GTPulse: Owners of Glen Arbor’s Blu Stream Live, Home Cooking Classes
When I last wrote about Randy Chamberlain he had just served his 10,000th duck confit at Blu, the restaurant he owns with his wife Mari Chamberlain in Glen Arbor. Every year they close the waterfront, fine dining establishment to take a break towards the end of Winter. The vacation time is in preparation for reopening shop fresh in the Spring. Needless to say, the couple didn’t expect to be away from Blu this long. They’re biding their time while entertaining locals with a weekly cooking series they’re streaming through Facebook Live called #TogetherAtHome.
“There has been very little planning, preparation or schedule. I guess the only thing that has been consistent is that it’s happening around 5:00, 5:30 at night,” Randy said.
The live streams are a fun, and informative way to stay engaged for both viewers and Randy and Mari. They started as a way to pass time and keep connected to fans and patrons of the restaurant. The streams are off of Blu’s page, and this is the first time Randy has delved into Facebook Live and been in the public eye in this way.
“It’s a different element at home. I get nervous and it’s awkward. I think what keeps it going is the fulfillment I see and the response that I see from other people. Pictures of people making what we’re doing. I enjoy working on the fly, opening the fridge and just making something.”
The dishes at Blu are very different than the ones Randy and Mari are making at home. Between the two of them, they’ve made attainable recipes like stuffed shells, bread, a french omelet and a soup that is simply called Mari’s Soup.
At around 30 to 40 minutes each, the videos are a realistic time frame for cooking dinner. The Facebook Live aspect of it allows viewers who are watching in real-time to ask questions as they follow along, but nothing being made is too intricate for the home cook.
“My ingredient list is much different at work than it is at home. If I want something to go on the menu in an hour I have a range of different ingredients at the restaurant. At the house, especially now with maybe going grocery shopping once a week, it’s very limited and I might be putting things together and just hoping it will be good.”
A humble chef, as well as a good one, the follow-along recipes have received rave reviews from old and new fans of Randy and Mari’s. Viewers post comments and photos of their finished products and thank the Chamberlains for their recipes and sharing a spot of their quarantine life at home together.
It’s not all fun and kitchen games, however. Randy, like all small business owners right now, is working to figure out the next steps for his business and how to protect it.
“We can clearly see that we’re not going to be able to re-open the restaurant when we had planned to, which was the 10th of April. We can clearly see that this is going to go much longer, we can clearly see that our business model and all business models across the board are going to be much different than they were before. Those things are very unsettling, very unknown.”
A personal coping mechanism Randy is using is staying busy at the house with projects like painting, drywalling, and the cooking classes. He doesn’t know how many more he and Mari will do, but the distraction is welcome.
“It’s turned out that I’m providing, as insignificant as it may seem, some of that relief to other people.”
Any act of care, kindness, or distraction is a relief to have in these strange times. If you missed out on the cooking live streams, no worries, they’ll be on Blu’s Facebook page. If you’re looking for a distraction, look no further than dinnertime #TogetherAtHome with Randy and Mari.
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