Restaurant helps customers cook like a pro

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Posted at 5:25 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 20:44:15-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A Liberty Station restaurant is using the power of social media to help guests learn to cook like a professional in their own kitchens.

Liberty station's Solare Ristorante’s dining room is designed for warmth.

"That's more of what Solare means, that feeling of sunshine, more than literal getting a sun burn,” owner Randy Smerik says.

Problem is, Smerik hasn't been able to serve inside for months. The dining room, now used for storage and as a wine market.

”Once I get that green light we have a bunch of work to do,” he says.

What hasn't changed, however, is what happens in the kitchen - for takeout, and the guests now being served outside.

But capacity is only about 50 percent, and the staff only half back. Still, Smerik figured out a way not only to help boost sales during the pandemic, but also to connect with customers.

Smerik and Executive Chef Filippo Piccini offer live cooking classes on Instagram on most Saturdays, right before lunch.

The classes are free, but Solare sells the exact same ingredients in a kit for $39, feeding four.

Smerik says on a good day maybe 15 or 20 kits sell, but it's not all about the money.

“These are things that kept everybody, me and my team alive, and then also importantly just engaged our customers. During the whole thing we were all there for each other,” he said.

This Saturday's course, by the way, Spaghetti Alla Norma, a pasta with eggplant.