You can run cook along sessions on video calls. To do this the group facilitator needs to practice talking to the group and filming what they are cooking as they go.
But you don’t have to be able to do that to run a successful online cooking group. You can also:
Provide cooking instructions in the chat
Provide cooking challenges in the chat and have people share videos or images of their work
Run video calls talking about how it went
Run video calls where people talk about food and cooking in general or play games related to cooking
Don’t forget the main requirement of the facilitator is not about teaching cooking. They need firstly to:
Provide structure, energy and facilitate co-production
Hold the group accountable to things they co-create
Provide emotional support
Make sure people have the resources they need.
Image: Jessie, a young person in the lab team preparing a warm up cooking quiz.
Barnado’s project focused on weekly challenges. This meant young people could choose the best time for them to cook.
They made the challenges flexible, to encourage people to take part using simple ingredients they already had. This also removed lots of worries about dietary requirements
Here are some examples:
Cook a meal with peppers in it (they checked the allergies list - no-one was allergic)
cook a meal with the colour yellow in it
cook the fastest dinner possible
Share a drink you’ve made
Workers took part in the challenges too, to create a more equal power dynamic.
The Design Lab also ran an Instagram account. They invited young people to tag them in their pictures of the challenge or inbox them their pictures. Then they shared pictures of the challenges publicly. This gave the team control so they could avoid sharing anything unsafe.
As the project went on, more people started taking part in the challenge on Instagram. This included friends of the young people and workers from other Barnardo’s services.
When they ran group video calls, the youth leaders focused on things that encouraged conversation - food bingo, quizes or just sharing a cup of tea. They kept things light-hearted.