Cabin fever doesn't discriminate. As most of us get used to this brave new world of staying inside, managing bored kids/needy pets and trying to make gluten-free pasta taste nice, turns out celebs and food stars are doing just the same. Some of our favourite chefs, celebrities and food bloggers have started to get creative in the kitchen, not only documenting their cooking adventures via Instagram Stories, but also creating regular cooking demos, masterclasses and #AskMeAnything how-tos. Here are the ones to watch before you slowly go crazy.
Massimo Bottura's family dinners
The Michelin-starred chef has been stuck in home quarantine for more than four weeks, so his daughter Alexa, as any millennial would in this content-driven world, started filming live Instagram Stories of Bottura cooking dinner for his family every day. The nightly #KitchenQuarantine series teaches viewers some of the Osteria Francescana chef's favourite home dishes, from a Thai curry to tortellini, with questions and tastings from his wife, Lara, and son, Charlie. The live videos stream at 6am Australian-time, but Bottura posts prep tips and cooking techniques on his IGTV, from how to nail a bechamel sauce (his pro tip: be sure to cook out the flour gently and add the milk bit by bit) to how to prepare a freeze-ahead chicken broth bag from leftovers to Q&A sessions from viewers.
Antoni Porowski's Quar Eye
The foodie of the Queer Eye quintet is known for giving guidance to hopeless cooks on his Netflix show. But now he's going rogue, casting the net across his 4 million Instagram fans. Like all of us, Porowski is struggling to find the ingredients he wants at the supermarket, so in these 10-minute IGTV videos he teaches viewers how to cook with the limited stock available, in what he calls, Quar Eye. From using peanut butter and coconut milk as a sauce on pan-fried chicken to anything-you-can-find pizza toppings on, let's face it, questionable pre-made crusts. Look, we're not saying these dishes are going to be treasured forever in your recipe tin when we come out the other side of this damn pandemic, but you gotta applaud his waste-free, make-use-of-everything attitude. Bonus for those who can make it over the halfway mark: you'll get to see 'Happy Hour' in which his partner, Kevin Harrington, reads happy news from around the US with a glass of wine, and occasional interruptions from their dog, Neon.
Jamie Oliver's has an answer for everything
In what was possibly the fastest pivot ever in television history, British cook Jamie Oliver has his own fully produced quarantine cooking show broadcasting on Britain's Channel 4, making pasta from scratch, freezable sauce and egg-free cakes – conveniently all the things we need to know right now. But not one to be left out of the cooking conversation, Oliver has just announced that he will be streaming daily live videos on Facebook at 4pm London. That's 2am for us, but they'll live forever on his Facebook page. Isn't the internet great?
Florence Pugh is a garlic fiend
Little Women star Florence Pugh is no stranger to showing off her skills on Instagram, but these days of confinement have led her to also share her kitchen prowess as she tries to overcome "feeling glum". The British actress starts with a mish-mash ratatouille, and just filmed a montage of her cooking the ultimate comfort dish at home, butternut soup. But this is no ordinary butternut soup – the 24-year-old tops her bowls with a crispy fried potato and chorizo mix. And, look, I was sceptical when she first started – that was a lot of potato sweating in the pan, Pugh – but the end product looked pretty good, and a great way to bulk up soup for dinner. And if garlic is the immunity booster everyone says it is, Pugh is sure to be protected from this virus, adding an entire bulb to this recipe. Extra points for pronouncing chorizo with Spanish flair.
Sourdough masterclasses from the greats
Is now the time to learn how to make a sourdough starter? If Instagram is anything to model our lives on (PSA: it's not), then, yes, it apparently is! Just keep in mind one thing, though: a sourdough starter is as temperamental as a kid with cabin fever. You need to check in on your jar regularly, feeding it every 12-24 hours depending on how it's looking. Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber has created a highlight on his @TheBoyWhoBakes profile making a jar from scratch – using equal parts flour and water – and shows how his starter (named Quaran-Tina) changes and grows as the days go on. The internet's favourite cooking star Claire Saffitz also has a recent Instagram highlight showing the sourdough process, while Sydney-based food blogger Sneh Roy shows us her recipe on her Instagram profile, @cookrepublic.
@JuliaOstro's wholesome cooking content
Melbourne-based cookbook author Julia Busuttil Nishimura has an Instagram feed of dreams. Golden blackberry apple cakes sit alongside juicy garlic-roasted tomatoes for soup and adorable pics of her family. In her latest stories, Nishimura's husband, Nori, films her making potato gnocchi from scratch (pro tip: use waxy potatoes and only boil gently so the gnocchi doesn't break). Her latest video, in which she makes pastry for an apple galette, is my new ASMR. Real question though: who is her flour dealer?
Ferment your tears into kefir with Sharon Flynn
Founder of online picklery The Fermentary and author of cookbook Ferment For Good, Sharon Flynn is planning a regular IGTV series in which she ferments her isolation days away in her Melbourne kitchen. In her first episode, she eventually makes milk kefir, showing how to preserve extra grains (on paper towel in the freezer) and what to do with leftover whey (ricotta, whey sodas, feed to plants). Flynn recommends freezing her milk kefir into ice cubes to add to smoothies, and having a glass before bed (kefir has tryptophan which calms your nerves). Though the kefir episode was live, Flynn has promised future videos will be available on IGTV to watch.
Jennifer Garner's #PretendCookingshow
I want Jennifer Garner to be my mum. I've long been a fan of the Hollywood actress' down-to-earth, fillmed-at-home #PretendCookingShow on her IGTV channel, but her comedic, totally relatable attempts at following recipes are exactly what we all need in these depressing times. Whether it's watching her gently whisper "do your best" to her pretzel dough, doing complicated math to work out cooking times but then overcooking the chicken anyway, or talking to her dog birdie in her PJs, I guarantee a Jennifer Garner break in your WFH schedule will lift you up no matter how isolated you are feeling.
Ask These Pros Anything
Bow down to the queens of cooking; Her Royal Highness Alison Roman and Her Majesty Donna Hay are on the line to answer any questions home cooks have as they are stuck at home. On Roman's Q&A, the cookbook author and New York Times and Good Food Magazine columnist injects her trademark sass into readers' questions: articulating why quinoa sucks; suggesting expiry dates should most often be ignored; and what to do with overripe berries (spoiler: jam or smoothies). Hay, meanwhile, gives advice on recipes to keep kids entertained at home; her favourite immunity greens to cook with; and plenty of baking tips.