning on launching these classes for a while, but the new social distancing measures forced their hand.
“We ran a few right at the beginning of things shutting down, then made a point to stop for a few weeks so we could gather feedback and perfect what we were doing,” Laiben says. “We’ll do them as long as there’s a demand, even after our in-person classes can get started again.”
Topics include everything from knife skills and Instant pots to spring brunch menus and Mexican cuisine. Signing up for the classes is easy; simply head over to the Culinary Center’s calendar of events, find the online class you’d like to participate in, and pay to reserve your spot (all the currently available online classes are listed at $30). After signing up, you’ll receive an invite to a private Facebook group for that specific event. From there, you’ll find the recipes you’ll need and ingredients you’ll need to buy if it’s a cook-along class. When it’s time for the livestream, that Facebook group is where you’ll watch.
If you’re worried you don’t have the culinary chops to keep up with these classes, Laiben says you shouldn’t be. “We’re careful to call out the skill levels you’ll want in the description of each class. We have classes based around meal prep, equipment use and specific skill honing. For example, we’ve broken our popular ‘Knives 101’ course down into three smaller courses – that way, you can focus on one specific aspect of your knife skills or take all three and consider yourself an expert.”
Laiben hopes that the classes the Culinary Center is offering can bring a bit of joy to customers and help keep the business afloat until a sense of normalcy can return. “Supporting privately owned, local businesses you care about during this unprecedented time is extremely important,” she says. “We encourage our customers to take our online classes, order some of our chef-made frozen meals, pick up gift cards for future use and keep an eye on our website for other ways they can support us.”
Ultimately, she hopes that the online classes will keep going strong, even once the full sensory experience of the in-person classes returns. To prepare for a streaming class, Laiben suggests looking over the recipes beforehand, preparing a clean space to work and putting on something comfortable. “Pour yourself a glass of wine and gather the family,” she adds. “Food is meant to be shared.”
The Culinary Center of Kansas City, 7920 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, Kansas, 913.341.4455, kcculinary.com