With a good chunk of the world’s population currently in quarantine, most of us are cooking at home a lot more nowadays.
Along with all this home cooking has come a massive spike in demand for information for culinary how-to, ranging from recipe suggestions to tutorials on how to do everything from making rice to baking bread. While many are simply searching Google for recipes, others are settling in to learn cooking skills to help them learn to get food on the table.
This sudden hunger for cooking-related guidance has led some tech-forward cooking startups to ramp up the content as they look to both satiate newfound interest in cooking skills while also giving quarantine bound consumers something to do with their time.
Here are a few ways in which kitchen tech startups have ramped up their efforts to serve homebound consumers:
While the Hestan Cue already walks users through recipes with step by step instructions, the guided cooking startup has launched Hestan Cue Cooking School, a series of virtual classes to help users of the connected cooking platform build up on their cooking skills during quarantine.
Built with the virtual class platform Teachable, the initial classes cover techniques for cooking beef, eggs and vegetables. The cool thing is that while the classes suggest you use your Cue for certain steps, you can use the classes even if you don’t have the Hestan device.
According to Hestan Smart Cooking managing director John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen, about one third of the Hestan Cue users have signed up for courses.
Sous vide specialist Anova has always been active in creating cooking content for their user community, and over the past month they’ve gone quarantine cooking focused by creating content to help consumers with everything from making pantry staples to batch cooking. And for the parents with bored kids, Anova suggests enlisting them to help with the brisket.
Thermomix is known for its in-person sales model for the high-end multicooker, but in the age of COVID-19 they’ve gone virtual with a “quarantine kitchen” series of cooking demos and are also allowing potential customers to book online cooking demos with the TM6 sales team.
You can see one of their latest episodes of their quarantine kitchen series below:
SideChef is also ramping up its quarantine specific content. In early March they created a quarantine cooking recipe collection. A month later, and with virtual happy hours firmly planted in the stay-at-home zeitgeist, they’ve created a guide for virtual dinner parties.
The massively popular pressure cooker is famous for leaning on its Facebook community to create content for them. Still, the company seems to have recognized our new shared reality and is letting people know that Instant Pots can help you cook bread while you’re cooped up during quarantine.
Food Network Kitchen
While the Food Network Kitchen app doesn’t seem to have created any tailored content for quarantine bound consumers, they have seen a big jump in usage and consumers look for more ways to cook. Company spokesperson Irika Slavin told me via email that Foodnetwork.com has seen “double digit increases” in page views and the Food Network App, the guided cooking premium offering launched in October, has seen what Slavin describes as a “triple digit increase” in visitors.
ckbk is a ‘Spotify for cookbooks’ app that puts pretty much any cookbook or recipe just a click away.
Since ckbk only offers access to existing cookbooks, the company isn’t creating any quarantine specific content, but they do have a good idea of what people are cooking. Company founder Matthew Cockerill told me he’s noticed most of his subscribers, and the world in general, seem to be moving in sync over the past month through what he calls the ‘seven stages of cooking grief.’
“So first of all it was about the prepping – stockpiling durable good – beans and pasta,” said Cockerill. “Then came the “staff of life” basics bread and baking. And after that, I think, there’s a need for some comfort, yes, but also some relief from the monotony. Which is where I think chocolate and dessert cravings are kicking in. It’s either that or alcohol. And in many cases both!”
“Lastly,” he continued, “we’ve also seen a trend of interest in ways to use the new found time which people see stretching out ahead of them, with longer-term projects” like baking bread.
Cockerill told me that new subscriptions are up 250% over pre-COVID times. If you want to cook your way through grief, the company is giving away 30 days free access to their app to help you cook through your pantry items.