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Chef teaches through ‘Distant Dinners’

Chef teaches through ‘Distant Dinners’
Chef teaches through ‘Distant Dinners’
Louisville chef James Coogle sears thick pork chops in his Crandall kitchen during a recent Facebook airing of “Distant Dinners w/James Coogle.” Photo by Meleah Phillips-Coogle
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

With a lot more downtime at home, many people are finding new and inventive ways to spend their newfound free time. Many have taken up new hobbies, including cooking.

Because of the pandemic, James Coogle, a Crandall resident and the executive chef at Noosh Nosh in Louisville, has taken to social media to offer Distant Dinners.

Distant Dinners is an idea thought up by Meleah, James’ wife. Created as a page on Facebook under “Distant Dinners w/James Coogle,” the couple creates weekly live videos showcasing a new recipe each week and encourages people at home to cook along with him.

The meals aren’t just average dinners, either. James aims to use common ingredients to show that it is possible to make unique and new meals with a lot of things people have at home. Past dinners include seared pork chops with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted haricot vert with cherry tomatoes and a mushroom cream sauce. Another week they cooked a creamy, pesto and shrimp pasta with blistered tomatoes. James aims to bring restaurant quality meals to homes.

“We know people feel stuck at home and would love to go out to eat one night here and there,” Meleah said. “We are trying to give people something to do and show them you can still have those quality meals at home and that you don’t have to be a chef to do it.”

The couple posts the menu, ingredient list and prep items needed on Monday evenings to the Facebook groups. Then, each Saturday at 5:30 p.m., James cooks live with anyone who wants to watch or participate at home. Meleah operates the recording and relays any questions about the process or recipe back to James for him to answer.

The videos stay on the page for people to go back and view if they want to cook the meal at a different time.

“We love when people post the photos of their meals at home and tag us,” Meleah said. “It’s great because it might inspire others to cook at home and not just feel like they have to eat the same thing every night or order out a ton.”

James has recently been called back to work at Noosh Nosh, so the live cooking date will change. Meleah said they intend to poll the followers on the page to see what works best for them.

“I don’t see the restaurant industry going back to what we were used to anytime soon,” Meleah said. “However, we can turn things to a new normal and bring these offerings to your home and, hopefully, share a meal together while we can’t share a table.”

To follow along with previous meals and to see upcoming menus and future live cooking videos, you can find the page at