Food Network launches #WeCook initiative

(The Kitchen: Quarantine Edition)

With Americans now self-isolating at home, more people are doing something they might not normally do: cooking.

In response to the global pandemic and the cooking-at-home trend, Food Network recently launched the #WeCook initiative, which aims to create an online community of at-home and celebrity chefs through social media.

Celebrity chefs and personalities like Valerie Bertinelli, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Ree Drummond, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli and Robert Irvine have all participated, whether it’s by providing recipes with “pantry pull” ingredients (meaning ingredients that are found in the pantries of the participating chefs), cooking demonstrations, interactive Q&A sessions, friendly challenges, games and more.

Fans are encouraged to join in on the culinary action by using #WeCook to get a glimpse of their favorite chefs and other fans at home.

“Food is an essential ingredient in the best of times, and during these unprecedented times is proving to be even more essential than ever before,” said Food Network president Courtney White in a press release.

As part of #WeCook, chef Michael Symon has gone live on Food Network Kitchen’s Facebook page every day for the past 24 days, offering viewers a nightly cooking class made with pantry-friendly ingredients (which are posted ahead of time so viewers can prepare and cook along with Symon). To date, the #SymonDinners series has amassed more than 12 million views.

The co-hosts of The Kitchen - Sunny Anderson, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey Zakarian -- remotely joined in the first-ever quarantine-edition of the show on April 4 to share recipes and cooking tips.

The wildly popular Food Network show Chopped sparked the #ChoppedChallenge, where Food Network stars challenge themselves and fans to cook from a mystery bag of ingredients. Celebrity chefs like Marc Murphy, Ted Allen, Amanda Freitag, Scott Conant, Maneet Chauhan and Carla Hall have all participated, along with non-chef celebs like gamer Ninja, actor Devon Sawa and television personality Wells Adams.

In addition to the #WeCook campaign, Food Network has also released new Zoom backgrounds on its site that can transport users from their living rooms to the sets of their favorite shows like Chopped, The Kitchen, Guy’s Grocery Games and more.