We were delighted to be involved in a UK first on Wednesday 20th June 2012, as along with Ocado we broadcast the first UK virtual cook-a-long through Google+ Hangouts and live streamed via YouTube. The Ocado Mealtime Masterclass involved three Michelin starred chefs, a camera crew, live webstreaming on YouTube AND Matthew Fort as host - was it a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? Read on to find out
Blog post for Great British Chefs by Mecca Ibrahim
The capacity for things to go wrong on live TV is quite high. Add some new technology to the mix, with three Michelin starred chefs, Galton Blackiston, Simon Hulstone & Josh Eggleton, demoing their showcase summer time dishes in front of thousands of people. Get some of those people to cook the dishes at home, with their kitchens also appearing in the Google+ Hangout & YouTube live stream and the capacity for things to go wrong grows somewhat.
Our day got off to a slightly unnerving start when we learnt that Matthew Fort our host was stuck on a train and unlikely to arrive in time for the live streaming with Galton Blackiston as he made Scotch Eggs. Fortunately our CEO & Founder Ollie stepped in to take Matthew’s place
Rather than being left to the comfort of my desk to Tweet, Google+ & Facebook the proceedings, I found myself at a shiny cookery workstation at the Open Kitchen with some ingredients laid out in front of me & asked to cook-a-long too. Didn’t I say that I’d never made Scotch Eggs before? My cries that I wasn’t the greatest at deep frying also fell on deaf ears.
Fortunately Galton’s calm instructions and cookery style meant that I soon forgot that my computer was live-streaming my handiwork along with other cooks on Ocado’s YouTube channel. The calm moment ended when I realised two Michelin starred chefs were standing behind me. “I think your oil’s a bit too hot now” said Simon Hulstone. “I think we might need to call in the fire brigade”, Josh added helpfully. ”Err I’m being streamed live here” I muttered and they wandered off assuming that I’d be serving burnt offerings in a few minutes.
After I took the pan off the heat, let the oil cool down which meant I was behind everyone else on the screen, the Scotch Eggs actually cooked to a perfect golden brown. The insides weren’t as runny as Galton’s but I was pleased with my first attempt.
Particularly as by now Matthew Fort had arrived and was the first to try them. I stood in front of the Great British Menu judge with baited breath. ”They’re actually jolly good”, he said, and proceeded to eat the other half!
Simon Hulstone was up next making Curried Chicken Kiev with Sag Aloo. This recipe had a lot of steps and some of the other people cooking in the kitchen asked for some help, so I was able to spend time acting as “sous chef”, chopping vegetables and stirring sauces.
Simon’s dish naturally turned out perfectly. I was also very pleased to see that some of the people cooking in their kitchens at home had created some great looking versions too.
Rosana McPhee has a tiny kitchen, so is always extremely organised with all of her herbs and spices laid out well. Her version of Simon’s dish looked scrumptious.
Finally it was time for dessert with Josh Eggleton who would be preparing a beautiful dish - Pimms Jelly with Cucumber Sorbet. Just seeing the ingredients alone and we knew we were in for a treat.
Soon the kitchen was full of fresh summery smells. Clean cucumber, fragrant mint & basil, and the distinct scent of strawberries, enhanced by a gentle poaching in a sugar syrup.
Everyone got into the spirit of this recipe (and I don’t mean drinking the Pimms and Hendricks Gin). The sun was shining and we were now all fully relaxed about being live streamed to the world on YouTube and Google+.
With the help of some Magimix ice-cream makers Josh’s fresh cucumber sorbet churned quietly in the background as he set about putting the finishing touches to his Pimms Jelly.
An extra cheffy trick was the addition of powdered orange peel which had Matthew Fort literally swooning. Those of us not cooking couldn’t wait to dive into Josh’s plate as soon as the filming had finished.
Afterwards, we were also pleased to see that our cooks at home had also produced delightful dishes of Pimms Jelly which seemed to represent summer on a plate.
The wonders of streaming the Google+ hangouts on YouTube too, means that you can now watch the videos yourself
Look out for the little screens at the bottom of the main picture where you’ll be able to see people cooking alongside the chefs in their own kitchens.
The whole experience was ultimately great fun and we’d like to thank James & Simon at Google+ and their film crew for working hard to get the technology all running smoothly. Plus a big thanks to Galton, Simon and Josh for their great masterclasses and sharing tricks of the trade in the demos. Huge thanks must also go to Matthew Fort for his eloquent & jovial hosting. To Magimix for supplying the ice cream makers and to Open Kitchen for the use of their wonderful facilities.
Last but certainly not least to Ocado for the wonderful ingredients and for all of their amazing help in publicising event. All of us at Great British Chefs had a brilliant time and we look forward to co-hosting more events like this in the future.
If you’d like to make the recipes at home you’ll find them in our Mealtime Masterclass Collection. Let us know over on our Facebook Page, if you ever tried cooking along with TV chefs or with online videos or DVDs at home. We’d love to see how your experience compares with our live cook-a-long.