Need cooking advice? Search Internet for live-action videos

By Erica Marcus

Newsday (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

A La Carte cooking classes in Lynbrook are videotaped to catch each step of making a dish, February 8, 2012. (Nancy Borowick/Newsday/MCT)

Nancy Borowick, Mct

When it comes to cooking, a video may be worth a thousand pictures. Indeed, no combination of prose and photographs can convey how to chop an onion as effectively as a short video.

The Internet is an almost infinite source of live-action cooking instruction. Whether you want to prop up your iPad behind your cutting board or watch your computer before heading into the kitchen, the Web puts a world of culinary know-how at your fingertips.

If you're looking for cooking advice, one effective way to proceed may well be the simplest: Google the skill you're interested in (put it in quotes — "chop onion" — for more accurate results) along with the word "video" and presto: a screen full of results, each one tagged with its length and when it was posted. Going to YouTube.com, the Web's largest library of videos, will generate similar results, plus you'll be able to see how many views each video has, a rough guide to its usefulness.

There's always a chance that Google or YouTube will direct you to a video starring someone who has no idea what she's doing. That's why it's helpful to patronize websites that exercise some curatorial control over content. Professional chefs, cooking magazines and cooking schools are rising to the challenge of translating their expertise into online videos.

The site: http://www/alacartecs.com

The price: $39 a class

The deal: Polly Talbott founded Lynbrook's A la Carte cooking school in 1999 and for years thought about how to expand her reach beyond Long Island. A la Carte Live Online, launched in February, is her solution. Almost every Wednesday, from 6-8:30 p.m., anyone with an Internet connection can participate in an actual cooking class that streams in real time. Six cameras deployed around the school's teaching kitchen capture Talbott and her staff as they demonstrate recipes to the students, then follow the students as they learn new skills and eat the fruits of their labor. Online participants receive recipes, shopping and equipment lists before the class airs, and can ask questions, via live chat, during class. Upcoming classes include "Great American steakhouse," "Evening in Tuscany" and "Five best pasta sauces." The class scheduled for March 28, a dinner party featuring bruschetta, chicken piccata, roasted potatoes, string beans and profiteroles, is available as a free trial. Register for the class online and enter the promotional-discount code "freetrial" in the payment box. Call 516-599-2922 for more information.

The site: Idealchef.com

The price: Free

The deal: Ideal Chef was launched in 2009 by Leif Holm-Andersen, an enthusiastic home cook, and Scott Schneider, a trained Long Island chef whose prior gigs included co-founding caterer Elegant Affairs in 1995. The site: offers about 1,000 recipe and skill videos, which feature working chefs, most of whom are from the tristate region, and many of whom are from Long Island. You can watch fishmonger Bill Mieschberger of Gra-Bar Fish in Westbury filleting a whole salmon, Jeanine DiMenna of Page One in Glen Cove making Asian tuna with ponzu-wasabi dipping sauce, and Schneider decorating a cake. Recipe videos come with a printable recipe, and The site: is searchable by skill or recipe, by category (from baby food to butchering) and by chef.

The site: epicurious.com

The price: Free

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