Today we skip breakfast to leave room in our bellies. The shuttle arrives at our hotel and we introduce ourselves to our fellow travelers. These are our classmates for the day at the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School.
Before arriving in Thailand, we secured spots online and selected five dishes to learn. Each student will prepare a curry, a soup, a stir-fry, a noodle dish, and a dessert. The classes are intimate (10 students).
Our first stop is an open-air market. Boonie, our English-speaking teacher is an animated young Thai woman. She urges us to touch, smell, and inspect our ingredients as we weave through the market stalls. We then continue on to the farm.
Upon arrival, we follow a path to one of two open-air kitchen/classrooms. We pass a class that's in session and hear laughter, chatter and the sounds of dry ingredients being pounded in a mortar and pestle on their way to becoming curry paste.
This is a true farm to table experience. Boonie walks us up & down the garden rows stopping to pick fruit or to show us the roots of a plant. We soon have fingers that smell of sweet lemongrass and are stained yellow from fresh turmeric root.
In the classroom, we each pound, stir, slice, fry, and boil our way through our five courses while taking time between each lesson to sit outdoors & eat our dishes.
At the end of the day our bellies are filled with farm fresh food, our minds with newfound knowledge and our hearts with gratitude for this culturally immersive experience.