We spent a fabulous half day today with Air learning all about Thai cooking, plus lots of tips and techniques to help us when we get home. We can thoroughly recommend Air's cooking class. It is very professionally run and the cooking school is absolutely spotless.
We started the day when Air picked us up from our hotel in his special truck. He took us to the local food market and showed us around. This was fascinating. He has a lot of knowledge (owned and run his own bistro for many years as well as an extensive background in tour guiding) and imparts this with humour and passion. I particularly enjoyed seeing the fresh coconut cream being pressed. Air was kind enough to buy us a portion of the local Chiang Main sausage (delicious by the way!) as well as some pork scratchings to nibble on as we made our way around the market.
Afterwards we had a bit of free time to wander about the market whilst Air quickly picked up a couple of ingredients for our dishes and then it was onto the cooking school. Air gave us an informative tour of his garden, pointing out herbs and veges that we were able to touch and smell. Then it was into his open air dining room to have a cup of tea/coffee/beer... it was a little early for beer for us but we appreciated the offer!
After a bit of time talking through the recipes we were going to make (chicken and coconut soup; clear spicy seafood soup and stirfry chicken with holy basil) and then it was time to head into the kitchen. Air provided us with aprons and recipe books (that we were free to keep and take home) and we got to watch his assistant chef whip up each dish, taste it and then cook it ourselves. Air took photos of us cooking so we didn't need to worry about getting our cameras out. It was brilliant!
By the end of the time we had produced 3 dishes each and were ready to gobble them up, so we headed to the dining area again. Air joined us and we had a great chat over lunch, learning all about Air's varied and interesting background. Air even gave us tips for what we could do on our spare day in Bangkok (he had been a tour guide there for a while) which we really appreciated!
After our delicious (and substantial) lunch it was time to head back to our hotel. Air offered to drop us somewhere else if we wanted to visit a temple/shops etc but we were ready to let the yummy lunch digest as we lazed by the hotel pool.
We left Air's Thai Culinary School armed with a wealth of new knowledge, a renewed passion for cooking and the feeling that we'd made a new friend in Air. Thank you Air for such a wonderful day. We will definitely come back when we are next in Chiang Mai and we will 100% recommend you to all our friends. Next time I hope you will teach me to make Larb Gai!
Sophie and Blair
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