Cooking lessons with a celebrated chef can be one of the best ways to learn, but it is not the only way.

Learning material across all subject matter has become more accessible with the Internet.

In order to learn to master the art of cooking, you need to start by familiarising  yourself with the basic cooking techniques. Learning about different ingredients will help you find it easier to start following simple recipes.

If you've chosen not to attend cooking classes, you can still teach yourself to cook from a variety of  resources.

There are a host of cookbooks and food magazines that will help you learn the basics and expand on them from month to month. You can also choose to learn via the internet - from the many cooking websites, on YouTube or another social media platform.

Having visual steps to follow can make the process easier for you and it helps that you can pause and rewind if you need to.

Try to remember that cooking is fun, instead of viewing it as a necessary chore. Cooking can be a great stress reliever and gives you space to express your creativity.

If you're tired of two-minute-noodles and peanut butter sandwiches and are wondering what to cook for dinner, these videos can help you get started.

Food24

Food24 is billed as Africa's biggest food website and is a treasure trove of information.

The site is easy to navigate and includes ideas for lunchbox meals and treats.

Recipes are well categorised and you can find what you need at a glance, but the site includes and handy search bar too.

The 'Recipe Round Up' section has grouped recipes together by topic - so if you're looking for the best pap or chicken recipes, you can choose the category and find a few wonderful recipe suggestions.

The site contains handy glossaries that cover ingredients, cookery terms, and herbs and spices. There are sections on converting measurements, a pantry stocker list that generates your shopping list and a handy food substitute guide.

Only a portion of the recipes are in video format, the rest are in print. The videos are categorised by section, such as vegetarian recipes, step-by step- and easy cooking recipes.

mise en place for cooking
Short, sped up videos show you all the ingredients you will need, measured out and ready for cooking |Source: Unsplash

Cooking basics is a perfect place to start - here you can learn everything from how to tell how ripe an avocado is, to how to poach an egg.

The videos are short, but are in the format of a sped-up cooking show, with the host providing some tips that will help you master the technique.

The advantages:

  • A large variety of recipes
  • Covers cooking basics
  • Easy to follow videos.

The disadvantages:

  • It is difficult to find the videos on the site
  • Only a small number of recipes are in video format.

Simply Delicious

Alida Ryder's Simply Delicious is a fantastic resource for learning to cook. The videos are easy to find - she has included the category in the index at top 0f the page

Alida's recipes are easy to follow and she includes the written recipe along with the video. The recipe can easily be printed and lists the nutritional value as well. The videos are short and shot from above, giving you a bird's eye view of the meal being prepared.

There are many easy meals to cook if you're just starting out and you can progress to making show stopper meals such as Coq au Riesling Pasta.

Pros:

  • A variety of recipes with written instructions.
  • Q&As regarding the recipe, where Alida provides additional information to help you nail the recipes.

Cons:

  • Many pop up ads that may distract you.

Woolworths Taste Magazine

This is a wonderful YouTube channel that collaborates with local food celebrities such as Siba Mtongana and The Lazy Makoti.

The site has a 'How To' section to teach you basic skills and you can learn to cook side dishes such as Hasselback butternut and duck-fat roast potatoes.

Italian meal ingredients
30 minute recipes are ideal for weeknight suppers |Source: Unsplash

Some of the videos are not narrated, but sped up videos showing the ingredients in text, while others follow the chef as the meal is being cooked and narrated by them.

There are 30 minute meal recipes to help time crunched cooks and sections containing recipes for special occasions such as Easter, Father's Day and Mother's Day.

The advantages:

  • Beautifully shot videos of delicious meals.

The disadvantages:

  • The recipes are not all categorised by protein or vegetable type, so it may take some searching to find exactly what you are looking for.

Pick n Pay

The Pick n Pay YouTube channel offers 3 ingredient recipes, lunchbox ideas and hacks for eggs and waffles.

There are quick and simple recipes as well, for things such as vegetarian loaded nachos. There are also recipes for traditional South African delights, chicken breyani, bunny chow and snoek.

If you live alone, you may find yourself buying meals because you don't know how to cook single serving meals and don't want to eat the same meal for a full week! The 'Dinner for One' series of videos on this site is exactly what you need to start cooking delicious meals, without days of leftovers.

Recipes from their Just Cooking television show are also accessible on the site.

Pros:

  • Numerous short videos to choose from.

Cons:

  • There are many videos not related to cooking so you have to sift through the playlists to find the videos, if you don't know exactly what it is that you're looking for.

Gordon Ramsay

The popular TV chef, Gordon Ramsay, has a Youtube channel to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

He starts off with a video teaching you 5 basic cooking skills, including how to cut an onion and how to sharpen a knife.

Each of these videos takes the format of a cooking show, with Gordon cooking in his kitchen and explaining the techniques and ingredients he is using.

He provides useful tips on how to cut herbs and how to check if a pineapple is ripe. His playlist includes his top 5 lamb, pork, chicken and fish recipes and you can learn to make delicious Huevos Rancheros for breakfast.

The advantages:

  • Short videos in which you learn a host of techniques.

The disadvantages:

  • There are video clips from some of his shows which do not feature his cooking.
  • Not all of the videos are suitable for beginners.

Here's a roundup of the cooking websites mentioned above:

Site / Channel ProsCons
food24Easy to follow videos.Only a small amount of recipes are in video format.
Simply DeliciousA variety of recipes with written instructions.Many pop up ads that may distract you.
Woolworths Taste MagazineBeautifully shot videos of delicious meals.Recipes are not all categorised by protein or vegetable type.
Pick n PayMany short videos to choose from.Many videos not related to cooking.
Gordon RamsayA host of techniques are taught.Not all of the videos are suitable for beginners.

Begin With Recipes on Social Media

Food is a popular subject on Instagram and Facebook, with loads of accounts dedicated to showing beautifully shot meals and then sharing the recipes via videos.

If you are following a food blogger's account, their videos are usually in the cooking show style, with the blogger narrating and being filmed while cooking the meal.

The other type of cooking video that you will find, is the short, sped up version that shows you the ingredients, and how the chef adds them to the pot or pan in sequence to cook the meal. These videos don't have any narration and just have a backing track.

The sped up videos usually use day-to-day or sweet ingredients and generally are quite simple.

Foodies of SA is an account that offers this type of video - short and simple recipes that are perfect for a beginner. The instructions are typed and appear on the screen as the ingredients are shown and the various steps are performed.  However, if you prefer the full recipe - it is included in the comments section of the post.

woman chopping herbs and vegetables
Videos can teach you the basics such as how to chop herbs properly. | Source: Unsplash

The advantages:

  • The dishes are visually appealing and seem easy to make
  • The full recipe is included in the comments section.

The disadvantages:

  • Complicated dishes may appear easier than they really are, due to the filming technique.

No matter the cuisine that interests you, whether cooking for one or ten,  you are bound to find videos that appeal to you.

While these videos are helpful, you may not have regular access to the internet and streaming videos may prove costly if you are doing so by using mobile data. You may find that investing in a good cookbook is a better option for you - it can teach you the basics such as identifying herbs, how to roast, grilling and chopping techniques and many other things that some of these videos presume you already know.

Another option is to search for Cooking Classes Near Me on Superprof to find a tutor that will teach you everything you wish to know.

Need a Cooking teacher?

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Kim

Kim is from Cape Town, South Africa. She enjoys reading and spending summer days on the beautiful blue flag beaches that the Western Cape is blessed with. She is currently working on getting her groove back.