HOT OFF THE PASS | This week in food news: March 26

Local restaurants are rallying to support their staff, while celebrity chefs keep homebound foodies entertained on social media

26 March 2020 - 09:21 By Steve Steinfeld
Chefs are using social media to entertain their followers with cooking demos, recipes and tips.
Chefs are using social media to entertain their followers with cooking demos, recipes and tips.
Image: 123RF/Oleksandra Naumenko

As with all non-essential services, Thursday night's lockdown will see local restaurants close for 21 days. Home deliveries and takeaways are also off the cards.

This news has got many South Africans feeling like little Layla-Rae Charlton, a British girl who shot to fame on social media after her mom shared a video of her crying because she'd no longer be able to get takeaways (watch the video here).

'Our staff need your help'

The effect that lockdown will have on the hospitality industry is no laughing matter, however. Some restaurateurs are unsure of whether they'll be financially capable of re-opening their eateries once this pandemic has passed.

The number one priority for many has been of finding ways to support their staff. Many are now setting up crowdfunding accounts and calling for public donations to help their employees weather this storm. (Read more here.)

Chefs take to the 'gram

To help raise the spirits of homebound foodies everywhere, famous chefs are taking to social media to share recipes and ideas.

Acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura — whose Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana topped The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 and 2018 — has been hosting a series of Kitchen Quarantine cooking demos on Instagram. While celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay posted a video of himself giving a handwashing masterclass.

Local chef David Higgs has been helping his social media followers cook up a storm.
Local chef David Higgs has been helping his social media followers cook up a storm.
Image: Supplied

My Kitchen Rules SA judge David Higgs also got in on the action by helping his Instagram followers work out what to cook for dinner, and showing them how to make the ultimate omelette. (See his recipe and tips below.)

Don't panic, plan ahead

While you may need to stock up on ingredients to make all those tempting recipes you've seen on Instagram, please heed the government's call not to panic buy. Plan ahead, buy only what you need, and respect the fact that other people need groceries too.

And if tinned goods are out of stock, fear not: Sunday Times Food editor Hilary Biller is one step ahead of the rest with this guide to cooking with dried chickpeas and lentils — long-life essentials for any pantry.

PS. It turns out there hasn't just been a rush on edibles. The Sunday Times reports that chest freezers, fridges, Instant Pots and airfryers have been flying off the shelves at Hirsch’s stores as the country gears up for lockdown.