Live From Sacramento, It’s “The Cook In”

Photography by Tiffany Lo
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the cook in

“The Cook In”—a locally produced, interactive cooking demo that enables viewers to cook along with a professional chef—will stream its season finale this Friday (Aug. 14) on YouTube Live.

A cross between a cooking TV show and a meal kit like Blue Apron, “The Cook In” is hosted by a couple of Sacramento millennials, Byron Hughes and Ryan Royster. Hughes is a chef who once worked at Chez Panisse; Royster is an entrepreneur and producer. Back in March, the pair had just launched a company called Last Supper Society to produce pop-up dinners and other events when COVID-19 upended their plans. So they pivoted to interactive cooking classes. “We didn’t know how long the pandemic would last,” says Royster. “So we said let’s figure out a way to connect with our audience without being in the same room with our audience.”

To participate, you pay a fee (usually around $40), which gives you access to the livestream demo and a box of curated ingredients to make dinner for two. In under 90 minutes, Hughes demonstrates how to make a restaurant-caliber meal as you cook along from the comfort and safety of your own kitchen.

pasta cook

The meals are complex and intriguing, utilizing cheffy ingredients and techniques. One dinner featured tomato tonkatsu ramen with caramelized pork belly, blistered heirloom cherry tomatoes, smoked tomato and burnt garlic oil, a seasoned egg and house-made noodles from Oakland’s Ramen Shop.

“We package everything you need to make the meal, but we do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of prep,” explains Royster. For instance, they smoked chicken carcasses for six hours to make the stock that went into the ingredient box for an elevated take on chicken and dumplings. “But you’re still learning the techniques and doing the knife work,” Royster says. Each episode of “The Cook In” also features a non-chef guest and a segment called “The Sip,” in which a local bartender shows how to make a cocktail or a sommelier talks about a wine to pair with the meal.

For $50, participants in this Friday’s demo will receive everything they’ll need to make Midsummer Gumbo in California, including fresh crab, shrimp, scallops, smoked tomato, Brentwood sweet corn and okra. The ingredient box will be available for pickup on Friday at Good Bottle at 1123 11th St. The live demo starts at 7 p.m.

To register, send a text message to (916) 249-3192. You’ll receive a return text with a link to purchase the supper kit.

A new season of “The Cook In” starts in late September and runs through the holidays. For more information, go to lastsuppersociety.com or look for Last Supper Society on Facebook or Instagram.

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