Chiang Mai is arguably the cooking school capital of Asia, with the first cooking school opening its doors here in 1993, and the hundreds of other schools having taught the basics of Thai cooking to generations of tourists ever since.
Locals, however, have struggled to find cooking classes which offer more than the template Thai favourites. You can find government run cooking classes, but they are in Thai and aimed at vocational training. There are occasional celebrity or high profile chefs offering classes here and there, but for those of us looking to learn the basics of cooking a multitude of disciplines, cuisines and techniques, there has been a dearth of options.
Or so we thought! Until we discovered Limeleaf Kitchen’s Cooking Workshops by Chef Chris Richards-Jones.
British Chef Chris was classically trained in England and France and spent many years working on private yachts. He brings his decades of experience to Chiang Mai, having built a bespoke workshop kitchen where he offers one-day classes on a smorgasbord of dishes from Wednesdays to Saturdays. (Sundays you can pop in for a Sunday roast, BBQ and salad buffet.
Citylife joined Chef Chris’ pasta workshop recently and now will proudly claim ourselves pasta masters! On a hot hot day, we sighed blissfully as we entered the air-coned workshop surrounded by a charming little garden and sighed even louder when we realised that there was a support staff on standby to help us with the most pesky – and painful – of processes.
Garlic was pre-chopped, herbs and spices prepared and all important tools presented at each individual workspace as Chef Chris took us through the mixing of the dough, the kneading…the process. We made sauces, we made pastas, we put them together…and we beamed.
At the end of the day we left the workshop satiated from the sumptuous lunch Chef Chris cooked for us as well as gleeful of the goodie bags of lasagna and pastas we got to take home.
The workshop programme is constant, and Chef Chris is open to suggestions. You can join his many courses which range from The Art of Salad to British Pub Classics; Indian Summer to An All Italian Journey; Buen Gusto Catalan to – our next class – A Day with Chocolate.
Whether you are a beginner in the kitchen or a pro, Chef Chris can offer you something new to learn in an exciting and fun way. Come alone, bring some friends, or take over the entire workshop and make a special occasion of it.