Phuket is now the number one choice for people who want to learn how to make authentic Thai food. There are many cooking schools to choose from, and there are courses to suit complete beginners to more advanced students. These classes also offer a great chance to socialize, have some fun, and learn a bit more about the local culture. Of course the main attraction is that not only do people learn how to make delicious Thai dishes, but they also get to eat their creations.
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Cooking Classes in Phuket
There are a number of cooking schools to choose from in Phuket including:
Phuket Cooking Academy
Phuket Cooking Academy is located in Amphoe Talang which is about 22km (14 miles) from Patong. This school attracts Thai students as well as foreign visitors, and this is a good sign that what they are teaching is authentic. As well as teaching adults they also provide special cookery courses for kids. The most popular course offered to tourists is their Basic Thai Food Course. This costs 2,750 THB (as of early 2013) and lasts for five hours – a certificate and other gifts are awarded at the end. There are three set menus which each contain 6 items; different set menus are taught depending on the day (see their website for more information). The school is also able to provide instruction in more specialized areas such as chocolate making and flower arranging.
Pum Thai Cooking School
The instructors at Pum Thai Cooking School have a real passion for what they do, and this means that students will usually have a great experience. This school is located right beside Patong Beach, and it is part of Pum Thai Restaurant – they have also opened similar operations in Chiang Mai and Koh Phi Phi. One of the really nice things about this course is that they have many options for what people can learn, and the instructors are always willing to be flexible to ensure that students can get the most out their lesson. The courses range in length from 30 minutes (Pum’s Mini Me where you get to learn how to make one dish for 399 THB) to classes which are over 6 hours (Pum’s Grand Chef which costs 6,000 THB). One of the most popular courses is Pom’s Little Wok which includes a trip to the local market and instruction on how to make 4 dishes – this course lasts up to five hours and it costs 2,000 THB.
Boathouse Cooking Class
The Boathouse is a popular restaurant that offers cooking classes on the weekend between 10:00 and 16:00. It costs 2,200 THB to attend lessons for one day and 3,500 THB for two days. This restaurant is renowned for having some of the tastiest Thai food on the island, so this is a good opportunity to learn a few of their secrets. Those who attend this course get a certificate, apron, and a free lunch.
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Blue Elephant Cooking School
Blue Elephant Cooking School can be a good choice for beginners, but this course may be of most interest to those who are serious about learning how to make Thai food. The Blue Elephant is part of a chain of restaurants with branches all around the world, and they have a good reputation for high class food with tasteful decor. This branch in Phuket Town specializes in Thai royal cuisine, and this is what they teach in their school. The prices for their courses (as of early 2013) are: 2,800 THB for a half day course, 5,000 THB for two half days, right up to 14,000 THB for 7 half days. Private classes begin from 5,000 THB to learn four dishes, and if people are looking for advanced tuition they can pay 75,000 THB for the Professional Chef Private Course. These sessions will usually run from 08:30 until 13:30 and instruction is provided by a professional chef.
Pat’s Home Cooking Classes
Pat’s Home offers home style Thai cooking in a friendly and relaxed environment. The school is managed by Pat Tienthong who moved to Phuket from Bangkok. She lived in the US and speaks fluent English – she is also a professional cook. Pat is very flexible in the way she teaches; she is able to provide instruction at her home in Phuket Town, or at her B&B in the mountains above the city. She likes to keep her classes small and intimate, so there are never more than 8 in a group. The contents of her course will depend on the needs of her students, but it will usually involve a trip to the local market as well as cooking. Pat is also able to teach traditional Thai fruit carving.
Phuket Thai Cookery School
Phuket Thai Cookery School opened its doors in 2003, and this means that it is one of the longest running – they claim to be the original and the best. This is certainly the school that has the best location, as they have their own private beach on Sirey Island. They also offer a good range of courses (7 courses as of early 2013) that are fun as well as instructional. Students get to travel to a local market, and they will usually make 5 items during the day – all of their courses cost 2,900 THB, and this also includes round trip transportation to and from the person’s hotel (some parts of the island, such as Naiyang Beach, are not covered by this offer for free transport).
Kata Thai Cooking Class
Kata Thai Cooking Class on Ket Kwan Road in Karon is a friendly school that offers short courses on Thai cooking. They offer two classes per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and each class lasts 2 to 3 hours. All of these courses cost 1,600 THB, and that is pretty good value. The morning class on Monday through to Thursday also includes a trip to the local market. They also have a blog where they occasionally provide some free recipes.
Organic Thai Cooking School
Organic Thai Cooking School is a relatively new addiction to the list of schools in Phuket – they just opened last year. One of the unique aspects of this course is that they take students to their own organic garden where they grow vegetables without using any toxins. The classes are kept deliberately small (never more than 3 people), so that students can get the most out of the experience. The school is located in Rawai, and they are able to arrange transportation for people staying in other parts of the island. They offer a 6 menu morning course for 2,400 THB, and a 3 menu afternoon course for 1,300 THB (prices correct as of early 2013).