You may be thinking of watching Super Bowl Sunday but I’m thinking of brewing “souper” bowls of pho. Ha(!), pun intended. It’s the season for restorative, warming soups, as well as the time for Lunar New Year reboots. It’s a period for fresh starts and explorations of new ideas. Given that, launching the new Vietnamese classics online class this week was timely. Craftsy pushed the “go” button late Tuesday night. Here’s an overview and look at the cooking class.
I come from an educational background, having spent too much time at universities and working with people in education; my husband teaches college. I’m always thinking about how to best communicate cooking technique and culture without making things boring. Cooking should be fun and rewarding, not a chore that you dread all the time.
If you strip down Craftsy online cooking classes, they’re basically lecture demos. When I read “lecture” in my contract with them, I groaned. I was a good a student but didn’t want to create a school-like environment! When I designed the Asian dumpling class (over 1,000 people are enrolled!) and this new Vietnamese classics course, I wanted to make it informative, interesting, and fun.
So I decided to put blinders on the notion of a “lecture” and pretend as if I were talking to people in the privacy of their home kitchens. I’ve heard Craftsy described as a school of sorts, but heck, there are no class bells ringing. Raise your hand to pose a question and I answer them. You can be a class smarty by sharing ideas and tips too. You can be as tardy or lazy as you want -- watch Craftsy classes whenever, however you want. My classes are broken up into chunks that total 4 hours of instruction.
Moreover, there are no grades though I do love to pat people on their virtual backs when they share pictures of what they made from class. Want to sneak friends in to watch the class? No problem. I’m just on your digital screen. So as far as a learning environment goes, it’s great for all kinds of learners. I can't teach everywhere in person so this is a magnificent way to engage cooks all over the world.
The Vietnamese class allowed me to focus in on key aspects of Viet foodways. My lens was a menu of the best-of, go-do dishes. If people could master making that menu, they’d be well on their way to diving deeper.
The meat of the class is technical and we shot with three cameras, just like with Asian dumplings. That allowed advantageous views that were top down, like this one:
But I wanted people to get lots of bang for their buck. Just like in my in-person classes, people should feel like they really learned more than they expected, that they see both the micro and macro-level of the subject. To that end, I incorporated the following into the Vietnamese cooking class:
As I mentioned earlier, the other cool thing that I did for this Vietnamese cooking class was shoot inside of an Asian market. Director/producer Joe Baran secured Pacific Mercantile Company, a Japanese-owned market located in downtown Denver that’s been opened since the 1940s(!). It turned out to be incredibly well stocked with a pan-Asian inventory. I was blown away.
We spent most of a day shooting in the market. In the video, I discuss strategies to help people navigate and mine Asian grocery stores, which aren’t all consistent. All kinds of tips are woven in to help you build an Asian pantry of ingredients. When we finished shooting, Jolie Noguchi, the owner of the market (this isn’t on the final cut) introduced herself. I explained that we were making video to help people shop at Asian markets. She grabbed me for an instant hug and said, “Thank you!”
It was rewarding to shoot the class and see the final product. The class is regularly priced at $39.99 but you can register for a VWK price of $29.99. Craftsy instructors earn a share of the sales so to access the discounted price, use this 25% savings link.
I've also embedded the link in the left sidebar so you can easily find it later. Of course, I'd greatly appreciate it if you tell others about the class and discount! Thanks in advance.