Indeed, even without lockdown restrictions, the idea of extending your reach far beyond your location and sharing your skills with cooking-savvy amateurs and colleagues across the country is an appealing idea. However, hard work is the first step before achieving these ambitious goals. After all, potential customers are fed up with provisional solutions and improvisation. If you want to shine with online cooking courses, everything has to be perfect – nothing less will do.
If that sounds laborious, that’s because it is. Since it involves top quality image and sound, a professional studio and stage-ready performance, it would be very difficult to manage such a project all on your own. The good news? You don’t have to! Various platforms are available with solid presentation tools to make valuable gastro expertise accessible to a wide – and paying! – audience.
Professional platforms help market online cooking courses
As an initial search reveals, the web is simply overflowing with cooking videos of all kinds. How can professional chefs or ambitious amateurs find the right platform to help them realize their virtual workshop plans?
One tip: it’s always a good idea to follow the stars. For example Ludwig “Lucki” Maurer. That’s right, the multi-award-winning “meat pope” is not only one of Germany’s best-known restaurateurs, he is also a Wagyu breeder and probably has the most extensive meat expertise imaginable. On his homepage you can discover the expert’s wide-ranging activities, which include being in demand as a book author and TV chef. Maurer provides a link to a video course right on the front page. “The Art of Barbecue”. For four hours, the likeable Lower Bavarian with the casual rocker attitude introduces barbecue fans to the secrets of the BBQ art. In a total of 27 episodes, he demonstrates classic recipes and his own creations – and you get a recipe book to boot!
Convey knowledge and find new guests
Maurer opted for the Meisterklasse (Master Class) platform, which is available in German and English. His course was the second to be offered after the platform was launched. “So we’ve kind of been there since the beginning,” says Maurer, who said the course helped him get through the days of corona. “There was simply no other way to take a cooking course or workshop,” says the pro. “The trend to barbecue at home skyrocketed during the corona era. A lot of people bought completely new equipment, like barbecue grills, etc.”
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Maurer also appreciates the cooperation after the lockdowns. “A lot of knowledge can be imparted as quickly as possible via Meisterklasse and accessed flexibly on the home computer, tablet, etc. – even directly in the backyard in front of the grill.” Last but not least, Maurer has identified a positive side effect. “Because we can reach barbecue and BBQ enthusiasts and fans further away, new guests and colleagues may also find their way to us in Schergengrub to take part in one of our courses or events on site.” The modest chef does not mention that these are fully booked for months – a star without any star affectations! And by no means the only one on Meisterklasse.
“Our platform stands out because of the high caliber of our master craftsmen,” stresses Michael Krasemann, Managing Director of Meisterklasse. Even three-star chef Harald Wohlfahrt is there, and has been right from the start. His popular introductory course to contemporary French cuisine is about to get a sequel.
Cooking videos from the pros for professional and amateur cooks
Krasemann also emphasizes the high quality of the videos. “We seek out an individual shooting location for each course and produce the individual episodes in cinema quality.” He adds, “Our courses are also thematic and structured in such a way that they can be used as teaching material by both beginners and trained chefs. We have received feedback from some professional chefs who use our platform as a source of inspiration for their own kitchen or as instructional videos for trainees or their kitchen team. Many of our masters definitely reveal secrets, tricks and tips in their courses that they haven’t revealed elsewhere, and that’s what makes them so special in the end.”
Star chefs in front of the camera
At Meisterklasse, you can also look over the shoulder of Heiko Antoniewicz, award-winning chef, book author, trainer, consultant and driving force in gastronomy. “Flavors and Food Pairing” is the name of his workshop, in which he explores new dimensions of enjoyment by creating surprising combinations.
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During the coronavirus period, Antoniewicz began to explore the possibilities for online workshops as a replacement for the usual face-to-face events – and found what he was looking for. “The Meisterklasse makers approached me with their concept,” says the expert with TV experience (Kitchen Impossible, etc.). The time-consuming work on the videos was certainly a challenge for him. “Something new always costs more time and money than something that is already routine,” he says. But the process was also a lot of fun.
“Every shoot has its bloopers and mishaps, which always has the team laughing,” he says with a mischievous smile.
Cooking platforms: from Austria to the world
If you are a pro looking for German-language cooking platforms with stature, you will also find what you are looking for in Austria. 7hauben is one of the most important, which again is evident from the big names of the course instructors, or creators, who are involved. Johann Lafer, Haya Molcho, Ali Güngörmüş, all of them can be found at 7hauben, which claims to be the largest online cooking school in Europe. “More than 50,000 paid users,” says Johannes Sailer, founder and CEO of the platform. It is primarily aimed at ambitious amateur chefs and currently has around 50 workshops for beginners and advanced users in the program. For the coming season, other greats such as Bobby Bräuer, Tristan Brandt and many others are already in the starting blocks. New applications are welcome. “We are always looking for the best chefs,” says Sailer.
The online cooking courses cover the entire spectrum between basic cooking techniques and Tel Aviv street food. The videos are professionally produced and a lot of time and effort is put into them. “Several weeks before the shoot, a concept is developed together with the chef. Then we shoot between two and five full days for a course, and after that, we have three to four people working roughly around a month on post-production,” says Sailer. The hard work and dedication is worth it in the end. “The feedback has been great across the board,” says the CEO.
Gronda – Online cooking courses and recipes from and for pros
There is also another professional cooking platform called Gronda. Its approach is very broad, both in terms of purpose, catchment area and user numbers. “With nearly two million users, Gronda is the largest social community for professional chefs and culinary enthusiasts worldwide. Chefs can share their recipes with each other, network and find jobs,” says Gronda founder Valentin Schütz. “We allow a chosen group of these chefs to make money with their recipes through our creator program. These “creators” are top chefs from 27 different countries who earn up to 5,000 euros per month with their recipes.”
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The hotelier’s son originally founded the platform as a gastro job portal to support his parents with the difficult search for employeesto work in their kitchen. Gronda was booming. But then came corona and nobody was interested in a jobs portal anymore. In its stead, Schütz created an opportunity for his still-active community of chefs to market their skills outside of the restaurant business through recipes, online cooking classes and workshops.
“There are almost 1,000 recipes from Michelin-starred chefs on Gronda, which they also cook in their restaurants. This is truly inspiring and helps every chef to grow. What’s more, the masterclasses cover the latest trends and the most difficult techniques. Everyone can learn something new there,” explains Valentin Schütz – a successful concept that helps the platform to constantly rise to new heights. “In 2022 alone, we tripled our membership. 50% of users come from Europe, 40% from North America and 10% from the rest of the world. The USA in particular is our strongest growth market,” says Valentin Schütz.
Gronda works as an app. The basic version is free. Anyone who wants to take advantage of the entire offer subscribes to Gronda PRO. And it’s worth it because Gronda regularly attracts the greats from the culinary community as creators. Jan Hartwig, Ana Roš, the chefs from the world-famous Disfrutar or star barista Agnieszka Rojewska, they are all currently featured on Gronda with masterclasses, to name just a few examples. For those interested, the application page is currently open.