Updated: Jan 3
I eat a lot. So naturally, that means I would be an amazing chef. Similar to how me walking up a flight of stairs without dry heaving makes me an Olympic athlete. I tried my hand at a cooking class in Chiang Mai since, apparently, that is the motherland* of Thai cooking. After reading a few blogs, I chose Mama Noi Cookery School. You can reserve online, which is handy.
I picked a full day cooking fiesta but I have to say, half a day would have been perfect. By the time the second part of the day rolls around, you are stuffed like a pig with an apple in its mouth, so you can’t enjoy the last few yum yums as much as you would like. You can take your leftovers to go, they give you a little baggy and capture air in it so it looks like you just bought a goldfish. My hostel in Chiang Mai didn’t have a kitchen but that hot Thai sun certainly acts like a microwave if you wish to re-heat your meal. The other thing about the full day, was that the dishes you make in the latter part of the of the day aren’t as thrilling as the main morning dishes. We did a simple spring roll and dessert in the afternoon.
The day started off at a market where one lady explained a few herbs, then we drove to the school. After seeing the words vegetables that are ripe and ready to be be picked and used in the dishes that you are taught to prepare and numerous photos of apron clad people standing in the eco- garden on their website, I was somehow under the impression we would be shown some ingredients from their cute little garden on the school’s premises. Not so much. A gal I met went to Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School and she said that the explanation was quite good and they showed actual examples straight from an actual garden, actually. Mama Noi has high volumes of people. We were trucked in and then separated by language (English, Mandarin). I had a slight feeling they were just churning out the same routine every day, which is exactly what they do. Once I put on the colourful apron, this mild feeling dissipated.
The instructors were HAlarious (this is how I used to think this word was spelled because it’s logical), upbeat and fun. Some main ingredients like chicken are pre-cut for you but most veggies and everything else you need to chop yourself (they give you a cartoon- sized cleaver to do so).
I think salt is spicy, so I asked during the lesson how to make my dishes milder. The teacher advised that I put a dash instead of a dollop of certain ingredients and no jalapenos. Even with the bare minimum spicy add-ins, the sweet and sour soup scorched my face off.
I have to give credit to the Thai people for the amount of prep work and ingredients they have in one dish. Coming from someone who thinks using four ingredients (oil being one of them) in a dish is excessive, when I learned Pad Thai has 14+ separate steps I was flabbergasted.
I ended up being more of a Chef Boyaredee instead of a Chef Julia Child since I added too many salty fish crunchies to my Pad Thai but other than that, my dishes turned out good despite me being a mediocre person.
FUN-filling day all in all.
*I have no idea if this is true