Ours is a truly authentic Thai cooking school, hidden from mainstream tourists. But Carolina found us and experienced real Thai culture and professional Thai cooking. She was the first one in my cooking class who cooked 3 authentic Thai old school food dishes in a day. And by saying authentic Thai, I really mean real old school Thai cuisine, which were Central and Southern Thai dishes and a really old tasty Thai dessert. So I would say she was dripping in culinary Thai culture.
"On the trip information provider's website there are more than a hundred Thai cooking schools in Chiang Mai. Most schools have thousand of reviews. But how in one day in a normal cooking class can you make up to 5-8 dishes? That can't be right or I probably will not learn anything from that class", said Carolina.
"I'm one of these people that believe that the quality of the food is directly related to the quality of the ingredients, that a good soup is made of a good stock.
That a good stock doesn't come in boxes and it takes hours to prepare...
I'm interested in learn more about ingredients, food components and fundamentals."
Carolina's first e-mail to our cooking school
So for the trip up here in Chiang Mai, the city of Thai culinary excellence, she chose to cook, learn and experience with Ton Gluay, Thai Culinary Heritage. It was my honor to have her in my house and it was my pleasure to teach her what real Thai culture is.
I was really looking forward to teaching her because the dishes that she chose were super Thai dishes. No one has gone out from tourist familiarity this far before. However, my concern was that it would be too much work for her in one day because Thai cuisine is very delicate and could take sweet time to work on. And the reason I said yes to her class was because of the statement she gave "I could work very efficient and fast". Plus the statement on her first e-mail to me told me that I have to give the lady what she craves. So I have faith in her. But only faith is not going to work here if you know what she has been through in our cooking class.
For example, she scraped coconut flakes out from the coconut shell for 2 kilograms. After that she used all her grip strength to squeeze out nice, creamy coconut milk for almost 4 cups. Plus she made her own two different kinds of Thai fresh curry paste, which were southern Thai curry and Thai red curry paste. After using her hands very nice and strong with the mortar and pestle to make Thai curry paste, she managed to make exquiste banana baskets for the fish cakes, which required nice and gentle hands. And that was just an example. There were loads more. And if she wasn't professionally trained with a very big passion, it wouldn't have happened.
A short impressive story which shows how down to earth she was and how she really dipped herself in Thai food culture. While she was having the food she made I took out a dish called "Nam Prik" which almost 99.99% Thai people have in their houses but is still unreconised by outsiders. The one she had was Nam Prik Jaeo Boong. And the peak point of the story that impressed me greatly was that she ate all of what was in the little bowl I gave her. Thank you, Calorina and your husband. You made my day :)
She was making these 3 dishes
Once the class started, I knew for a fact that she could handle this because the way she works with the knife was telling me that she is a professional. Yes, the cuisine might be really different for her background but she is a fast learner that makes things go easier. I would say if it wasn't her who willingness to work hard and be a really good student, we wouldn't have finished the three gorgeous Thai dishes. So, really, thank you that you are willing to learn Thai culture and be a truly remarkable student. Thank you :)
This is a group of food obsessives who plan their day/month/long trip around food, always looking for new local nuanced flavours and ingredients to fill their happy tummies, unleashing of their self awereness. They don't plan or expect things in the place they experience to be designed around them. They want to experience the authentic life style. Well this seems to be a lengthy opening line and I guess that is because having them in my house was such a good time.
At the very first, their requested dish was Khao Soi (the creamy northern Thai noodle soup). But other Thai cooking classes that they went to before they came to me got them ready for the next challenging cooking process. Plus, the other, homogenous schools are too timid to teach something as bold and challenging as real authentic Thai food, such as Sai Ua. On the other hand, I'm open to teach any authentic Thai food they request and that's how I got to welcome a group of lovely people in my wee lovely house. And the Sai Ua is on for the day.
Yummy food never gets too complicated, in my opinion, but takes love, care and practice to get the food out nice. However, this group of people handled the northern Thai saugsage dedicatedly and quickly. All processes were done in the real local way. Especially, some of them added more chillies to their own saugsage, simply because they love it spicy. But yet, they still wanted to know if it could get hotter. Way to go guys!! At one point, one of them asked me "Why did I bring loads of pig intestines?". I simply replied "You will need it later on". However, all the preparation for pig intestines was done nicely. No one seemed to get why there were still loads in the bowl until they put the herby pork filling, marinated Nothern style, into the case. Baam! some of them had soft hands but some didn't so they needed a new case or just had to go with the shortened version. After the first person broke their case, the rest were extremly careful with the work in their hands. That was easily the best scene of the day for me. They were not only a very bubbly group of people, but they also came with a sound track like in the movies. They kept humming songs along while they were cooking but when someone broke their work the theme song got more excited. hahaha How could I not be happy teaching them and having them around me?
The process was done nice and yummy. It was a great day for teaching and learning. I have to say, thank you for being in my class and painting my class with joy and sincerity.
Ms. Warangkana Masanga
Past Class's Dishes