We can see in the book of Acts that sharing of food was a cornerstone of the early Church community. Whilst in lockdown, we decided that instead of waiting for restrictions to lift, we would cook and share a meal together online. You can take this idea, and what we have learnt, to use in your own church or group, on Zoom or – if restrictions allow – in-person!
It’s a great way to connect with existing members and new people as you create a delicious meal together! You could also create a child-friendly recipe and use it as outreach for families ministry.
We were fortunate to make use of the skills of professional chef, Jon Aslet. He shares his thoughts on the event.
‘This was such an enjoyable and engaging time, with many different members of the church-attending from across the generations. Some people cooked and some just viewed, but as entertaining as the cooking is, the main reason for this event was to gather our church community and have fun.
‘It was a welcome distraction from the craziness and stresses happening around us. I would definitely recommend that your hold your own cook-along event, and we have provided the recipe that we used in case it helps.’
Some tips from our cook-along
- It was useful to have somebody who wasn’t cooking to be ‘host’ of the event and have control of what was happening on Zoom. They could mute anybody making too much noise, ask questions of the chef to clarify what was happening, and create conversation.
- Prepping some of the ingredients beforehand gave the chef have time to talk through what they were doing and answer any questions from participants. But even the prepping can be useful in sharing techniques, and the ‘cook-along’ experience, so don’t do everything beforehand!
- Think of some things to talk about before you start the cook-along to keep conversation going, but don’t be afraid of the occasional pause when everyone is concentrating on what they are doing. You could share your reason for choosing the dish, what it means to you or its history and origin.
- Choose a recipe that is simple as everyone who is attending will have different skill levels and you don’t want the cook-along to run on for too long either – it’s about getting people together rather than giving a cookery masterclass!
What you’ll need for this event
- A budding (or willing!) chef who knows the recipe well
- A recipe – something fairly quick and simple, which also has the option to be adapted for different dietary requirements
- Zoom, or another online meeting platform
- Optional: two Zoom devices for the chef – you can use one to get a close-up and the other a wide-angle view
- Promotion of event and recipe – in advance so people have time to buy the ingredients!