Home » Got Zoom Fatigue? These Interactive Cooking Demos Offer a Cure

Got Zoom Fatigue? These Interactive Cooking Demos Offer a Cure

Illustration: Lilli Carré

Zoom fatigue is palpable—researchers at Stanford have even found it to be a condition that can be clinically diagnosed.

But it’s much less tiring when you’re using the platform to watch the duo behind Dos Hombres mezcal, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, describe the almost mystical way in which their Oaxacan distiller arrives at the liquor’s 84 proof designation. After some technical talk on heat cycles and ABV percentage, Cranston steals the famous line from his Breaking Bad co-star and yells out, “It’s science, bitches!”

An entire industry of virtual, interactive cooking sessions and wine tastings is in full bloom on Zoom, but after testing out a range of relevant services, the most rewarding examples are the ones that—surprise!—are also highly entertaining. We used to go to dinner and a show. Now dinner is the show.

One of the best I’ve seen so far is Bollywood Kitchen. Billed as live culinary theater, it’s basically a one-man play formed as a collaboration between filmmaker and cookbook author Sri Rao and the Geffen Playhouse.

What would otherwise be a straightforward 90-minute kitchen demo—an Americanized chana masala prepared alongside a Mumbai Mule cocktail—is interspersed with a half-dozen classic clips of Indian cinema that Rao picked. (I was especially enchanted by a dance sequence from the legendary actress Madhuri Dixit.) Every so often, Rao steps out of his open kitchen to share a poignant story about his life as a gay, first-generation immigrant growing up in rural Pennsylvania.

Beyond the dynamic nature of its presentation, Bollywood Kitchen is also notable for its three-tiered pricing. For $40 you can simply observe; $95 gets you a recipe box shipped to your door; and for $175 you receive all that plus a seat at the “Chef’s Table,” which includes the opportunity to ask Rao questions directly in Zoom’s chat feature. In the performance I saw, he allocated a significant amount of time to interact with the live participants. Bollywood Kitchen’s 32-show run concluded in early March, but a spokesperson for the Geffen Playhouse confirmed that additional interactive programming will be announced soon.

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Murray’s Cheese virtual lessons can teach you how to build a perfect charcuterie board.

Source: Murray’s Cheese