Local chefs and other kitchen pros offer insider tips for home cooks and amateur bartenders

Photo by Marcus Meisler
The Snug's Lindsay Nader shares tips on how to raise your home cocktail game.

Evidenced by the surge of at-home bread baking and comfort-food comebacks, as well as the rebirth of the community cookbook, the quarantine has led to an uptick in home cooking and bartending. A recent survey of 1,000 Americans found that over 50% of us are spending more time in our kitchens than we were pre-pandemic. In response, kitchen pros around the region, including chefs, bar managers and baristas, are posting videos with insider tips to raise your meal and cocktail game, and help you become the star of your next Zoom dinner party.

Enchiladas, sopes and, of course, tacos take center stage at Chando's Tacos' weekly live show. (Photo courtesy of Chandos Tacos)Chando’s Tacos
Grab a pad and pen—you'll want to take notes on the abundance of family cooking secrets spilled during the weekly hourlong Facebook Live videos from this celebrated local chain. Your charming hosts for these morning-show-style, step-by-step videos are 16-year-old Xiomara and 12-year-old Lali Madrigal, and their father, Chando's Tacos owner Lisandro Madrigal, who teach viewers how to roll masa by hand for sopes and how to make Spanish rice from scratch on the stove. chandostacos.com and Chando's Facebook page

Lisandro "Chando" Madrigal and his two daughters share homestyle how-tos for Mexican meals on their weekly Facebook Live show. (Photo by Fotografia de Walden)

Chocolate Fish Roasters
Social distancing has brought us closer to our coffee machines, but home-brewed cups of joe are often watery or over-steeped. Enter Chocolate Fish Roasters, which has launched a series of videos led by education director Elvira Conty Nieves. In tutorials that are 10 minutes or less, you can learn that burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders (the former results in more even flavor), that the best temperature range for the water used in pour-overs is just below boiling and, in the nick of time for the warmer weather, how to make a refreshing glass of flash-brewed iced coffee. chocolatefishcoffee.com and Chocolate Fish's Instagram page

Hook & Ladder
Via short Instagram tutorials, Anthony Scuderi, executive chef of midtown restaurant Hook & Ladder, provides answers to crowd-sourced culinary queries like, “What’s the best flour for pizza dough?” (spoiler alert: high-quality double-zero, but all-purpose works just fine) or “Can you make bread if you don't have yeast?” (short answer—yes). Scuderi's light, conversational manner makes the insider information highly approachable, whether he’s seasoning a cast-iron skillet or exploring which salts to use when (sea salt is good for finishing a dish, for example, while the iodized variety is good for the garbage), to help you produce restaurant-quality bites at home. hookandladder916.com and Hook & Ladder's Instagram page


A post shared by Majka Pizzeria & Bakery (@majkabakes) on

Majka Pizzeria & Bakery
Step aside sourdough—focaccia takes center stage in a four-minute Instagram video by Alex Sherry, co-owner of Majka Pizzeria & Bakery, which is expected to open its midtown storefront in June for pizza to go. Learn how to proof, pinch, bake and decorate the traditional Italian flatbread with Sherry's full ingredient list (down to the exact gram for each flour) and detailed instructions (for instance, fold the dough in quarter turns every 15 minutes in the first hour). Once you've mastered the focaccia, considered an easy bake in the world of bread, check out Sherry’s earlier post on how to make a country loaf, another beginner's recipe. Majka's Instagram page

The Snug's general manager Tevor Easter co-hosts That's the F--king Drink with his wife Lindsay Nader. (Photo by Marcus Meisler)

That’s the F–king Drink
Make quaffable quarantine cocktails with help from this bingeable Instagram series that provides instructions on how to make the perfect margarita (hint: use freshly squeezed citrus for tartness that’s uplifting rather than muddy) or fat-wash spirits (infusing liquors with the rich flavors of natural oils), all with pantry staples—coconut-oil-infused rum, anyone? The brainchild of folks at R Street bar The Snug (general manager Trevor Easter, his wife and social media manager Lindsay Nader, and bartender Nick Amano-Dolan), the tutorials are accompanied by cocktail recipes that you can screenshot for posterity—you know, when happy hour rolls around. The Snug's Instagram page

You Might Also Like
With stay-at-home becoming bake-at-home for many, Faria Bakery's "Head of Bread" offers up the lowdown on sourdough
Take out on your own timetable with meal kits from regional restaurants
Is takeout safe? A UC Davis virologist shares how to stay healthy and support local restaurants