Cooking under Covid-19 lockdown

Since the lockdown started in March cooking has taken on more significance for me. Planning and creating new dishes has become part of the process each day and week.

I enjoy the challenge of cooking something from the ingredients in the fridge but the planning for food required has become a weekly exercise, Deciding what to order for delivery is a highlight that we both enjoy. Initially, though the sourcing of fresh fruit and vegetables was tricky. A number of local businesses started switching from catering to box delivery schemes, which was a huge relief as the supermarkets were not geared up for the onslaught of people looking for food deliveries. Fortunately, we were able to get onto one of the supermarket’s delivery accounts and have received an order every 7-10 days!

Latterly, we have also visited our local farm shop during the week just to get good meat and fresh fish. Our first visit there was at the beginning of lockdown and it was crazy! We gave it a rest for many weeks before returning to get meat etc.

My catering work stopped abruptly on the 15 March! Everything I had booked in the diary for events and cookery courses was canceled through to July or September! Such a shock to see the diary empty out so quickly! I planned to use the time catching up with my website and social media strategy. The first priority was to look ahead and decide what I should plan for once we started to come out of lockdown.

I looked at the position of my main website and decided that I needed to make some changes.

  • Renew and revise my brand
  • Build a portfolio of recipes
  • Create and build a newsletter for the website

On the face of it sounds simple right? However, there is a huge amount of work involved and so I decided to look at redesigning my branding and that took several weeks. However, the process was worth it and the signature is what I have created.

The recipes are a different matter. I have a huge number written as part of the courses I have developed, ones I have used for many years and I know they all work. I have started the process of adding them to my main website –

The other part of the process is to make the courses available online and to that end, I am creating downloadable PDFs for each of the courses. Then came a real opportunity, which has given me the chance to pivot my business from the situation it is now becoming an online cookery school. I responded to a call for help on Facebook, which did anyone know of someone who could do an online cookery session for their team. I responded and within two weeks had the first online cookery session delivered.

The response was positive and confirmed in my mind that this was the way forward. I have had to quickly learn to use Zoom, Microsoft Team and supporting software to enable a session to happen.

The steps are relatively simple but do take a bit of time. These are the steps I developed to deliver the session:-

  • Select recipes that would suit the audience
  • Create a document that supports the process of preparing for the event
  • Recipes, tips for preparation, shopping list, equipment list
  • Do your own preparation for the session
  • Setup the kitchen for recording and delivering the session
  • Deliver the session, collect feedback and plan for the next
Chef in action – live online cookery class!

At the same time, I have written a plan for an online cookery course with the associated support in place for those who would like to do the course. This is a much bigger project than you think!

I am recording the preparation of recipes I am currently cooking and plan to do more. These will be supported by the recipes. The recording is relatively easy once you know what you are doing, the problem comes when you don’t have the correct microphone switched on! I am also learning about video editing! A new set of skills which will develop over time. On top of this, I am also having to think about how to manage the integration between my new personal website and . More work!

By now you will have gathered that this new website reflects the redesigned branding and more importantly the new direction I am taking the business in. It is going to be a fun journey, one that I am looking forward to. If you would like to join me on this journey please register for emails from me.

I am an Artisan Chef, Food Writer and Teacher, running a catering business for ten years, teaching cookery at a number of schools, demonstrating at food festivals, including my own! Now building a cookery school on the Isle of Wight offering in person day courses and online courses.