My wife had heard from a friend that the Blue Elephant Cooking School was not to be missed. Even though we're on a tight budget and this was definitely out of it, we decided to attend anyway. We arrived at 8:30am and our host and his assistant took us to the morning 'wet' market, taking the time to show us the ingredients they use. It was very helpful that his English is that of a born-American (even loquacious) but he is also fluent in Thai, Chinese and French. We've been to lots of local markets and love the assault on our senses - our host took the time to explain how to choose the vegetables, herbs and spices and what health benefits each offered.
Once back at the beautifully-restored former Governor's mansion which serves as their restaurant and cooking school, we were offered chilled fruit drinks while we waited for them to complete their set up. The break was short and we were ushered into a light and well-air conditioned room that had school-type desks and a long kitchen counter/island that wrapped around one of the corners of the room. At each of our places was a folder that had the recipes we were going to cook that day plus a very attractive embroidered chef's apron, that was ours to keep.
We got started right away. At the counter/island were portable single-burner stoves and trays with all the ingredients in neat glass bowls. There was a cutting board, knife and skillet so each 'student' got to do everything themselves. The 'teacher' cooked as well, allowing us to see how she did it and when a dish was finished, we sampled what she had cooked. The dishes we cooked were labeled with our name and taken away. Once all four dishes were complete, we were shown to a table in this absolutely beautiful restaurant and served what we had cooked.
I'm not a particularly big eater and any one of the dishes we made would have made a satisfying entree for me. Still, I was able to do justice to what I had cooked. It was very good although not as good as the what the teacher had made.
I learned a lot and had a fantastic time. Even though I couldn't really afford it, I still think it was an exceptional value.
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