The culinary greats are finding creative ways to keep themselves (and me!) entertained while social distancing.

By Katlyn Moncada
March 20, 2020
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Creative ways to pass the time while safely practicing social distancing are springing up all over social media. Musicians are calming us with melodies from their living rooms, aquariums and zoos are giving a glimpse into animal life, and virtual happy hours or Netflix watch parties with friends from afar are sources of nightly entertainment. As someone that turns to food and cooking as a source of comfort, I was thrilled to find celebrity chefs giving an unfiltered glimpse into their homes. Not only is this a fun way to get a look at their personal kitchens, but I'm learning new tips. (Thanks to Carla Hall, I might actually try "buttering" my grilled cheese bread with mayo before searing.) Sure, the video quality varies (they are without their usual camera crews and studio lighting, after all), but getting fresh recipe ideas is exactly what I need to keep busy. And the food they're making makes me crave a plate of waffles (or whatever's cooking) no matter what. Whether it's Ina Garten teaching how to substitute an ingredient for something else already in your pantry or seeing how Martha Stewart created a TODAY Show appearance from her own kitchen, prepare to take notes and be entertained. Warning: May cause hunger.

Ina Garten

A few days ago, Ina Garten posted a plate of banana-topped overnight waffles she made for dinner with her husband, Jeffrey. Admitting she's also anxious about what's to come, she asked followers to comment on a photo of her pantry with ingredients they had on hand so she could suggest recipes. The first? Broccoli and bow tie pasta with lemon-butter sauce. All of the recipes are also posted to her website's homepage under the appropriately-titled heading "Cook From Your Pantry!"

Carla Hall

Leave it to soul food cookbook author and TV personality Carla Hall to make me smile over the process of making a grilled cheese sandwich in an air fryer. With a dramatic piano medley as the soundtrack (make sure your sound is on!), Hall narrates the video as two types of cheese and pesto are piled onto slices of bread. This is where the slathering of mayo comes in that I've heard of, but never tried. So the real question here is, do you prefer mayo or butter to get that crispy exterior on your bread?

Martha Stewart

If you're needing a comforting drink to sip on at home, Martha Stewart made a soothing ginger tea tonic as part of her "get through the tough times" food solutions special for the TODAY Show this week. She also whipped up a green juice for nutrients and baked potatoes for some comfort food. You'll want to follow her non-cooking related posts, too. She's likely to make you laugh when turning her own photos into memes. Or her new journey of learning to play mahjong (a tile-based game popular in China) thanks to a rare free evening.

Antoni Porowski

If you enjoy watching Queer Eye's resident food expert and cookbook author, you can follow Antoni Porowski's IGTV series, Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons from Quarantine. Stuck inside after arriving in Texas for next season's shooting location this week, Porowski went to a local grocery store hoping to buy ingredients for huevos rancheros. "Because when you're in Texas, that's what you do," he says. Unfortunately, the required ingredients weren't there, so he resorted to whatever he could find. The resulting dish was a vegetarian omelet he called "The Keep Calm-lette," topped with a homemade black bean salsa.

Joanna Gaines

Magnolia home brand owners Chip and Joanna Gaines (who's cooking show debuts in October) got the family together on Instagram yesterday to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies from their Magnolia Table cookbook. Gaines says she plans to post a new activity or challenge to do from home every day, so stay tuned.

Jamie Oliver

Famous British chef Jamie Oliver started posting his favorite recipes this week involving simple ingredients to show home cooks you can make delicious meals from what you already have in stock. This potato gnocchi, for example, only uses potatoes, flour, and a bit of nutmeg (then he dressed it up with sauce and toppers). Expect to see clips on the daily from his new special on Channel 4 (British public-service television network) called Keep Cooking and Carry On that starts Monday featuring easy recipes that "work with what you got."

Anne Burrell

Food Network's Anne Burrell took the opportunity to share what she's making for her family's school lunch breaks after beginning to practice social distancing at her New York home this week. The chef notes it's a good thing their homeschooling involves gym time so they can indulge in comfort foods like these meatball sandwiches.

These are just a few of the chefs taking their tips and entertainment to social media while we're all hanging out inside. Now go see what new creation you can make with your pantry staples or find out if knitting is the new relaxing hobby that speaks to you.

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