Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, 1

The routine was generally this: pick up at hotel around 9:30, arrival at the market or the school around 10 to 10:30, brief introductions, then demonstration/cooking/eating until 3 or 3:30, and then return to hotel. Six dishes per day. In every case, first a demonstration in the classroom, then individual cooking in the student cooking areas, then eating (or, as in my case, sampling). Rinse, repeat. For a person like myself, who enjoys Thai food, it was an economical way to sample 30 classic Thai dishes, intelligently, insightfully, with all meals included. Plus, with Chefs Garnet and Pon, it was the most fun I've ever had cooking or learning about cooking. I'd recommend it without hesitation.

Classes in my case ranged from 5 to 12 students, mostly Europeans, a few Chinese and Korean, one other American over the five days. Well, two, including Vicki, who attended one day. Most, I'd guess, had no more than casual experience in the kitchen (like me), although a few seemed a bit more experienced. Classes were conducted entirely in English, although both Pon and Garnet were multi-lingual...Thai, English, French, Chinese. And entirely conversant about cooking and cuisines in other cultures. Earlier in her career, Garnet had been a chef at the Raffles Fairmont in Singapore, doing mostly Continental cuisine. Go to for more information.

The dishes included in the five day course were:

Day 1: Hot and sour prawn soup (Tom Yum Goong; my personal favorite), green curry with chicken, fish cakes, fried noodles, minced pork northern style, water chestnuts with sugar syrup and coconut milk
Day 2: Panaeng curry with pork, Chiang Mai curry with chicken, fried fish with chili and basil, sweet and sour vegetables, spicy glass noodle salad, black sticky rice pudding
Day 3: Chicken in coconut milk soup (Tom Kha Gai, another favorite), red curry with fish, fried mixed mushrooms with baby corn, fried big noodles with thick sauce and pork, papaya salad, steamed banana cake
Day 4: Yellow curry with chicken, steamed fish in banana leaves, chicken with cashew nuts, fried big noodles with sweet soy sauce, spicy prawn salad northeastern style, bananas in coconut milk
Day 5: Clear soup with minced pork, spring rolls, red curry with roast duck, chicken with ginger, chicken in pandan leaves, mango with sticky rice

I started with Day 4, and Vicki came in for Day 5. Oh yes, at the conclusion of each day, students received a copy of the glossy school cookbook, with all the recipes, plus much other information on sauces, curries, ingredients, utensils, techniques, and more.

For the blog, I'll just include some more representative or favorite pix...
Every dish/lesson demonstration began with a mis en place...and
explanation; and sometimes tasting of more exotic items

My fried big noodles

Part of one of the two student cooking areas

How to wrap banana leaves for steamed fish

With my own chicken in yellow curry creation

In addition to the six dishes, there was much instruction on
the little extras that go into fine cooking

My spicy prawn salad; a considerable upgrade from my previous so-called
Bangkok shrimp cocktail

How to cut a tomato rose (sculptured fruit and vegetables
are a hallmark of Thai cooking)

Vicki's beautiful tomato rose

My disaster of a carrot tree

Pandan leaves, grown everywhere, unexceptional in taste and aroma until they
are bruised or torn...then...vanilla!

How to wrap a spring roll

How the dish is supposed to look

How mine looked

Vicki watching the demonstration

Me assisting the demonstration (as if...)

Sculpting a mango

The finished mango with sticky rice

Friday (Day 5) lunch: chicken with ginger, red curry with roast duck, and mango
with sticky rice; washed down with a Singha

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

This looks so fun! Quite impressive!