Chiang Mai is the place to take a cooking course. There's a cookery school on every corner, all claiming to be the authentic, the one and only, the best and the one 'seen on TV'. So how does one choose? I went on Trip Advisor, of course. A Lot of Thai, the cooking course I'm eventually going to talk about, was ranked #1 on the traveller recommended tours, so that's the one my husband and I booked.
We were picked up from our hotel in the old city bright and early. I knew I would like the style of this cookery school when I saw their vehicle: an old WV van painted a light blue. Absolutely stunning! We were taken, along with four young Americans, to Yui's house, as this is an unashamedly family-run cookery school, which is what makes it so special. There, we met the hostess, Yui and the rest of the group, a Catalan family of four living in Hong Kong (what are the chances!!!). We were soon assigned a cooking station in Yui's patio, given a lovely apron and we were set to go.
Yui is a natural teacher, friendly and, most importantly, absolutely adores her job. She grew up in a family of farmers and cooks and it shows in her love of cooking and eating! Yui, which translates to 'chubby cheeks' was absolutely adorable - even Gordon Ramsay has received tips from her (and some abuse too I hope).
To kick off our 6-course Thai classics course, an easy one: 'Pad Thai'. Yui taught us how to divide ingredients by 'hardness' and how we should throw in the wok the hard ingredients first and then progressively the softer ones, ending usually with the herbs which only need about 20 seconds to cook. She also told us we should put the garlic in the pan first and then add the oil to avoid charring the garlic and giving the dish a bitter taste. Another tip was how to break the egg on the side of the wok and then mix it in once it's cooked. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed smashing mini garlic cloves with my macro knife, and how concentrated do I look chopping those Chinese chives?