A couple of months ago, my mother, sister and her two children came to visit. My mother, who has visited us in Thailand twice previously, provided an itinerary for me to look over. One of the items on the list was going to a cooking class. She not only wanted me to go with her, she wanted my wife, Alex, Nicholas, my sister and her two children to go as well. Now, I'll admit, the food I cook is barely editable and hit or miss at best. But a cooking class? Really? Me?
Now of course, because she's my mother and I want her trip to be as fun and memorable as possible, I capitulated. Why not? What's the worst that could happen? I burn everything? It wouldn't be the first time. "Okay, I'll go," I said, apprehensively.
She gave me the names of a couple of places and asked me to look them over and choose one. For some reason, perhaps because of the school's stellar reputation, I chose Amita Thai Cooking Class. Maybe the boat ride to the place had something to do with it, or maybe it was her easy to navigate website. Anyway, I made the call, told my mother, and I waited a couple more weeks for their arrival and the first cooking class of my life.
So the family arrives from Miami and day of the class arrives. We climb into the van my mother rented for the duration of her visit and head down to the Maharaj Pier where we are greeted by our boat driver. We hopped in, settled in, and made the 30-minute trip to Amita's place. Actually, the name of the school/class is Amita Thai Cooking, however the owner and woman who does the teaching is Khun Tam.
Immediately we know we are in a special place, carefully cultivated and set up to give their students the most comfortable, authentic experience possible. We are greeted at the pier by Tam and several of her staff and walked into the facility. The class takes place in the backyard of Tam's home, one of several houses that makes up a compound where her family members and staff live together.
Prior to beginning the cooking instruction, Tam walks the class through her garden where a variety of herbs, spices and fruit are grown, carefully explaining what is used in each of the dishes we will be learning to cook. In addition to taking place in a beautiful, relaxing setting, each student has their own cooking station and receives one-on-one instruction.
For this class, we learned how to make Coconut pancakes, Deep fried chicken wrapped in Pandanus leaves, Stir Fried chicken with cashew nuts and Spicy Prawn Soup. As we learned we go to taste each dish and at the end of the class, everyone sat down and ate what they cooked.
To be honest, I thought I would enjoy the class. After all, Thai food is my second favorite type of cuisine (Italian is #1) and the chance of a Thai cooking instructor allowing me to destroy my entire meal was pretty slim. That said, I didn't like the class, I loved it. Not only was it fun cooking the food, the overall experience was about as good as it gets. It took us an hour to get to the pier, a half an hour to get to the class via boat, and an hour to get back to Bangkapi. We left at 8AM and were back by 3PM and yet the day flew by. Great fun and a nice learning experience and if you're after something different, take the class!
Amita Thai Cooking
Classes given every day except Wednesday. Each class teaches four dishes and lasts approximately four hours and costs 3000 baht per student, well worth the money.
If it seems like I'm hyping Amita Thai Cooking, I am, but not because I was paid or the class was free. It genuinely was an awesome experience, not to mention a fantastic getaway.