Our good friend and collaborative partner, Chef Liz Philpot has become more than just a Chef. She is now an online cooking guru. As the owner of Eat Seattle Tours and Classes, Chef Liz transitioned her business from food tours, cooking classes, and private dinners highlighting Pacific NW ingredients, to creating engaging online cooking classes for food lovers in Seattle. 

Chef Liz is a classically trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has spent the last 15 years perfecting her craft. However, she never thought she’d have to become an expert in teaching online cooking classes. With practice, she has now perfected how to actively connect her audiences and create a virtual experience that Seattle residents love. 

How? 

We asked Chef Liz to share her top three hacks for event hosts and business owners looking to level-up their virtual content. 

1) Connection: Whether you’re conducting an online cooking class or teaching an online workout, connecting with your audience is key and it isn’t always natural. If your audience was looking to just cook a new dish or learn a new abs series they would watch a YouTube video. However, they are there to engage and that is what we encourage at Eat Seattle. I like to kick off our classes with an ice breaker question to learn about each person. I’ll actually take notes on each person and make references using the information I have throughout the class. For example: “Hey John, since you love fried chicken this tip is for you!” The ice breaker is also a great time to assess each person’s audio quality and address any feedback loops. 

Pro Tip: Other ways to increase engagement for larger groups are to use the breakout room feature in Zoom, where people are broken out into smaller virtual rooms. The host can assign them a task or a topic for discussion which allows the small group of people to connect within the larger group. 

2) Be Organized: Arriving to class on time and well prepared is key to flawless execution. I learned early on that some dishes won’t work if I can’t be there to assess and help. I now choose a lesson plan that will guarantee many teachable moments but can be reasonably executed with variables that are outside of my control. For both our in-person and online classes, the majority of the work is in the planning. By being organized I can give more attention to participants during the class because potential distractions or deterrents have been eliminated.

3) Quality Audio and Visual: Unfortunately, I’ve signed up for being more than a chef. Having quality AV is a must! It reassures your guests that you are a professional and going to deliver an incredible experience. I set my phone up on a tripod over the stove and have my computer on me at my cutting board. If you don’t want to take the bootstrapping approach then outsource it to an AV company like Live Oak. This allows you to focus on what you do best and will ensure your guests have a better overall experience.

To learn more about Chef Liz and Eat Seattle, check out their website at eatseattletours.com. Better yet, have Chef Liz at your next virtual event to teach your guests how to prepare a delicious dish.