Before the notorious coronavirus pandemic of 2020, I had never heard of the video conferencing and online chat service, Zoom.
But now — like you — I’m officially part of the Zoom Boom, as it’s become the essential connection for my two book clubs, a barre3 exercise class, business meetings, birthdays and anniversaries. It’s even supplanted my FaceTime chats with my granddaughters because I can include more people in the conversation if I want to.
My latest Zoom event was a cooking class with Santa Barbara chef and cookbook author Pascale Beale.
A local celebrity in her own right, Beale writes frequently for local publications like Edible Santa Barbara, and runs Pascale’s Kitchen, an online culinary store featuring her signature line of custom blended herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, as well as kitchen and tableware.
Since 2016, she’s been hosting Pascale’s Kitchen Cooking Channel on YouTube, where she showcases seasonal, Mediterranean and California-inspired dishes.
My interest in taking her class was piqued after seeing some of her delicious dishes on social media. I signed up, paid through Venmo and, voila, I was ready for Zoom Cooking Class No. 4.
The menu was tantalizing: The Taste of Spring three-course meal included an asparagus, pea and feta salad; roasted vegetable quiche; and lemon mousse.
Beale posts the menu before the class so the option for cooking along or just watching — which I did — is up to the participant. I took notes on my recipe sheets, but mostly observed her relaxed and fun techniques — just what I loved about Julia Child’s TV cooking shows when I was in college.
Although, Beale has led just four Zoom sessions so far, she told Noozhawk that the number of participants has been exciting.
“The first classes had 12-14 people, but there is room for growth,” she said, adding that a bonus for her has been the participation from around the country.
“I had five time zones and eight different states in one class last week,” she exclaimed.
Using her iPhone and alone in her home kitchen in Santa Barbara, she chatted away while cooking and cleaning up her work space, relating stories about her childhood memories of her beloved French family that inspired her love of cooking. Her grandmother was a particular role model, she said.
The entire experience was informal and fun, and the 90 minute-class flew by as she described tips for making dough, beating eggs, her love of Crème Fraiche, and where she locally sources her cheeses, herbs and vegetables. Spoiler alert: Think Trader Joe’s, our farmers markets and Mesa Produce, to name a few.
After class, Beale used the Zoom chat feature for a Q&A with the participants.
As I stretch myself beyond yoga classes to keep from going stir-crazy during this unprecedented self-isolation, Beale’s cooking class was an ideal respite from the scary world outside my house.
Besides, we all have to eat, don’t we?
Beale’s next class is April 29. Click here for more information.
— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.