One of Thailand’s most famous dishes – Pad Thai
Cost: 1500 THB (full day cooking course)
Inclusions: Accommodation pick up, market tour, cooking class, 6 dishes, lunch, complimentary water and tea, recipe book)
The Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School is a fantastic experience for foodies in Thailand. Although a lot of Thai cooking schools seem to offer a fairly similar menu (they always feature Thai favourites like Tom Yam and Pad Thai), the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School differs in a few ways. 1) the cooking school is outside of Chiang Mai in a countryside setting, 2) the majority of the produce used is from the cooking school’s farm and 3) the produce from their farm is organic.
I enrolled in the day course, 2 and 3 day courses are also available. What impressed me straight away was the high level of organisation. Groups that attend the cooking school are picked up from their accommodation and driven to a local market in Chiang Mai for a tour. Our guide Garnet, took us through the stalls highlighting some of the key ingredients used in Thai cooking, the ingredients we would need to cook our six course meal, as well as explaining the flavour principles of Thai cooking: salty, sweet, sour and spicy.
Our lovely guide Garnet
After the market tour we made our way to the cooking school and farm, located on the same property. I loved the fact that we could see the ingredients we would be cooking with first hand, and in some instances, even pick them. It allows you to familiarise yourself with new ingredients and commit a visual to them, so when you go back home, you know exactly what you’re looking for.
Our ingredients all laid out for us
After the farm tour we were all allocated our cooking stations in the large and breezy alfresco cooking space and got to work. Another great thing about the class was the level of detail and structure. On the car ride in we filled out our menu forms, choosing the dishes we wanted to cook that day. At the farm, the dish ingredients were sorted and left out for each student. The school also caters for vegetarians and vegans.
Ingredients at the local market in Chiang Mai
In terms of the actual cooking, Garnet would demonstrate each dish at her station first and then we’d follow suit . She would pop past to check on us and answer any questions but for the most part we worked quite independently. See the full menu and tour below in images.
A gardener at the farm
A papaya tree at the farm laden with bounty
Thai pickled garlic at a market stall
Delicious, ripe fruit at the local market in Chiang Mai
Organic ingredients picked straight from the farm
Ingredients for tom yam with shrimps
Tom Yam with shrimps close up
Stir fried chicken with basil
Spring rolls – just fried
Spring rolls are served
My favourite Thai dessert – mango sticky rice