Do you dream of making homemade pasta in Italy, mastering French patisserie or discovering your personal wine profile with a sommelier? All of these experiences seem impossible with the pandemic forcing us into our homes and eliminating all human interactions.
Wanderlust has gone virtual, with video tours of foreign cities, Instagram Live cooking demonstrations and webcams stationed in zoos and gardens. For Inbal Baum, the pandemic halted her ten-year-old wanderlust tour company for the hungry, Delicious Israel. Seeing the influx of virtual experiences in her food and travel community, she felt an important aspect was missing: human interaction.
After two-and-a-half months of no tours, Baum, who grew up in Maryland, was forced to rethink her operations. Leveraging her well-established culinary network, she created Delicious Experiences, an online platform where guests can take a private class with the world’s top chefs and culinary experts. With everyone in the hospitality industry, her included, needing to shift their plans, she found a way to continue feeding the fundamental human yearning for connection through food.
“Delicious Experiences was born out of the hole where you have lots of things you can watch, but not experience,” she explains. “There wasn’t any back-and-forth human interaction, and a lot of industry people were now open to online experiences who wouldn’t have considered it before.”
So what does a Delicious Experience look like? It could be a one-on-one burger-making class with James Beard Award winner Chef Nate Appleman. Or you could prep for Shabbat with Jake Cohen, having him watch over your shoulder as you unveil the perfect tahdig. You can even prepare gourmet baby food with Chef Nir Mesika, a USA Today “Best New Restaurant” winner whose new baby changed up his cooking routine.
Each of these experiences is unique to the person, since they are given one-on-one time with the experts in their own homes. The live, hands-on and fully immersive online experiences connect you with the chef as you roll up your sleeves and get cooking. Don’t have the appliance they mention? No problem—just show the chef your kitchen drawers, and together you can find the perfect substitution. Don’t know if your sauce is thick enough? Hold the phone over to let the chef take a peek into the saucepan.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment you get when you make a recipe or flip a tadhig with Jake Cohen,” says Baum. “The unexpected benefit that came out of these experiences was knowing your own kitchen with a professional there who can help you navigate it. We’re building kitchen confidence in a fun way.”
Even when her tours with Delicious Israel pick up again, Baum believes there will still be demand for connections in a virtual format through Delicious Experiences. Take for example Baum’s own desire for Peruvian cuisine. Tel Aviv lacks a Peruvian food scene, and she isn’t planning on traveling to Peru anytime soon, regardless of COVID-19. But with Delicious Experiences she can now spend an evening in her own home cooking alongside a Peruvian chef and deepening her understanding of the culture well beyond a recipe.
Delicious Experiences recently launched with booking now available. Class range in length and price, from $175 for a 1-hour wine tasting to a $410 for a pasta-making class. There’s a wide range of options, with more being added each week. You can purchase a class for yourself or give a gift to someone you miss sharing a meal with right now. Lend a helping hand to the hospitality industry, and get a hand in the kitchen in return.