If you’re an enthusiastic home cook, Phuketindex.com would highly recommend The Blue Elephant Cooking School. If you take one look at the dishes taught in half-day sessions, you’ll immediately want to sign-up. If you want to learn about Thai cuisine, a class at The Blue Elephant is certainly the best place to start.
Although the emphasis is on authentic Thai cooking at The Blue Elephant’s cooking school, many dishes uncover slight influences from other cuisines. The class the Phuketindex team attended struck a balance between the two. On the agenda was Keang Ka-Ree Koong Subparod (Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple) and Yam Som O (Grapefruit
The Blue Elephant’s Phuket location is in the restored Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion on the Krabi Road in Phuket Town. The interior is an oasis of calm. Heavily polished floors and teak furniture are refined and welcoming.
The course begins, with a trip to a local fresh market. Every stall is busy with the activity of buyers examining produce and haggling over cost. In the bustling market our class is, not surprisingly, a bit of a spectacle. We block the paths between vendors as we position ourselves to hear the instructor’s discourse on the various herbs, vegetables and pastes available to us.
Back at the school, armed with a beginner’s knowledge of Thai produce, we begin our lesson. The teacher’s assistant hands out copies of our recipes the chef begins demonstrating in the bright, airy exhibition kitchen. We observe every movement on the counter and are encouraged to jump in with questions. When questions were asked, the instructors respond quickly and in detail, peppering their answers with titbits on the history and techniques of Thai cooking. After each demonstration we stand in a semi-circle around the preparation table to taste the chef’s creation and are, again, encouraged to ask questions. The open discourse and casual sampling of the food creates a sense of camaraderie within the class.
We then file into the well-stocked kitchen to try our hand at each dish. Despite the clear instructions and a team of assistants overseeing our work, we manage to blunder in our recreation of the recipes. The experience of working in the pleasant kitchen is enhanced all the more by the knowledge that I will not be called upon to wash a single dish.
At the end of the class, we find ourselves hesitant to leave the kitchen and return to the hot chaos we know awaits outside. The school seems to have anticipated this, and invites students to eat their creations in the restaurant’s dining room, only after filling our arms with a certificate of completion and a bag of Blue Elephant-branded spices and seasonings.
Although The Blue Elephant is an international organisation that now boasts restaurants in locations around the world (including Paris, Moscow and Dubai), the value it places on the cooking school is evident. The quality of ingredients, the thoughtful design of the space, and the shared knowledge of experienced chefs make the experience one that I would happily repeat. In the end, The Blue Elephant Cooking School easily wins us over, and we will jump to recommend it to other enthusiastic cooks who will be traveling to Phuket.
A half-day course at The Blue Elephant Cooking School is priced at 2,800 ++ Baht (approximately 100 USD/70 Euros). Course descriptions are available on the school’s website.
Blue Elephant Governor Mansion Cooking School & Restaurant
96 Krabi Road, Tambon Taladyai, Amphur Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 354 355 & +66 (0) 76 354 357
Fax: +66 (0) 76 345 393