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Real-time cooking demos

In-house cooking classes have long been a way for restaurant chefs to connect with consumers. With the official launch of Google Helpout at the end of November, chefs and restaurateurs now have a new option to reach potential guests across the miles.

The online teaching platform allows chefs to demonstrate recipes and dole out advice via a real-time video chat. Experts are vetted by Google in an initial screening process, and once accepted, set their own rates either per minute or per session.

Kitchit, a web-based service that connects users to local chefs for at-home catering and cooking lessons, promotes Helpouts led by several of its celebrity chefs. Consumers can chat with Douglas Keane, Joshua Skenes or Lorena Garcia for $149.99 for 15 minutes. The Bravo network also has launched a Top Chef University Helpout where its former “cheftestants” offer recipe help, menu planning advice, cooking tips and more for $14.99 for 15 minutes.

Even without a larger collective, it’s easy for anyone to set up a class. Would-be instructors will need to schedule a time through the site and pay with Google Wallet. In turn, this program has the potential to attract new customers and please existing ones, adding a personal touch to service. Interested chefs can apply for an invitation to get the process started at no cost.

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