With over 100 countries worldwide on either full or partial lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed caused many of us to sink deeper into the realm of social media. More than ever, sleepless nights are spent scrolling through our Instagram and Facebook feeds, with random pauses at silly cat videos and the enticing ASMR of a stranger chewing on fried chicken.
Going through my social media the past few months since the start of ‘Circuit Breaker’ period has made it seem like everyone has used their extra time to venture into their kitchens, playing with rice cookers and ovens. With the hashtag #quarantinecooking garnering more than 500,000 tags on Instagram alone, homebodies like myself, are constantly on the lookout for intriguing recipes and cooking tips in an attempt to sharpen our culinary skills—free of charge.
Luckily for all of us, a handful of our favourite culinary whizzes have taken to the ‘gram, sharing their famous recipes and gastronomic know-hows with their international fans. Without further ado, here are 10 local and international chefs we should follow on Instagram during our quarantine cook-off!
1. Willin Low (@willcookwilleat)
Regarded to most as the founder of mod-Sin cuisine, owner of Relish by Wild Rocket, Chef Willin Low returned to Singapore from working at his new cafe-bar in Hokkaido during March at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
After serving 14 days of his stay-home notice, besides heading back to work, he also took to Instagram teaching his followers simple and comforting dishes that can be easily prepared at home. Under the ‘Will Cook At Home’ series, you can not only learn to whip up familiar dishes such as Black Bean Bitter Gourd Ribs, but Chef Willin also shared the recipe of his Roketto Mapo Tofu—a dish which he frequently cooked during his venture in Japan.
2. Bjorn Shen (@bjornshen)
Probably the most entertaining and eccentric chef on our list, Chef Bjorn Shen—owner of Artichoke and Small’s—got me hooked onto his home cooking videos the moment I pressed ‘play’ on his BJS Hot Biryani Series.
In addition to his ever-changing headgears—do look out for them cause they are too cute to be missed—his wacky character makes all his videos a must-watch whether you are looking to recreate his recipes or not.
Biryani-lovers will surely enjoy his BJS Hot Biryani Series in which Chef Bjorn experiments on cooking Biryani with various fast-food such as Pizza Hut, Long John Silver, and Mos Burger. If you have excess packets of instant noodles at home and want to learn how to turn them into a classy plate of risotto, then check out how Chef Bjorn transformed his packet of Indomie into a mee-sotto!
3. Lennard Yeong (@lennardy)
With his boyish good looks and model-like physique, it is no wonder netizens will curiously click on Chef Lennard Yeong’s account hopping to see his profile shots instead of snippets of raw ingredients and well-plated dishes.
Since the start of ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, the former MasterChef Asia finalist and in-house chef at Miele Singapore has gained a steady following all thanks to the wide variety of recipes and simple to follow instructions he provides in his cooking videos. He has also recently collaborated with Mediacorp artist Jeanette Aw in the #stayhomeforSG challenge sharing their favourite Scallion Pancake and Choux Puff recipes. Check out the recording of the Instagram Live above!
4. Eric Teo (@chefericteo)
Not a stranger to the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, many of us recognise Chef Eric Teo as a celebrity chef who frequently blesses our television screens in cooking programs with his amazing culinary skills.
Followers of Chef Eric will enjoy his quick and easy Chinese recipes that are created using ingredients that can be easily found in our refrigerators. Some fan favourites include his Teriyaki Chicken Chop recipe which has gained more than 30,000 views in the past month.
5. Janice Wong (@janicewong2am)
More of a sweet tooth? Then don’t miss out on the chance to take a lesson from Singapore’s very own Willy Wonka, Chef Janice Wong! Known to many as a chocolatier who is not afraid to venture out of the box, Janice Wong’s baking videos not only showcases some of 2am: dessert bar‘s signature dessert items, she also demonstrates on how to use her Bake At Home premixes which are available for purchase online.
My favourite video has got to be her video on tempering chocolate. Just for those of you who wish to create your very own chocolates, yet are slightly afraid to do so due to its temperament, this video is a definite must watch as you can get useful tips and pointers from the chocolate queen herself!
6. David Chang (@davidchang)
Founder of the Momofuku brand, creator of Netflix’s ‘Ugly Delicious’ and co-host of documentary ‘Mind of a Chef’, Chef David Chang is an international culinary A-lister known to many foodies around the world.
During this period of COVID-19, Chef David Chang seem to be more active than ever providing us with insights into his daily life on Instagram. Adorable videos of his son aside, Chef David Chang’s cooking videos feature a good mix of dishes with eastern and western influences. Look through his videos and you will realise Chef David’s love for the microwave. So make sure you have the appliance on your kitchen counter if you are planning to recreate his dishes!
7. Thomas Keller (@chefthomaskeller)
Chef-owner of The French Laundry, Per Se and, Bouchon—Chef Thomas Keller, has brought his followers into his home kitchen through Instagram with his first video teaching culinary first-timers his favourite vinaigrette recipe.
Not only that, but he has also exclusively released the recipe of his salmon dish that is found ‘off the menu’ at one of his causal dining French-inspired restaurant, Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. Using just a pan, his salmon recipe is a healthy, quick, and easy option prepared using just two ingredients.
8. Massimo Bottura (@massimobottura)
Widely regarded as one of the best chefs in Italy, Italian restauranteur and chef-patron of three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana, Chef Massimo Bottura, goes beyond just sharing a variety of classic pasta dishes on his Instagram.
Fans of Chef Massimo will rejoice as he patiently goes through his recipes step by step in his charming Italian accent. Ranging from a simple Chocolate Chip Cookie to an Almond Gelato & Pistachio Sauce Chef Massimo’s videos will certainly keep his followers entertained and hooked to their screens. In between his cooking videos, he also shares tips and culinary knowledge on cooking methods and ingredients to master chef wannabes!
9. Christina Tosi (@christinatosi)
If you are in need of something to do every day, Milk Bar founder Chef Christina Tosi is definitely your saviour! The only chef who goes live on Instagram daily sharing with fans new bakes to add into their book of recipe, Christina Tosi’s Bake Club has, to date, more than 60 recipes for all you aspiring bakers to try.
Approximately 30 minutes long, each video showcases Chef Christina’s bubbly attitude, making them a joy to watch even if you are not intending to switch on your oven for the day. To make things more interesting, you can also play a part in deciding her next bake by voting in the polls on her Instagram stories.
All recipes shared via the Bake Club can be found online at Milk Bar’s website here. Thus, don’t worry about missing a day as you can always revisit the recipes anytime at your convenience!
10. Gordon Ramsay (@gordongram)
Our list of chefs to follow on Instagram will never be complete without the addition of the legendary Chef Gordon Ramsay! Despite his serious and unnerving attitude on reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmare, this A-list chef is in fact, a charming daddy when it comes to working in his home kitchen with his kids!
If you are in a hurry to whip up a dish in less than 15 minutes, look no further as Chef Ramsay’s recipes will be your perfect choice. Work up a storm in the kitchen and challenge yourself to complete your dish of Steak & Potatoes within 10 minutes just as Chef Ramsay did!
Here you have it, our list of 10 local and international chefs all of us at home should follow on Instagram. If there are any chefs that you would like to share with us, do leave their Instagram handle in the comments section and we will definitely check them out as well!