Many of us started off this quarantine strong, mistaking ourselves for the master of our domains—particularly the kitchen.
We brought our Instant Pots brought down from the high shelf, where they usually sit begging to make yogurt or whatever. Some of us might have paid for the New York Times’ cooking app. Knives of all shapes and sizes were held at the ready.
But now, over a month since restaurants closed their dining rooms, many among us have discovered the only dish we’ve mastered cooking at home is… rice and beans. Please, don’t let that stop you from genuflecting as deeply as those couch atrophied muscles will allow, though.
This is where professional help is needed—and not the written kind. Good cooks understand why a pan needs to be X big to cook its ingredients, can see what can withstand pushing and pulling in a recipe, and know that an onion will never caramelize in 10 minutes.
But for the rest of everyone just fumbling through a night of meal prep? Please, jah, show us the way!
These five Twin Cities food industry professionals anticipated those cries, and have answered the call. From their kitchens to yours, follow their lead through even the darkest food-inspired crises… with guidance, inspiration, and fun to spare.
Karyn Tomlinson hosts "Karyn’s Quarantine Kitchen"
To introduce her latest video series installment, in which Tomlinson pokes viewers about getting into their freezer’s scarier bits by way of wonders like “Salmon in Fish Sauce Caramel," the Grand Cochon winner and closing chef at Corner Table writes, “I'm guessing we are all reaching to the backs of our freezers now, and some of us may have fish tucked away back there that we have been avoiding.” She gets it, so we trust her.
Erin Ungerman’s Daily Wine Pairings
As the VP and director of sales and marketing for the fine wine wholesaler and importer New France, Ungerman offers daily wine recommendations via Instagram. Often, she times these recommendations to pair with the meals prepared by local chefs in their videos, for a conversational, collaborative feel. When Tomlinson prepared that Salmon in Fish Sauce Caramel (above), Ungerman broke down why Pike Road’s Pinot Noir ($18-$21) made its perfect complement.
"Duck with Chef Klein" on Youtube
Chef Russel Klein of Meritage has created a Youtube channel devoted to teaching viewers how to handle duck—specifically Au Bon Canard duck hailing locally from Caledonia, Minnesota. Since most folks have never had culinary training and wouldn't know what to do with these quackers if handed one, Klein's step-by-step primer with segments spent on rendering duck fat and titles like "Why Confit?" are a treat for anyone looking to step up their kitchen game.
Sameh Wadi's "Social Deliciousness"
Sure, the chef and co-owner of World Street Kitchen, Milkjam Creamery, and Grand Catch is known for bringing bangin' flavors to the table. But if this quarantine has shown us anything, it is that Wadi deserves his own TV show—not just another guest spot on Top Chef Middle East. Cooking looks not only achievable but downright joyous when he's behind the burners.
From his home kitchen, chef David Fhima enlists the help of loved ones to give tutorials on everything from homemade pizza to tart tatin, sweet crepes, spinach penne, and most recently "this is all I have in my pantry" niçoise. In short, his version of cheffing blends elegance with pantry raiding in a way that still comes off as elegant in the end.
Mo McNichols’s “Global Mimosa” channel
McNichols had been the bar manager at Tiny Diner before he was laid off from the Bartmann Group's restaurant. Rolling with the punches, McNichols decided to get creative with his skill set by starting a Youtube channel full of “Mo Drinks!” and “Mo Cooks!” videos. “I'm trying to stay busy," he says. "I think coming out of this, I want to try to raise money to open my own food truck. The shows are sort of an experiment… and people have been responding to that for sure.” He's got segments dedicated to everything from cooking gumbo to making caipirinhas.