Zoom Cooking Class for Teams: How to Host Your Own (with recipe ideas)

 

Overhead shot of three bowls of hummus

Love it or it or hate it, Zoom has become a big part of how many of us work these days. Withso many jobs going fully remote, it’s not uncommon to go several days before speaking with another coworker. Cultural drift isn’t a new challenge for companies, but remote work makes it harder than ever for team members to connect with one another on a regular basis.

Like many other businesses, Buffalo Market has employees in numerous departments all around the globe. To bring them all together, we organize culture-building events on Zoom. One particularly effective event we’ve discovered? A Zoom cooking class. 

Want to get to know your team better while learning to make something delicious? Read on to learn everything you need to know about organizing a group cooking event!

Pre-planning your Zoom cooking class

Luckily, you don’t need much to get started! Just make sure you have the following:

  • Webcam - Since you’ll likely be shooting in your kitchen, you’ll want something portable like a laptop or tablet. Ideally, you have both so that you can dual screen. You can use your smartphone, but we recommend something more robust.

  • Shooting location - Make sure you have a tidy shooting location with good, natural lighting. If you shoot somewhere other than your kitchen, choose a recipe that won’t require the oven or stove.
  • Zoom - You can use other virtual meeting software, but for the purpose of this how-to, we’ll stick with the reigning champ. If your event is less than 45 minutes, you can use a free account. If you want more time, you will want to upgrade to a Licensed account (your company may have one they can invite you to).
  • Graphic design software - You don’t have to be a graphic designer, but your participants will appreciate an attractive, easy-to-follow recipe card to look at during your presentation. Apps like Canva have plenty of ready-made templates you can use, regardless of your skill level.

 

Calendar on a desk
Planning ahead: 1-2 weeks

As a food distributor, Buffalo Market understands the importance of good planning. Giving yourself a week or two to get your ducks in a row will take a lot of stress off!

  1. Choose a recipe - What do you like to make for yourself? Pick something that you’ve made before that doesn’t require many (or difficult to find) ingredients or any advanced skills or equipment. Scroll to the bottom of the page for some can’t-fail recipe ideas!
  2. Create a recipe card - Whether you use Canva, MS Paint, or Microsoft Word, you should make an easy-to-follow recipe card that lists the ingredients and steps. You could even make a slide presentation if you’re so inclined.
  3. Choose a time and date - Consider times that people are most likely to be available and have the energy to engage in your Zoom cooking class. At Buffalo Market, we have a large team that spans multiple contients, so we chose a time that wouldn’t be too early for our West Coast folks nor too late for the team in New York or Ukraine.
  4. Send a calendar invite - Now that you’ve got your plan in order, it’s time to invite everyone! Buffalo Market uses Google Calendars, but however you choose to invite your team, make sure you include the following in your invite:

Introduction - Explain the purpose of the event and who’s invited to participate.

Recipe - If you made a recipe card, attach it to the invitation. You should also paste the ingredients into the text of the invite.

Zoom link - Create and share a Zoom meeting invitation link.

 

Planning ahead: 1-2 days

Don’t get caught off-guard during your presentation! Take the day or two before your scheduled cooking session to fine-tune your plans.

  • Go shopping - Using the ingredients list you provided to your team, go to the store and gather everything you need. If you discover you have a hard time finding an ingredient, look for a substitution and make a note of it.
  • Tech rehearsal - Put together your webcam setup, open Zoom, and make sure you’re well-lit and that your workspace is easily visible. Practice sharing your screen to show the recipe card.
  • Dress rehearsal - With your empty Zoom still going, practice your recipe. Measure your ingredients out and set them aside. If you have a slide presentation, advance slides as necessary. Take note of your pacing and any hiccups that might occur. Make sure the recipe tastes good! 

Canva Design DAFFr2t-4r8

Planning ahead: 20-30 minutes

Even if you’re a natural presenter, it’ll help your presentation go smoothly if you spend some time before the session gathering yourself.

  • Collect your ingredients - You can either measure quantities out ahead of time or do it along with your group. 
  • Tech setup - Open Zoom and share your screen. For an extra fun presentation, share your audio and play some music from your computer. We recommend something universally enjoyable.

Showtime!

You’ve done all your homework and are ready to start your Zoom cooking class.

  1. Welcome - Start your optional playlist and greet folks as they trickle in. If you want to get some conversation going, you can start with an icebreaker.
  2. Intro - Introduce yourself, reiterate the purpose of gathering, why you chose this recipe, and briefly go over the agenda. Before starting, ask if anyone has everything they need or if they have any questions.
  3. Cook - Go slowly with each step, starting with preparing the ingredients.  As much as possible, show visuals of the process. Speak clearly and confidently, and try not to turn your back to the camera. Try telling a joke or two! If the recipe requires any loud processes (like blending), be sure to mute yourself and instruct others to do the same.
  4. Discuss - When everyone is finished, ask the group to show their finished product to the camera. Have everyone try what they’ve made and share their successes (and/or failures). Thank your audience for their participation and close out the session.

 

Zoom Cooking Class Recipe Ideas

Which recipe you choose will depend largely on what kind of business you work in. Does your company, like Buffalo Market, place a special emphasis on food that’s good for you and good for the planet? Then you’ll want to pick something nutritious and sustainable. Whatever recipe you select, though, should require few ingredients and be relatively easy to make. You should also consider any dietary restrictions members of your team might have. Here are a few can’t-fail options we recommend trying out.

Everyone loves chips and guac! This recipe is just about 100% fool-proof and very quick to make. We’d recommend this recipe as a starter option. Just remember that avocados aren’t always easy to find in certain parts of the world!

This is another recipe that is delicious as it is uncomplicated. The only real consideration is what to eat the bruschetta with! Warm baguette? Toasted crostini? Crackers?

  • Seasonal Salad
     

    Salads are infinitely customizable, require few skills, and need no special equipment to prepare. Give your team a base recipe of some in-season produce and encourage them to put their own twist on it. 

The team at Buffalo Market had a great time making hummus! You can prepare it with as few as five ingredients, and it lends itself well to substitutions and modifications. The only issue with hummus is that food processors and blenders are noisy. Just make sure everyone knows where their mute button is! 

While the ingredients for spring rolls are easy to prepare, it can take some practice to get the rice paper rolling technique right. We’d recommend this recipe if you want something more challenging than a salad but less so than something like sushi. 

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