“Successful food bloggers can be found on Zoom,” said no one ever. That is… until 2020 hit.
Cooking is done in the kitchen, work is done in the office, and school is done, well, in school.
What happens when normal comes to a screeching halt?
“It’ll only be a two-week lockdown to flatten the curve.” Two weeks came and went, and the curve turned into Everest. Everyone had to take a step back, re-evaluate, and see how they could move forward. Remote work and homeschool became the norm – all made possible by Zoom.
For food bloggers, it wasn’t as simple. After all, how do you transition from kitchen to tablet? How can you do interactive cooking demos on Zoom?
Naomi Nachman (@naominachman) was on a book tour for her cookbook Perfect Flavors, which was cut short. Naomi Elberg (@naomi_tgis) was en route to New York and drove back to Detroit sans the much-needed rest area stops. Esty Wolbe (@cookingwithtantrums) was home with her wonderful family, filling in as a teacher, principal, cook, and custodian.
All demos, Chopped challenges, and other events were canceled. When this is your line of work, how do you make it work?
In classic Naomi N. fashion, she wasted no time. She turned her basement into a Zoom space. With her daughter’s help, she created some fliers and hung them around the neighborhood. Word got around, and pretty soon she was booked. With an iPod and tripod, she was able to do live events, virtually.
For Esty W. it wasn’t as simple. With all her children home learning on Zoom, it didn’t leave her the option to work via Zoom. There was so much panic around the virus back in March and April, and there was so much going on, that in order to give it her best she chose to wait it out. She got started doing virtual events in the fall.
After Naomi E. made it back to Detroit in record time (remember, no rest areas were open) she did a Zoom session for her children’s school on Passover. She did Zoom demos for chizuk events that are close to her heart. She never anticipated doing paid demos until she was approached by Shulamis High School in Brooklyn. That was her first paid demo, and the positive feedback gave her the drive to move forward. The requests started coming in, and she was happy to accept.
One of the best parts of doing virtual demos is the ability to connect with a wide audience. It has opened up opportunities for people who couldn’t afford in-person demos, and more than that, it has brought families together. Naomi N. did a Zoom cooking demo for a family with 14 children spread across the world. It’s incredible to be able to bring families together in a way they have never been able to do before.
Demos with Naomi E., an expert baker, were in demand before Shavuot. She said, “The creativity from people started shining through.” She was amazed at how communities prepared ingredient packages for their members with so much creativity. It really brought people together while keeping a distance.
As wonderful as Zoom is, it’s hard running a monologue without feeling the audience’s energy. Esty feels that the stamina to talk to yourself for an hour is tough. She also has to be conscious to present recipes that can be created and completed in real-time. Naomi E. hires a moderator for larger sessions to help her audience follow along. Naomi N. has loads of adrenaline when her classes are over and all she gets to do is press the end meeting button.
What is so beautiful about Zoom cooking demos is that whoever joins wants to be there, while an in-person event can become a social outing and there is lots of disruptive noise from the crowd. Naomi E. especially loves when her mother, who lives in Canada, signs on to her events. She gets to see her despite not being able to visit. Last month she did a grandparent and grandchild session that was so memorable.
Naomi N. has made so many new friends from all across the world since she started doing virtual cooking demos. For Esty, the best part is creating fun recipes that her picky children won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
Zoom hasn’t only helped creative food personalities to make lemonade out of a pretty sour situation. Thanks to the app, and others like it, individuals in all kinds of professions have been able to work remotely. Although some professionals I reached out to are eager for things to go back to normal, the majority benefitted so much from using Zoom to enable them to work from home. It’s fair to say that even when life returns to normal, Zoom is here to stay.
What really connects us all is realizing we are all doing our best, to be our best, so we can give our loved ones the best we have to offer.
Goldy is a copywriter who helps businesses reach more clients with strategy and writing web content. Check her out on Linkedin to see how you can gain from her services.