When international travel came to a halt and clients began cancelling upcoming trips, Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Culinary Trips, realized she had to re-think her business model—at least in the short-term.
For more than two decades, the company had designed boutique cooking vacations, connecting travelers to people and cultures at destinations around the globe. On the heels of a global economic downturn, Lowell was also eager to find a way to support and retain the cadre of expert chefs she had cultivated over the years.
With people spending more time at home and tending to seek nourishment, comfort and diversion through cooking, she realized her company was perfectly poised—by virtue of both its experience and connections—to adapt to the changed environment.
Another kind of distance learning
Lowell recently launched a series of online cooking classes, called Cuiline, bringing renowned chefs into the home kitchens of people who love food and travel.
During the classes, which are conducted via Zoom (a video conferencing platform that can be downloaded for free), clients learn recipes, techniques and cooking traditions from a choice of destinations they might have visited in the past or hope to visit in the future (e.g., Italy, Spain, Croatia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco, South Africa and Alaska).
“Our Cuiline culinary experiences are designed to virtually transport home cooks to another country for a few hours of cultural exchange,” says Lowell.
The immersive cooking experience is highly social, too, accommodating small groups of up to 15 people—that afford participants opportunities to make fast friends; interact with guest chefs and learn about their customs and traditions; and share a unique in-home experience, alongside close friends or family members (private classes can also be arranged).
To make meal preparation more convenient, participants receive a Goodie Box in the mail before the class that’s filled with authentic, high-quality, and, perhaps, harder-to-find ingredients. They are also sent a shopping list that details the fresh ingredients (primarily meat, chicken or fish, and fresh produce) that need to be purchased locally a day or two before the meal.
Classes range from two to three hours long each. Of course, they all end with a memorable multi-course meal that’s tied to a local area or region, and is likely to be Instagram-worthy. Participants also glean tips and techniques to add to their own culinary repertoires, including the art of beautiful plating.
As part of the package, a Virtual Kitchen Assistant is available to help out and make sure there are no technology glitches. Recipes and menus can be adapted to address food allergies and aversions.
For more information
The Cuiline website lists the calendar of available classes, the backgrounds and orientations of guest chefs, and also provides pricing and other information. The experience also makes a perfect birthday or anniversary gift for culinary travelers in lockdown!
Source: Thanks https://www.forbes.com/sites/irenelevine/2020/07/31/next-best-thing-to-culinary-travel–connect-with-a-chef-in-your-own-home-kitchen/