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How Instagram cooking classes are keeping people together during coronavirus

As many people all over the world are social distancing and self-quarantining, some are using technology to bring them together.

BY RSVP March 25,2020

Back before the days when we knew nothing about the COVID-19 coronavirus, chefs who embraced Instagram used the social media platform in various ways — to show off their latest projects, display some of their most stunning creations, or share images of places or things that have inspired them.

But in the age of social distancing and shelter-in-place, a number of cooks and chefs have turned to Instagram as a way of inviting diners into their kitchens. One such chef is Massimo Bottura — the Italian, three-Michelin star chef of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.

Bottura's Instagram show, called Kitchen Quarantine, is a fun, tongue-in-cheek live stream that showed fans how a Michelin chef prepares a family dinner for his wife and two children in the time of COVID-19. The recipes are easy and meant to be doable in any home kitchen and included how-tos for Thai Curry, tortellini, and an "everything Mac and Cheese," created with ingredients found in Bottura's pantry.

Chef Sean Brock posted that he’s offering personal virtual cooking classes via FaceTime — and he’s donating all of the proceeds to paying for his teams at his forthcoming restaurants, Joyland and Audrey.

On his Instagram post, Brock says he’ll chat with interested parties about what they’d like to learn, then cook it together via FaceTime. 

These two chefs aren't the only creatives who have taken to Instagram to inspire home chefs to discover the depths of their own kitchens. An Italian grandma who goes by the name of Nonna Nerina has gone online to teach viewers the traditional way of making pasta, after her original business, that of bringing tourists to a small town north of Rome in an Airbnb Experiences page was forced to shut due to COVID-19, which has slammed Italy hard.

While Instagram was once a platform for people to show off new experiences and new things, the lockdown has turned that, and other forms of social media, into a way of keeping in touch with the outside world. It has also become, at least for Nonna Nerina's granddaughter Chiara Nicolanti, a way to do something different. "I think that this moment is forcing us to stop, and we can use this time to speak and share memories and share traditions and good bites. I think it's very important in this moment when everybody is forced to stay alone to not feel solitude," she says.