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Long Island chefs hosting free virtual cooking classes

Chef Marc Bynum leads viewers in virtual cooking

Chef Marc Bynum leads viewers in virtual cooking classes via Instagram. Credit: Daniel Brennan

What does a chef eat when he gets home from a long shift? For chef Marc Anthony Bynum, it’s pork and beans, a childhood favorite he’s spent most of his adult life perfecting and had on the menu of his now-closed Farmingdale restaurant Hush Bistro.

He can also tell you how to make it, via his Instagram page.

“I like to keep it delicate,” he said during the IGTV episode, explaining why he avoids metal spoons when stirring the beans, to which he adds ample hot dogs as well as white onions, brown sugar, homemade barbecue sauce and fried bologna.

With restaurants closed or severely curtailed in operations, many chefs with extra time on their hands have channeled their reflex to teach and share into instructional Facebook and Instagram lives, most of them focused on comfort food, from how fried chicken to lobster pot pie to mole rojo. 

There’s James Beard-nominated chef Guy Reuge, of Mirabelle Restaurant in Stony Brook, making the pizza-like Alsatian tart flammkuchen in his home kitchen; chef Stephan Bogardus of The Halyard in Greenport tackling clafoutis — just in time for berry season — in his, or Bynum showing you the ropes of collard greens made with bacon and coconut milk. 

In Oyster Bay, chef Jesse Schenker is conducting virtual cooking classes for couples, complete with a box of ingredients you pick up from the restaurant. 2 Spring. While this experience costs $300 per couple, the classes listed below are free; some are scheduled weekly and some impromptu, and are archived in an array of places, from Facebook to Instagram to YouTube.

Chef Marc Anthony Bynum

Streams at: Instagram, @chefmarcbynum

This chef’s cooking classes predate COVID-19; he's been posting them to YouTube for over a year under the moniker Cooking in Color, from instructions on how to cook buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken to the basics of ramen, a particular passion of his. Lately, Bynum has been putting in long shifts as a chef at a Suffolk County hospital, but continues to share his know-how via informal Instagram lives and IGTVs, where he’s recently shared videos on cooking collard greens and sweet potato purée, bacon hash and his late-night favorite, pork and beans. “In the next few weeks I want to do pastas and breads,” Bynum said. Along the way, viewers might pick up pointers on styling a plate or whether or not to save your cooking oil.

Chef Stephan Bogardus of the Halyard in Greenport

Streams at: 4 p.m. Sundays via Instagram, @halyardgreenport

Halyard executive chef Stephan Bogardus greets you from his home kitchen on the North Fork to share his basics of approachable dishes and techniques such as a classic omelet, Thai-style curry sauce, the basics of pickling or clafoutis, a French dessert that suits fresh berries like a glove. Some of the videos are on Facebook but all are broadcast live on the Halyard's Instagram account and then archived there (, under the highlight “Livestreams”). If you’re the drinking kind, check out beverage director Derrick Erwee’s corresponding cocktail-making classes on Saturday at 4 p.m. 

Chef Guy Reuge of Restaurant Mirabelle in Stony Brook and Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor

Streams at: Mirabelle's Facebook page

This French-born chef and multiple James Beard award finalist invites viewers into his very chill home kitchen (virtually, of course) to learn the basics of the Alsatian-stye savory tart flammkuchen (also on the menu at Mirabelle), roasting a chicken or chocolate mousse. The “Learn to Cook with Chef Guy” videos are mostly posted on the Mirabelle Facebook page, though at least one (flammkuchen) is on Reuge's own Facebook page — where he has, like many of us, confessed to falling in love with sourdough baking.

Chef Stephen Rosenbluth of Anchor Down Seafood Bar & Grill in Merrick

Streams at: Chef Stephen Rosenbluth's  Facebook page

Horseradish crusted salmon? Lobster roll? All in a night’s work for chef Stephen Rosenbluth, who speaks the language of seafood fluently at his Merrick restaurant (as well as the seasonal Cardoon in Seaford). The classes last about 20 minutes and have recently shifted from Thursday to Saturdays to accommodate the meals Anchor Down cooks and delivers to a hospital. Next up? “People keep asking for crab cakes … I think I’ll do them,” Rosenbluth wrote in a text message.

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