Poco's great adventure 2009 - 2010 travel blog

Dinner at Master Thai Chef Cookery School

On our way to the market. Cooking class at Smart Cook School

Making red curry paste

Some of the ingredients for Chicken in Coconut Milk soup

Soup is cooking

Pad Thai

Papaya Salad

Poco on the chopping block


Chiang Mai is similar to other areas of Thailand with the number of courses that are offered. Many people come to Thailand to learn Thai massage, Muay Thai, or Thai Cooking Classes. For those who have a great deal of determination, you can enrol in a 10 day silent meditation course. That sounds like too much of a challenge, so not a course we will be enrolling in. Learning Thai Massage certainly has a number of benefits, but requires at least 10 days, so will not be fit in to this trip.

As Cory and Elaine seem to really enjoy Thai food, they decided to take a cooking course at the Master Thai Chef Cookery School. They signed up for an evening course and it turned out they were the only two students. The course was 700 baht each, or around $23.00 Canadian. They felt quite fortunate because normally a private course is 3,000 baht per person with a minimum of 2 people. Chef Suriyan flew through the instructions, and Cory and Elaine got the feeling that he really wasn’t that into it that night. He had a very dry sense of humour and spoke English with quite a strong accent so some times it took so much effort to concentrate of what he was saying, that most of his humour was lost on us.

However when the instruction was over, they sat down and enjoyed a meal of hot and sour prawn soup, fried chicken with cashew nuts, pumpkin and chicken in green curry, fried noodles (also called Pad Thai), and sweet sticky rice with mango. It all looked so good, and Cory and Elaine certainly seemed to enjoy it. They seemed quite pleased that they had created these dishes.

With very full bellies and a copy of Master Chef Suriyan’s cookbook they were driven back to their guesthouse.

There were a few other dishes that Elaine wanted to learn how to cook, and Cory wanted practice in eating, so they chose another school for a full day of instruction. There are so many schools to choose from in Chiang Mai it can be a difficult decision. They chose Smart Cook School because Katharine and Jessie had recommended it. We met them at Nice Beach resort in Ko Lanta.

Mae was very welcoming and friendly and speaks excellent English. We made our way to the school. It was very nice that it is in walking distance of our guesthouse. Our day started with a tour of the local market for ingredients. Mae did an excellent job of explaining everything, plus advising us on what substitutions we can use when we get back home. Pumpkin is available year round here, and is used in many dishes. It can be in a soup, a main dish, or dessert. It is really quite versatile, and I am sure that next fall, Elaine and Cory will be freezing a bunch.

We got to choose 7 dishes. There was a pocket on Elaine’s apron, so I got to watch and help her make spring rolls, chicken in coconut milk soup, papaya salad, Pad Thai, red curry paste, chicken in red curry, and pumpkin in coconut milk. There were a total of 6 in the class if you include me. It was an excellent course, and I also got to watch as Mae helped some of the other students prepare other dishes. Elaine, Cory and I headed home at the end of the day with another cookbook, and a lot more knowledge.

Of course I had to pose for the obligatory photo, and as I have come to expect I was placed face up on the cutting border with a cleaver being held over my head. I am fairly certain now that Elaine is just having fun, and she really isn’t serious about causing me any harm.

I hope so, because I think we have a trip planned to Tiger Kingdom tomorrow.



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