Tantalisingly Thai – Discover the secrets of Thai cooking at Olivio restaurant.

olivio

Much more than just a cooking class, Thai Spice at Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort and Villas’ Olivio restaurant offers a rich and interactive immersion into Thailand’s world famous gastronomy, renowned for its artistry and balance between the four very unique flavours of salty, sweet, spicy and sour.

Select either of the two culinary programmes and you’ll learn about Thai cuisine’s cultural significance, health benefits, indigenous ingredients and cooking equipment, as well as convenient replacements to use when you are back at home. Choose from a select menu of authentic regional dishes from across Thailand, and cook your favourites in a step by step class at Olivio restaurant, situated right alongside a quiet area of Chaweng Beach, with amazing views across the translucent and perfectly turquoise sea.

Chef Chay, who originally qualified in electronics at a technical college, has been the chef at Olivio restaurant since it first opened, in 2003. He has a charismatic personality, with a great sense of humour. He jokes that he cooks great Thai and Italian food (having learnt the authentic Italian cuisine from an expert chef), but can also fix thekitchen blender or stereo!

olivioHe firmly believes in keeping Thai food in its traditional and authentic form. No ‘fusion’ of cuisines blurring the lines for him. He leads the two Thai cooking programs on offer that come under the cooking school name of Thai Spice, so you will get a very real exposure to genuine Thai dishes, with the correct ingredients and utensils used for the preparation and cooking. Cooking lessons with Chef Chay are never boring, you will learn a lot, whilst also having fun!

The Chilli Package program offers the most comprehensive immersion into the whole Thai cuisine experience, and starts with a visit to the Bangrak fresh food market. Chef Chay will show you around, and introduce you to the authentic Thai spices, local fruits, vegetables, meat and fish on offer. He will explain how they are used in Thai cuisine, and answer any questions you may have. The market is particularly popular with locals for its many types of fresh fish which are all caught locally by the fisherman that live right next door. During the market tour, you will get the opportunity to have a local Thai cooling drink, and have the possibility to purchase items. You won’t be actually buying the food that you will cook when you return, as you need to choose your dishes at least a day before, so that all the ingredients can be ready for you when you get back from your market trip.

On the return journey from the market, you will stop at Big Buddha temple where you get the opportunity to explore and ring the many different bells at the summit. A perfect spot for a photo opportunity. Chef Chay will teach you a little about the Buddhist culture, and you can wander around the market stalls below that sell predominantly Thai souvenirs and clothing.

olivioOnce back at Olivio, you get a chance to freshen up before getting stuck into preparing your chosen dishes, all under Chay’s expert direction and instruction. You will prepare four dishes; an appetiser, a soup, a main course and a dessert. There is also the possibility to add more dishes, but make sure you select this option when booking. Amongst the many Thai favourites that you can choose from, are delicacies such as Tod Mun Goong (deep fried prawn cakes), Tom Kha Gai (chicken in coconut milk soup), Gaeng Penang Moo (red curry with pork) and Guay Buad Chee (banana in coconut milk).

After your tasting session, you are presented with a certificate, a new apron and all the recipes on a CD. So, no excuses for not continuing to perfect your new-found Thai cuisine repertoire. The Basil Package program is very similar, but doesn’t include the very informative and worthwhile trip to the market and temple.

Normally secrets are best kept to yourself. But occasionally you come across some that are just too good not to share. So learn the hidden secrets of Thai cuisine with Chef Chay. Join one of the two programs on offer and have lots of fun and gain wonderful lasting memories as well as impressive new skills. When you get home, you can show off your new-found knowledge and know-how and enjoy entertaining your family and friends.

Karan Ladd

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 1500.
www.baanhaadngam.com