Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Lot Of Thai Home Cooking Class: A Thai Highlight

Kathy took on one particularly difficult task while planning our Thailand itinerary with Tom and Ellyn. How to choose from among a plethora of Thai cooking schools, including 20 or more in Chiang Mai alone? The school had to be sophisticated enough to interest Tom, a chef and restaurateur for many years, but accessible enough to include Brian, whose only culinary skill lies in making coffee.

She was impressed by what she read about A Lot Of Thai in Trip Advisor and elsewhere. Gordon Ramsay recently filmed with Yui, and other celebrity chefs from Canada and elsewhere have visited as well. A 2003 Boston Globe article and the Facebook page for A Lot of Thai only whetted our interest further.

Kathy e-mailed the owner,Yui, Yui replied promptly, and before we knew it we were signed up for two days of private cooking class at a cost of about $200 a day per couple, a bargain, especially when considering the quantities of wonderful food we were about to consume.

Today was our day to meet Yui. Unfortunately, poor communication between us and a bus driver resulted in our being deposited downtown several miles away, already a half hour late. We found a phone, and a helpful Thai described our location to her. Not long later Yui and her husband, Kwan, rolled up in their Volkswagen Van to pick us up.

After some preliminary chit-chat to get acquainted, it's time to start cooking. Our first dish? Why, Pad Thai of course.

Yui is tremendously organized and prepared to teach classes of 10 or more, so our foursome is a breeze in comparison. Yui's assistant lays out the ingredients and preps the cooking area while Yui herself discusses it. Yui cooks a demonstration version...

We all sample it, and then it's our turn to cook our own.

Finally, while we eat the dish, the assistant cleans up and prepares for the next round. With that kind of assistance, Brian might be tempted to continue his cooking adventures back home.

To use one of Yui's favorite expressions when tasting, Yum!

That's only dish number one. There'll be a lot more to follow...

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