A wonderful result of lockdown has been the explosion in online food content.
Live cooking lessons, recipe tips and even food festivals. Even I have taken to the ether, to give cooking lessons with my nine year old daughter once a week.
Despite the dire straits we find ourselves in — in many ways, I'm living my best life.
I need to share a full round up of all the fabulous food content you can get your eyes (if not hands) on, but before I clock off for the weekend, I wanted to share two particularly special events you will want to put in your diary.
1. Belazu's Virtual Banquet - May 29 (SIGN UP HERE BY May 22!)
This is the stuff of dreams. My dreams anyway! The chance to get into the kitchen of several chefs, including the wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi. Who would pass that one up?! He and a list of other chefs will be cooking a course each while guests cookalong from their homes.
The other chefs are Michelin-starred chef and restauranteur Angela Hertnett; Thomasina Miers co-founder of Wahaca; Jeremy Lee from Quo Vadis restaurant; Josh Katz from Berber & Q restaurant; Helen Graham from Bubala restaurant; Ramael Scully of Scully’s and James Elliott from Pizza Pilgrims.
The cost - for the ingredients plus a cocktail is a (not insubstantial) £90 for two, but the experience has to be a once in a lifetime. The chance to have a virtual nose around Yotam's kitchen units?! I mean! and the proceeds are to raise money for charity, Chefs in Schools, who make sure children eat well at school.
On the menu are dishes that include Ottolenghi’s hummus with Pizza Pilgrims’ flatbread, Josh Katz’s signature cauliflower shawarma and Jeremy Lee’s raspberry and ricotta pudding.
Henry Dimbleby, founder of the charity and of restaurant chain, Leon, will act as your Zoom compere, and there will also be guidance on making that cocktail from renowned bartender, Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan. (Not someone on my radar, but happy to shake my cocktail with him for charity.) On top of that there will be guest appearances from comedians Wendy Wason and magician Chris Dodd.
The cooking should be over by the time Shabbat comes in, so you could make it your Shabbat meal.
2. The Great Big Jewish Food Festival May 19 - 28:
This is the other huge event that caught my eye this week is the huge Great Big Jewish Food Festival, organised by Seattle-based entrpreneur, Lisa Colton, also for charity. She is producing the event with co-founders, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern of the Gefilteria and food and travel writer Devra First.
And what an event! The list up of presenters reads like a who's who of US Jewish food. They include matriarch of Jewish food, Joan Nathan, top restaurateur Michael Solomonov; tv chef, Gail Simmons and NY Times restaurant critic, Ruth Reichl. Israeli chef, Assaf Granit (of Jerusalem's Machneyuda and London's Palomar, Barbary and Coal Office) will be there as well as our very own doyenne, Claudia Roden.
You can cook-a-long; learn new skills; listen to debates and even join the Great Shabbat Cook-Alonghosted by Gail Simmons. There will be Live sessions on Instagram and some smaller community events - all online. Some on Zoom as a broadcast and some that allow audience feedback.
I am beyond excited at the prospect. And IT'S ALL FREE to attend. Having said that, the whole point of the event is to raise money for a range of good causes. The charities they're raising money for are the Jewish Food Society, The James Beard Foundation, JDC, Mazon and Repair the World. Donors have come forward to fund match for certain events and Colton hopes to raise more than $100,000 over the course of the event.
Find out more about it here.