With time on our hands, a group of us decided to go to a cooking class in Chiang Mai. Although I loved the Thai food I was not eager to go and cook my own. It took a lot of convincing and sweet talk to get me to go. My reason: I am a terrible cook. I burn everything and what I don´t burn you have to throw away. (I am really not joking). Besides that I did not want to make a fool out of myself in front of a group of strangers. No, a museum sounded more like my cup of tea. The guys were not convinced and I didn´t win this battle. So off I went with 4 other people to cook up a storm.
Cooking lessons in Thailand are very popular. This particular class was not very cheap. If I can remember correctly we paid almost 700 Bhat. That is quite expensive. The class normally takes up a whole day and starts off with a trip to the market. This is excellent because you get familiar with the fresh produce that you will be using in your cooking class. Then the fun starts and afterwards you eat the food that you have prepared. I was very surprised at how well everything was organised. Tables were organised in a U-shape with the chef in the front.
We were 15 people and the group was a nice size. I was seated at the end with my four friends next to me.
You honestly have no idea how nervous I was. First of all we had to cook a Thai soup. It is called Tom Yom Soup.I had to concentrate on what the chef was saying, doing and in the same breath I had to prepare my own food. He was so quick and would move amongst us and give advice.
Most of the time I looked what my neighbour was doing but that slowed me down a lot. I really wanted this soup to be good.
The chef was excellent and he knew exactly which vegetables could be substituted and even suggested we have a Thai evening with our friends when we return back home. I was surprised how well the soup turned out. It looked delicious and I was very proud of myself!
Then it was time to cook the main meal and with this one I battled a little more and needed the help of the Chef. He was very patient but people were calling from all sides and I had to carry on by myself. The dish that we were cooking was called Panang Curry with Tofu.
This was particularly interesting and the chef told us to keep our cameras ready. The team on the other sides had to take photos of us and vice versa. It is a flaming wok scene and when you do it right you get spectacular flames in the air. Not enough to burn the house down but enough to make everybody go “Ooh and Ah”! Definitely a highlight amongst the students.
My flaming picture did not go well. In fact I had no flames but only smoke.
For desert we prepared sticky rice with mango. This was to die for! Last but not least we all sat together and had a feast. This was excellent and my food tasted great.
Have I tried cooking Thai food again? No but I have the cooking book and would like to give it a try some day. I believe my biggest problem is impatience and I hate standing in front of the stove watching the food.
Looking back this was a wonderful experience and I would love to do it again if I ever find myself in Thailand.
Address: 3 Soi 4, Ratchadamnoen Rd
Phone: (66-53) 270-143
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
When: April 2006