STAY AT HOME – it sucks, but it’s working and the curve is flattening. If this quarantine is turning you into a potato, here are some ways to exercise your mind while stuck at home.
Whether it’s simply to keep yourself entertained, or for when you’re headed back to work, now is a great time to continue developing a skill, or learn a new one. There are a million ways to give your brain the exercise it needs to stay sharp, motivated and engaged during the quarantine — here are just a few ideas to get you started, most of which are free!
Learn something new in the Kitchen
From Bon Appetit to Gordon Ramsey (with more videos than you probably ever wanted to see), Youtube has a ton of channels to learn new cooking skills. Culinary institutes Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and The Culinary Institute of America have YouTube channels with a vast amount of videos that teach things from knife skills to cake decorating. Yes there are promotional videos you’d have to wade through, but there are a ton of educational demos that make it worth it.
Instagram is another place where many beloved chefs around the nation, like Gregory Gourdet, Gabriel Rucker and Samin Nosrat, have been offering cooking demonstrations. It could almost be like you’re working alongside your favorite chef — a dream come true.
Often in the day and age of the internet the good ol’ cookbook gets overlooked. Books are great resources that can offer you even better recipes and techniques than spending hours browsing online. If you’re looking to get your hands dirty, pop open a cookbook you’ve been meaning to get to and give it a read. Find a recipe you’ve never attempted before and try it out — they say the best way to gain experience is by just doing it!
Learn something new behind the bar
Liqour.com is a great resource for all things behind the bar. Their site offers an array of articles on all the different types of spirits, wines, beers and everything cocktail related. Follow their Instagram account (@liquor) where they share daily stories that expand on different topics from cocktail creation to more in depth focus on a specific beverage.
The Educated Barfly YouTube channel is a great way to educate yourself on spirits and learn a thing or two about cocktails. This channel offers a variety of tutorials on classic, modern and craft cocktails. There are new videos posted three times a week so there is always something new.
The Craft Beer Channel on YouTube is a great resource to learn all things beer. From videos that focus on ingredients to exploring beer and food pairings — you’ll be pro enough at least to help your customers figure out that they can actually like beer.
For those looking to understand a little more about wine, checkout the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) YouTube channel. They offer a 3-minute Wine School series and other videos to help you gain the knowledge to talk a little more confidently about wine to your customers. Just like cooking, the best way to learn is through exposure and practice. I suggest buying a few bottles of wine and have a glass… or three, we are quarantined after all.
Learn something new about hospitality
Hospitality is the name of the game, and while you may have been in this line of work for decades, we all can continue to brush up on theories and learn new ways of hospitality.
Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business is a great book to learn some theories of hospitality. What hospitality means, and what it means to follow the definition of hospitality in every aspect of your business — from your employees, to your vendors, to your guests. While it might sound like the book is meant for business owners, there’s something for everyone to learn in this book.
Perhaps you’re new to the industry and you want to make your way as a busser, host or waiter. YouTube has some dry but informative channels you can find to learn things like how to buss a table, how to pour wine and how to strategically hold a tray full of drinks. Check out The Waiter’s Academy for a large collection of videos to help you improve. Of course, practice makes perfect, so find some things in your house to get used to the weight and feel of the real thing.
The internet is full of information we can use to our advantage — some of it is even true! This quarantine has been long; dedicating time to exercising your brain and learning something new can be a great form of self-care when you need it most.