Learn from Allrecipes with New Video Classes
Allrecipes.com has launched a video based Cooking School and we were lucky enough to get a peek at their Baking Basics video, which includes lessons for both pie crust and quick breads. We sat down to a chat with Sonja Groset who was the project lead for the cooking school. Don’t miss the discount offer at the end of the article.
Dédé Wilson: Sonja, thank you so much for speaking with me about this new Allrecipes feature. I suppose the last big, new launch was the print magazine…was this the logical next step?
Sonja Groset: Yes, exactly. Allrecipes is 17 years old and over these many years of feedback from our over 11 million home cooks we have heard what they want. Many of them can follow a recipe and get dinner on the table but they lack basic cooking skills…we see this across the board but with younger people, they want to eat at home and eat healthier and they don’t know where to start. They want knife skills for instance. There are things we take for granted like roasting a chicken or making a great spaghetti sauce and they want to learn!
Your user base is so broad; whom are the lessons geared towards?
What we have found through surveys is that it is across generations…there are people of all ages who lack the fundamentals. There are the younger generations as I mentioned, there are empty-nesters who now have time to refine their baking skills or families with kids who find that they use an abundance of convenience products and now they want to make pie crust from scratch…and then there are people who just want to advance their cooking or baking skills.
So it is mostly geared towards basic skills?
We launched with 13 fundamental courses…we do have plans to add advanced skills and specific cuisines down the line…but you know the basics are needed. Our intent is to help them build knowledge and then have the confidence to move forward. Once you master the basics then you have the confidence to try other dishes. These initial classes are ones that you can build upon.
How did you decide on the production values…the look and flow?
We have thousands of videos on Allrecipes.com and people can really find anything that they want. With the Cooking School we wanted to offer a more curated experience. Just like a cookbook where you can dive into a recipe and return to it, log back in, whether it is from your desktop or your tablet in the kitchen, and refer back.
We used Pathwright out of South Carolina for the production. They are experts at on-line learning…they are great at helping people down the path to learning…watching a 3-minute video is great but how do you reinforce what you have just seen? With our Cooking School we have a quiz element that reinforces what you just learned. It isn’t hard, it just helps solidify the information for you. It’s not like homework; it is built in as part of the process…then there are snippets of the videos broken down into several steps so that you can take your tablet into the kitchen and work on parts of the recipe at a time. The videos are designed to teach, not just demonstrate. In our short videos we sometimes assume you know how to chop an onion, but for some home cooks this can be a barrier…then they ask, why didn’t the recipe turn out? We have people write us and tell us that while they cook on a daily basis that they didn’t know how to make sunny side-up eggs!
We even have a video on how to read a recipe.
Really? That’s great…we are constantly telling beginner bakers on Bakepedia that reading the recipe through and thoroughly is key…
It’s in the Ready, Set, Cook course, which also has knife skills and lessons on measuring accurately, food safety, what mise en place is…
What’s coming down the line that addresses baking and desserts?
We are really hoping that the people currently enrolled will help us decide and tell us what they would like to see. Personally I think yeasted bread would be great…artisan pizza…people need a lot more guidance with baking…it’s a barrier for people…it would be nice to get into gluten-free baking as well. Cooking can be so straightforward but baking is more particular and when you get into gluten-free and all the specialty flours it is even more complex. But yes, those are on the wish list.
What has the feedback been?
Very positive. Some are experienced cooks and they write to tell us that they never thought of adding water to eggs and now their scrambled eggs are lighter and fluffier than ever.
Are most of the currently enrolled students from the community already?
A little of both…we find people who want to cook more and with more confidence. You know for so many cooking is a daily chore – they have to feed their family – and when you aren’t comfortable in the kitchen it can feel hard. We want to help people have more enjoyment in the kitchen and that happens with knowledge and confidence. We don’t want cooking to be the big challenge in your day…and we have a big social feature to the classes. You can chat with others, see what they are making…it makes it a connected, interactive experience.
Sonja, thank you so much for introducing the new Allrecipes Cooking School to us.
Allrecipes has been gracious enough to offer all of you a 20% discount if you sign up before through 2/28. Once you have purchased the course, you have access to it forever! Select Buy the Complete Fundamentals Package” and use Promo Code BAKEPED20