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Wingham's Bent on Food to start online cooking classes during COVID-19 pandemic

Innovative: Bent on Food proprietor Donna Carrier and chef Michael Finch will be delivering an online cooking class and dinner experience. Photo: Scott Calvin
Innovative: Bent on Food proprietor Donna Carrier and chef Michael Finch will be delivering an online cooking class and dinner experience. Photo: Scott Calvin

Bent on Food proprietor Donna Carrier has come up with a unique and innovative way to adapt and help sustain the Wingham business during the COVID-19 pandemic - a virtual cooking school and dining experiences via Zoom.

All cafes and restaurants in Australia had to switch to a takeaway only model, which included the option for home deliveries, on Monday, March 23.

"We're doing what we can with home delivery and takeaway, but everybody is doing that" Donna said.

"The longer people are going to be locked down the more experiences they're going to be looking for. And whereas deliveries and takeaway meals are fantastic, and there is some great food out there now, we just wanted to add a little bit to get an experience happening for people."

The internet has been a tool for businesses and creators to adapt to the shut down caused by the pandemic, with gyms and yoga teachers delivering classes online, and musicians giving online concerts and delivering online classes for people wishing to learn an instrument while they are self isolating.

The longer people are going to be locked down the more experiences they're going to be looking for.

Donna Carrier

Donna has taken up the idea for her business.

"I thought of the cooking school that we used to have so I decided to do online cooking classes to set up the cooking school again, and do the first class myself," she said.

The initial idea was to deliver the recipe and a box of ingredients, including a carefully matched bottle of wine, (with the option to buy your own ingredients), to the people who signed up for a class, and then deliver the class itself on Zoom. Participants would then enjoy the meal they had created online along with the rest of the class members.

The first virtual cooking class will be an Indonesian dish, vegetarian gado gado. Photo: courtesy Bent on Food

The first virtual cooking class will be an Indonesian dish, vegetarian gado gado. Photo: courtesy Bent on Food

"It's pretty similar to what we used to do, only on Zoom rather than hands on, and no washing up for me except for what I made myself!" Donna laughed.

The idea has quickly bloomed into more.

"We've already had inquiries for some private classes with families to get families together from all over our region plus their family members that live far away," Donna said.

Not content with just trying to keep her own business alive, Donna wants to help out local musicians as well.

"To start with we'll have Jake Davies and we're thinking we'll probably do a simple pizza night where we'll deliver a pizza that only has to be popped in the oven, and we'll have Jake on Zoom delivering music, and he'll be able to interact with everybody," Donna said.

Donna will deliver the first class herself on April 23, which will be an Indonesian vegetarian gado gado. A Vietnamese cooking class is also in the works.

Other ideas are to get her own chef and guest chefs in to do classes.

"And maybe chefs from other restaurants that are looking for ways to innovate. They can join in our classes and we can promote their business and their food, the same as we do with producers," Donna said.

For more information on the upcoming virtual classes and events, keep on eye on the Bent on Food Facebook page.