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A Half-Day Cooking Course
of Thai Food

The Four Seaons Chiang Mai Resort and Spa opened the Lanna Cooking School. The stunning school is set amid tall trees and a flowing stream. The Resort's culinary team is led by Thai Cuisine Chef & Teacher, Pitak Srichan. An intensive six-day program has been created from Monday to Saturday between 9.00 AM to 2.00 PM. Daily cooking modules feature: Spicy Salads, Traditional Soups & Noodles, Savory Rice and Sweet Desserts, The Secret of Thai curries, Thai appetizers and Tasty Vegetarian. Five mouth-watering dishes are taught each day. Students can also learn to carve fruit and vegetables.

Each morning, students are invited to participate in spirit house blessings by Kanitta Srithuma the Cooking School Coordinator. The contents of the spirit house are explained after which each person lights incense and makes a silent prayer. Most students ask for the spirit's blessing on his/her success during the cooking course.

The introduction to contents of a proper Thai kitchen layout starts at the moment entering the cooking school. Traditional food items and utensils such as the mortar & pestle, clay pots and storage baskets are beautifully displayed throughout the interior of the school. There are six cooking stations which could accommodate up to 12 persons. An awesome decoration are the fume exhausts looking reminding one of ceramic kilns hanging down from the high ceiling. Just the dramatic effect one would expect from the elegant Four Seasons Chiang Mai.

Each student is welcomed with an apron and led to sit around the chef/teacher's "desk" which is a sizable food preparation area. For an all around experience, a special menu was selected for the class : Yum Hua Plee or Banana blossom salad; Tom Kha Gai, Spicy Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk; Gaeng Kiew Waan Moo, Green curry with pork in coconut milk, Laab Gai, Minced Pork and Chicken with Shrimp fillings for Krathong Thong pastry cups and Tuptim Grawb or Tapioca with Water chestnuts in coconut Milk.

Chef Pitak introduced himself as a man who has cooked and traveled the world from a young age of 18. He worked for many years in the middle east, Germany, Marianas Islands and of course in neighboring countries southeast Asia. Chef Pitak's culinary expertise and heartwarming personality sets the stage for a happy and busy morning of culinary experience. He explains and demonstrates the cooking techniques of each dish. Herbs and spices used commonly in cooking have medicinal properties. As ingredients are used each is discussed for qualities of taste and color plus health benefits known through age old folk medicinal.

The chef recommended that the popular grashai be sliced paper thin to recognize the flavor and enjoy its particular health benefit when eaten. As the lesson progresses, Chef Pitak gives an insight into intriguing Thai traditions of life-style through the food culture. It's surprising in such a short time how much students can learn and gain confidence in their newly learned cooking skills. The staff of the cooking school are attentive and helpful when arranging the cooking utensils and proportioned amount of ingredients for each dish.

At the end of the session, it is time for students to enjoy the delicious food they prepared while sitting on an elevated open air balcony over a rushing mountain stream, the sense of accomplishment brings a smile to each face. Chef Pitak hands a certificate and encourages each one to continue preparing the wealth of Thai food for family and friends.

To find out more about the Lanna Cooking school phone to Ms. Sangwan Sapma, Public Relations of The Four Seasons Chiang Mai Resort & Spa Tel. 053 298 181.

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