Travel from Your Kitchen with 3 Editor–Tested Virtual Cooking Classes


Three of our staffers logged onto three different cooking experiences, live from Italy, Argentina and Indonesia – here’s how they went.

October 7, 2020

Fresh Ravioli with Nonna Live

  • The student Ari Magnusson, associate editor

  • The class 84–year–old nonna Nerina schools you from her kitchen in Palombara Sabina, just outside of Rome

  • The dish Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce

  • The setup “Before the class, I got an email with a grocery list, plus the cooking utensils I would need. No advance food prep was required.”

Prepping the counter for ravioli making with Nonna Live on the laptop
   Photo: Ari Magnusson
  • The pivotal moment “Nonna called out my pasta dough mixing skills when she noticed how badly I misjudged the egg to flour ratio – but, by simply adding more flour, disaster was averted. ‘Bravo Ari,’ Nonna said, cementing her as the Italian grandmother I’ve always wanted.”

  • The verdict “It’s like you’re right there with Nonna, learning a recipe passed on through generations. Her custom playlist – Pavarotti kicked things off – set the mood and the end result got two thumbs up from my girlfriend. I will definitely make the dish again!”

Freshly cooked ravioli with grated cheese sprinkled on top
   Photo: Ari Magnusson

Beef Empanadas with Traveling Spoon

  • The student Alexis Ramlall, editorial intern

  • The class Gabriela Villaverde teaches techniques handed down from her grandfather in a one–on–one class from her Buenos Aires home

  • The dish Empanadas

  • The setup “Gabriela sent me the recipes, ingredients list (with lots of options to customize the empanada filling) and the Zoom link beforehand. Heading into the class, you’re supposed to have the ingredients measured out and ready to use, but I was not prepared! Gabriela had the utmost patience, though, and tried her best to calm me down while I frantically searched for the olive oil.”

Cooking beef empanada filling online with Traveling Spoon
   Photo: Alexis Ramlall
  • The pivotal moment “Cooking the spiced ground beef filling was easy but kneading the dough for a good 15 minutes wore me out – luckily, Gabriela shared stories of her family to pass the time. The folding is where I shone: I quickly nailed the technique, which Gabriela credited to my age: ‘When you’re young, everything is perfect on your first try!’”

  • The verdict “The empanadas turned out beautifully! Gabriela’s encouragement is what made the dish a success – and she even invited me to visit her home if I ever travel to Argentina.”

Folded empanadas
   Photo: Alexis Ramlall

A Vegetarian Balinese Feast with Airbnb Experiences

  • The student Stefanie Sosiak, art director

  • The class Ayu and Ngurah demonstrate easy Balinese home cooking, in a session for up to 10 people, from their beautiful outdoor garden in North Denpasar, Indonesia

  • The dishes Gado–gado (vegetables, tofu and eggs with peanut sauce), perkedel jagung (corn fritters) and nasi goreng (Balinese fried rice)

The Balinese dish, gado-gado
   Photo: Stefanie Sosiak
  • The setup “After booking, I was sent a list of ingredients and instructions for what I should prepare in advance, like cooking the rice for the nasi goreng and boiling the eggs for the gado–gado.”

  • The pivotal moment “It took some time to get the hang of the twist–and–press on the mortar and pestle – a tiring but rewarding technique to infuse bold aromatics such as garlic and chili peppers into the dishes – but it was worth the effort. It provides a depth of flavour that a blender just can’t match.”

  • The verdict “As intoxicating fragrances filled my kitchen, I found myself transported to the welcoming courtyard of my hosts, trying my best to summon the sweet, humid Bali breeze. When we said our friendly goodbyes and signed off, I was already planning a repeat of the nasi goreng and the standout fritters, sweet from fresh corn and spiked with floral kaffir lime leaves – some new potluck standbys.”

Perkedel jagung (Balinese corn fritters)
   Photo: Stefanie Sosiak