Virtual cooking class in Alberta attracts 1,000 participants

The virtual cooking class provides kids with a fun activity to do during their extended school break while teaching them valuable skills.

Julie Van Rosendal is a food writer and home chef. With school out all week in Alberta and freezing conditions blanketing the province, I decided to help parents keep their kids entertained. She set up her camera and set up a cooking camp on Zoom and tweeted the link.

“I know what it means to have to keep a young child occupied when it’s winter and they’re under 30, but I can’t imagine having to do that when it’s an epidemic, so I’ve been doing virtual cooking lessons,” Van Rosendal said. “The response was incredible.”

That response was an entire class that capped Zoom at 1,000. There were kids who signed in from all over Canada, as well as from the United States, Australia, and Finland.

“With 1000 it’s a bit messy but it works,” van Rosendal chuckled.

She says she chose Zoom over other streaming platforms because she wanted the experience to be interactive for children.

“I love being able to see the kids in their kitchens if their cameras are on and then they can see me their pancakes or say, ‘My dough looks like this, do I need more water?'” “This kind of thing.”

“Cooking is something that brings everyone together,” Krista Li said.

Lee’s daughters, Anna and Iris, are participating in Van Rosendael’s lessons this week. She told me she discovered Zoom lessons on Twitter, and knew it was the perfect way for her daughters to spend the week.

“This is a great opportunity to give them some experience in the kitchen, and a pretty huge prop for Julie to put herself out there in the spirit of generosity.”

“It’s very hard to find things to do,” Anna said, “so when she said, ‘We’re going to cook camp,’ Iris and I were on the moon, and we love cooking.”

“I was really glad we got something to do and we weren’t going to sit at home and do nothing,” Iris said.

Classes give children a sense of community that has been missing with school and extracurricular activities being virtual during the pandemic, he told me.

“Not only is it cold, COVID has reached a point where we don’t feel comfortable going out and doing things indoors anymore,” he told me. “So it’s hard to find not only something to do, but it’s hard to feel part of a group.”

Lee says her girls are excited about Thursday’s class where they will learn to make jiaozi (Chinese dumplings), before the Lunar New Year.

“They’re really happy to see a little bit of their culture reflected in that too,” he told me.

Van Rosendaal classes run twice daily for the rest of the week. She said she may extend lessons to next week, starting with a full-day croissant camp on Saturday.

“I think everyone is used to taking it and taking it day after day and week after week.”

Rosendaal records each chapter and posts the full video and recipe on her website after it’s over.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jessica Robb.

Leave a Comment