This was a full term one on one Thai cooking class and
covered the most beautiful dishes from around Thailand.
I was really looking forward to teaching Michael, who had planned his trip one year before his arrival. On the very first day that he sent me an e-mail asking if I could teach him in a year. I said to myself "Yeah, these are my kind of people". The man with the plan! And that was my first impression of him. If you have been working here in the Thai system for long enough. I'm sure you would understand how appreciative I am to finally meet a student who planned well.
What was more, his requirement was "I would like to learn how to cook like a local Thai". He opened it up for me to put anything on the 3 month long schedule. I had mixed feelings of "I'm excited to really educate him like a fully local Thai" and "how can I design the course that match with him personally?" I e-mailed him a lot to get to know his style of food better. Not long after I sent him the first schedule we agreed on the dishes we enjoyed the most. Whooopeeee, this is wonderful! So I did not hesitate to take this magnificent opportunity to teach in-depth cooking full term, filled with local dishes which I'm sure are less likely appear on a restaurant's menu.
My first guess was that he must be a chef on vacation and wanted to gain some more deep local Thai cuisine knowledge. But it turned out even better; he is a man who is passionate about food. How far did his passion go? He spent 3 months here, and cooking was his main activity.
This was our first month: Northern Thai cuisine. We started in the beginning of the month. I mean, why not start by giving him a good example of the food he will be having or seeing more often during his stay here in Chiang Mai. In a way, it was hard for him to eat out after he ate his own Northern food because the food that he made was far too good. So, sorry. I didn't mean to ruin it for him ;P
With Michael, he has great cooking fundamentals already. That helped us to really learn the essentials of Thai cooking such as: the culture/history behind each dish; the Thai cooking process; the Thai taste; and to cook like old school Thai people. In his very first month of the Thai cooking course, his whole day was filled with delicate hand work and went from one process to another to make the perfect dish. Of course the cooking basics are similar but not completely, so it keeps the class interesting for us.
At the end of the first month, he was cooking a lot of central Thai food which he found pleased his tastes more than food from the beginning of the month. That made me feel like I was flying because I'm a lady born and raised in central Thailand. Nailed it! :)
This was our first month. My feeling after actually teaching him was kind of mixed. He was really open minded. He was willing to learn Thai culture through Thai food. He also excepted the differences. That was more than I could have asked for. And I would say, that was the key to life for the modern era. I know I was going on about how good this class was because it really was. Yes, there were some difficulties, but that was because we both just got to know each other and it was getting better every day we met.
He made in his first month
This was our 3 month long class, and Michael learned a lot in his first month with me. He was very open and keen for the different things in Thai cuisine. He had shown me that he was suitable for this opportunity. It happened to be the time where one of my relatives, in my village down in Nakhonsawan, was to be ordained as a monk. So I approached Michael with an idea to learn how Thais cook in such a religious ceremony in the Thai boonies. And he said yes to it! So here we went to my farmhouse.
He made one dish called "Nam Prik Nam Ya" which can be found only in central Thailand, as a part of the ceremony. He made the dish for the village, a massive portion, with tons of onion slices, chillies, and roasted peanuts. The people in the village said he has mastered it. They loved his work!
Michael did everything like I used to do when we hosted such a ceremony in the village. We started the day in the very early morning, about 5 am to get fresh ingredients that are needed for the dish, all in local fresh Thai market style. Even though, the market was different for Michael, he was such an energetic person when it came to selecting the finest ingredients.
Despite the fact that Michael could only say hi in Thai and Thais in the village struggled to say hi to him in English, hand in hand they helped each other to make the dish for the ceremony. There was no barrier stopping anyone from sharing kindness once the hearts were opened. In the cooking chaos, preparing half a dozen meals for people, I couldn't stop smiling when I seen everyone trying to help Michael cooking his dish. I couldn't have asked for anything more than Michael getting to experience the realness of Thai culture and it turned out to be one of the most magnificent times we ever had.
Love & kindness & sharing & respect
Ms. Warangkana Masanga
Past Class's Dishes