It is safe to say that one of my primary motivations for living part-time in Thailand is the availability and affordability of meals that someone else other than myself has prepared. “Domestic disaster” doesn’t seem to quite cover a past that has included the fire department being summoned during an attempt at boiling macaroni in the Cayman Islands, self-induced food poisoning from undercooking beans in Panama, and a long history of misidentifying cucumbers and zucchinis just about everywhere.
But just as my palate has slowly expanded, so too has my interest in matters of the kitchen. Over time, I’ve become interested in eating a little bit healthier and a little bit more naturally, and with that comes the curiosity of knowing what is going into your food, and the desire to be able to modify it. It’s been a slow journey. Luckily, I keep dating men who love to feed me.
Ian got that love of food from his parents. And so when they came to visit us on Koh Tao, we knew it was the perfect time to check out one of the island cooking classes. While there are a fair few available on the island, most are casual affairs that can be arranged upon request at popular restaurants on the island. There’s only one formal cooking school with a dedicated training space, take home menu booklets, and custom embroidered aprons that are the hallmark of cooking schools across Thailand, though this one comes with Koh Tao’s hallmark laid-back vibe.
Wrangling our friend Janine to join us for extra emotional support slash chopping mentorship, our group of five descended on the school on afternoon around lunchtime.
Definitely plan on a class like this replacing at least one meal. If there’s one thing I learned from my last Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai it was to avoid eating for anywhere up to a full week beforehand. (Not that I actually follow that advice — I can’t recall the last time I went more than three hours without eating that didn’t involve sleeping or hospitalization.)
Our fearless leader Mo and her assistants walked us through the motions of making one stir fry, one spring roll, and one curry, each of which we ate as it was prepared. As you can see, some of the ingredients we used came as a surprise.
I was surprised to see a full calendar of classes on the wall — Mo keeps very busy! If you’re coming in high season, it might be worth booking ahead to reserve your space on the chopping slab.
Koh Tao being Koh Tao, I was very impressed by the facilities we used. However, this is still a tiny thirteen square mile island where life moves a few paces slower than elsewhere in Thailand, so don’t expect the formality or organization of large-scale tourist cooking schools in cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
Do expect to have a laugh and leave full, though.
In the past, there was little to absolute zilch to do on Koh Tao when it was raining — believe me, I’ve been hosting and heartbroken during weeks with no sun! I love that Koh Tao Cooking Class offers an option for something to do when the weather isn’t exactly beachy.
At 1,200 baht it’s certainly several times more expensive than your average Koh Tao meal, however it’s also a couple hours of entertainment. When we inquired, the class times we were offered were 10am-1pm, 1pm-3:30pm, and 4pm-7pm.
Have you been to a cooking class in Thailand? Tell me where and how you liked it!
Koh Tao Cooking Class did not request this review. I was a paying and happy customer.