Wednesday 25 March 2020

How to Host a Live Cook-Along or Cooking Tutorial

If there's one thing that's emerging from this coronavirus crisis, it's the way we're being forced to think and work in more creative ways. On Sunday, I hosted an online cook-along, streaming live to an audience on YouTube. There were hiccups and connectivity issues, but ultimately it was a lot of fun and an extremely rewarding experience.

With most of my in-person events cancelled for the foreseeable future, I definitely see myself exploring and harnessing this form of engagement going forward.

Based on my experience so far, below are a few tips for any chefs and bloggers who are interested in hosting a live cooking tutorial:

You’ll need the following equipment:

- Mobile phone or camera
- Tripod or sturdy surface to lean phone/camera

Before Filming
  1. Promote your event - decide what you will be cooking/teaching and communicate this to your audience via social media or your mailing list. Get them to sign up in advance.
  2. Choose your platform - I used YouTube Live but you can also try Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Zoom.
  3. Test the video and audio quality - fix any issues before you start filming
  4. Check your WiFi connection - make sure that it is strong and reliable
  5. Find the right shooting angle - figure out where to place your camera for optimum exposure. A tripod will make this easier but if you don’t have one, try resting your phone/camera on a shelf or get creative by making a tripod out of a stack of books etc. You should be visible and central within the frame, and include the work surface and stove top you will be using to prep the food
  6. Prepare your space - tidy up any areas that will be visible on camera. Ensure that the space is well lit with natural lighting. Beautify with props or plants if possible
  7. Prepare your ingredients - have your ingredients washed, ready and portioned out before the session begins
  8. Prepare a rough script and place it somewhere off camera but visible to you (see below for example)

During Filming
  1. Speak clearly and loudly, at a moderate pace
  2. Look directly at the camera when speaking to the audience
  3. Try to follow a roughly timed script, for example:
- Introduce yourself - 2 minutes
- Introduce the recipe, the ingredients and the story behind it - 5 minutes
- Showcase how to cook the recipe - 20-30 minutes
- While the food is cooking, interact and answer audience questions
- Plate up and present the final dish to the audience
- Thank the audience for watching, and encourage them to follow your work online.

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