Bevan Smith has always believed that good food should not be complicated.
Based on that concept, the Riverstone Kitchen chef has started streaming live cooking demonstrations on Instagram, as the Covid-19 lockdown continues.
The videos started as a way to give Mr Smith a sense of purpose, while his award-winning North Otago restaurant was closed, but they had also been keeping up the spirits of hundreds of others, he said.
‘‘Everyone else is the same boat — at home and maybe going a little bit bonkers.
‘‘We thought ‘why don’t we do something where we use some of our skills, but help make people’s lockdown just a little bit more bearable, a little bit more interesting?’.’’
His focus was sharing ‘‘easy, fun and tasty’’ recipes, using ingredients people already had in their pantries. So far, that has included: hot cross buns, tomato, bread and garlic soup, hummus, apple shortcake, slow-cooked lamb and gnocchi and bread.
Connecting with people through the comments section and receiving photos of their creations had made the experience “really positive’’, he said.
‘‘We had a little 3 year old and her dad making bread — they sent us a cool photo of [them] watching the video, then making the bread,’’ he said.
‘‘That was so cute.’’
The hospitality industry faced a period of huge change and re-adjustment after the lockdown, Mr Smith said, and he feared a lot of restaurants around the country would close.
On the flipside, the uncertainty had inspired innovation beyond the traditional restaurant template, he said.
‘‘Any food business is really thinking outside the box, how they can reach out to their customers, how they can innovate, how they can change their revenue streams — and that’s quite exciting.’’
After the lockdown, Riverstone Kitchen will be open seven days a week, rather than five, to give staff more hours and make the restaurant more accessible to customers, and Riverstone Larder, in Oamaru’s Victorian precinct, will be shifting its focus to help people expand their cooking repertoire.
‘‘After this, people are going to be a lot more confident and more willing to cook from home — and we’re going to support them,’’ he said.
Mr Smith is hunkered down in rural North Otago with his partner Emma Willetts and his children Noa (14) and Jordy (13).
Aside from live streaming cooking demonstrations, he has been filling his days by cleaning, catching up on DIY jobs and exercising.
‘‘While there are a lot of challenges, we’re making the most of just getting to hang out together — and our bubble is a good place to be,’’ he said.