• We can bring the world to our kitchen: Shawarma lamb pita with salad and pickles from Atlas Dining's Israeli box (Atlas Dining)Source: Atlas Dining
Cooking classes, virtual wine tastings and spices delivered to your door to help you deal with wanderlust.
Audrey Bourget

3 Apr 2020 - 2:20 PM  UPDATED 3 Apr 2020 - 2:20 PM

Many of us have had to cancel or postpone travel plans since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And with a (necessary) overseas travel ban and even local border closures, it looks like we'll be staying put for the foreseeable future.

While we daydream about our next holiday or visit to family overseas, we found people to help us travel through food.

Atlas Dining brings the world to your kitchen

Chef Charlie Carrington is used to travelling for inspiration. His South Yarra restaurant, Atlas Dining, changes cuisine every four months.

You can now get the Atlas experience at home, thanks to online classes and an ingredient box.

"Everything comes in the box and some of the ingredients are pre-prepared.

"The whole idea of the box is that I want people to learn something, but we want to take the work out of the cooking so that cooking for your family might take only 15-20 minutes," explains Carrington.

The first box, which has sold-out, provided ingredients to cook Vietnamese dishes like turmeric fish cakes and mushroom pho. Next up is Israeli then Korean.

"Most of my staff are internationals and won't have a chance to survive unless we do something. That's why I created this concept, to keep them working. They all kept their full-time job," he says.

"Overseas workers are a huge part of the hospitality industry, which I love. I want to do everything I can so they can survive the next few months."

More details here.

The restaurant owners doing extraordinary things to keep staff employed
Restaurants are doing it really tough in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are many businesses that are trying to help their employees out where they can.

More classes from around the globe

Online cooking classes have been flourishing in the pandemic. In Italy, 84-year-old nonna Nerina gives live pasta classes, and chef Massimo Bottura demonstrates how to prepare simple dishes from his home kitchen.

The Jewish Food Society has launched Tradish, a series celebrating family recipes. The New Orleans Culinary Institute is hosting pay-what-you-can Zoom cooking sessions with a chef.

If baking is keeping you sane during the crisis, follow #BakeCorona on Instagram.

The hashtag connecting home bakers in isolation
Are you at home? Stay linked during the coronavirus pandemic by sharing your cake and cookie creations with this social media campaign.

And while it's not new, Maangchi's YouTube channel dedicated to Korean cuisine is always a hit. Start with her cheese buldak for something easy requesting only a few ingredients.

Try new spices and ingredients

Take the opportunity of being housebound to try different ingredients and recipes. Gewurzhaus sells over 350 spices and spice blends online. Their Moroccan spice rack will transport you to North Africa with concoctions like chermoula and ras el hanout.

The sisters working a modern spice trade in Australia
The German-Australian sisters who know that self-serve spices are what it's all about.

Co-founder Maria Konecsny says, "It's a nice way to kind of travel to Morocco. You can cook quite a range of different meals with them and they have different intensity of heat."

One of their best sellers is the butter chicken blend. "I have young kids so we probably do butter chicken once every two weeks. We make some naan as well, put on Bollywood music and get into it," she says.

"We make some naan as well, put on Bollywood music and get into it."

For native ingredients and herbs available online, check out Mabu Mabu, Bush Food Shop and Outback Chef.

Your local international grocers will also have a wealth of ingredients for you to try. And as a bonus, you get to support an independent shop instead of a supermarket.

Virtual wine tasting

Did you have to cancel a wine tasting trip in the South of France or Margaret River? You can recreate the experience at home. Wineries like Healesville's Innocent Bystander and Orange's Printhie Wines live tasting sessions on social media.

You just have to order the bottles beforehand to follow along with the tasting.

White wine and olive oil crackers (taralli al vino)

Add these twist-shaped crackers to your cheeseboard or just snack away!

Order in

Eating a bento at your kitchen table is not the same as ordering nigiri at a standing sushi bar in the heart of Shibuya, but it still tastes pretty good. Since I couldn't make it to Tokyo this month, I've decided to spend the next few weeks supporting my local Japanese restaurants like CibiIma Project Cafe and Tamura Sake Bar.

Until you can slurp Bún bò Huế in Vietnam or devour empanadas in Chile again, order them for delivery or takeaway from your local restaurants. 

How to support our food and drink outlets in the coronavirus pandemic
The next six months is a precarious time for Australia's hospitality industry. This is how we can help support it.

Watch and read

A few TV shows to watch or rewatch. On SBS Food and SBS On Demand, we have Destination Flavour, Food Safari, New Scandinavian Cooking and Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam. If you prefer fiction, browse the Dinner and a Movie collection.

After an interesting book? Recent releases include One More Croissant for the Road, Only in Tokyo, The Boba Book: Bubble Tea and Beyond, The Food of Sichuan (updated edition), Food of The Italian South and Tel Aviv, which should give you plenty of inspiration for your next trip or next meal.

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @audreybourget and Twitter @audreybourget

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