Washington-based pastry sous chef Cody Fitchett is bringing his expertise to area kitchens through his new virtual baking classes.
“Bake with Me” is a one-on-one video conferencing class that helps clients master recipes they’ve been wanting to learn but weren’t sure how to try.
“[It’s] a really great opportunity if you’re stuck at home,” said Fitchett, 23. “This is my way of helping the best I can through food.”
A 2014 graduate of Central High School in Woodstock and Triplett Tech in Mount Jackson where he pursued culinary arts, Fitchett went on to study at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
He was working 60-hour weeks at A Rake’s Progress restaurant in Washington, D.C., until a few weeks ago.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the restaurant to shut its doors, Fitchett returned home to Fort Valley.
He said the idea for the virtual classes came to him after he and a coworker made bagels together while on a video conference call. Fitchett posted his idea for the classes to his Facebook page and received interest from friends who approached him with recipes they wanted to try.
A week after posting the idea on April 15, he already had six or seven classes scheduled.
One client wanted to make a family recipe for ricotta tart — a first for Fitchett, too. Another client learned to make creme brulee, and an upcoming mommy-daughter class will center on making a birthday cake.
“This is your class, I want it to be about you,” Fitchett said. “It’s all about what you want to make.”
Classes range in cost from $20 to $40 depending on how complex the recipe is. Most classes last from 60 to 90 minutes, he said, but one of his recent classes took three hours from start to finish.
Fitchett sends clients a recipe packet that includes the recipe, instructions to use during the conference, and directions on how they can make it again on their own. He gives them a grocery list of ingredients and an equipment list if anything special is needed, such as a torch for creme brulee.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said it’s not always easy finding ingredients, and he’s been amazed to learn how quickly items like flour and yeast sell out of grocery stores.
“I think [people are] baking now more than they ever have,” Fitchett said.
They’re home, they’re looking to fill their time and they want comfort food, he said.
Through teaching others, he said it’s offered a learning experience for him as well.
“I’ve learned to become a better teacher, and to take things slow,” he said.
Having learned a lot about cooking from his great-grandmother Pauline Fitchett, he said he’s dedicating his classes to her memory.
“She was at the heart of my culinary journey,” he said.
Once the pandemic ends and he can get back to his job in D.C., Fitchett said he plans to continue offering online classes when he can.
“There are a thousand different opportunities within the food world,” he said.
“I’m all about becoming more of a well-rounded chef. Half of it is cooking, but also half of it is teaching.”
Contact Cody Fitchett on Instagram at chef_fitch, through his website chefcodyfitchett.com or by calling 540-335-0652.