Hands on learning, delicious fresh food
I adore Thai food – it is fresh, fragrant and full of textures. I eat it a lot, but I don’t really cook it. With the exception of pad Thai or satay chicken, I have always steered clear of cooking Thai, for fear of messing it up. So when I was offered the chance to take a Thai cookery class at Food Sorcery, I bit their hand off!
Food Sorcery is based at the Waterside Hotel on the Didsbury/Cheadle borders- just a short tram ride from Manchester city centre and easy to find from the M60. The school was set up by Helen Jack and Mark Seymour Mead three years ago because they had a vision for a fun, social space where people could learn how to cook and have a good night out. It certainly worked!
Food Sourcery is a great venue – with plenty of huge windows, ample workstations, a demo station and a lovely communal dining area.
It was a full class when I was there, with 13 of us in total. I was really impressed with the range of people who turned out on a very wet Saturday night to learn Thai cooking. There were middle aged foodies (urm, me!), couples, families (wow, I wish we had that option when I was 16), a student and a group of young women. We all had our own cooking station and everyone got on and had a laugh.
Learning Thai cooking
Chef Chorchaba Harper was our teacher for the night. Brought up in Thailand, her aunt taught her many of the fantastic recipes in her repertoire. She is a super funny lady, with am impressive array of facial expressions! She was ably assisted by Sarah who ran around after her (they were a comedy double act!), and two young staff members who made sure we all had the right pans at the right time and did all of the washing up. Angels!
There were three dishes for us to learn: tom yum soup, yellow curry and sweet and sour veg. Together a perfect starter, main course and side.
I found Chorchaba’s teaching really easy to follow. In fact, after her explanation, I kicked myself for not trying more Thai food in my kitchen before – she makes it very straight forward to follow.
The tom yum soup was made in a few short minutes because Chorchaba had already made fresh chicken broth for us all. So once she’d explained why not to use stock cubes, which aromatics to add (and when), we nipped over to our stations and made some soup. I loved the idea of chopping the prawns into pieces, not something I’ve ever seen in tom yum before, as it meant each spoonful had some in. Also Chorchaba suggested adding a bit of rice to the bowl first if you need it to be a slightly more substantial dish.
The yellow curry and sweet and sour veggies were next. And no, I won’t be giving the skinny on how to make them – otherwise you’d never sign up for a course¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . But needless to say, when I tried Chorchaba’s paste v the ‘good’ shop bought one, it really was a no-brainer. She did advise to cook the paste out and then batch it up so it was ready to use in a hurry which I thought was an excellent idea.
After all that cooking, we finally got to sit around the table together and eat. Food is such a conversation starter, and there was no end of chat. There was no end of leftovers either so we all got to take doggy bags home. And I can confirm that Andrew loved it too the following day.
There are a huge variety of classes available at Food Sourcery. In fact, if a Thai cookery class is your thing, they have a tonne of Thai classes because Chorchaba has lots to share! There are also Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, BBQ, bread…even barista classes for coffee lovers! Some classes are three hours and you take your goodies home. Some are longer and you linger and eat together like we did. You can also take a corporate group – much better than a day in a conference room! Prices start around £85 and I think that this particular course was £100 which for four hours I think is a good price.
I had a great time, and have already suggested that Santa could give me Food Sorcery vouchers for another Thai or Vietnamese class next year! Thank you Food Sorcery for having me and thank you Chorchaba for a great session.
Food Sorcery. Waterside Hotel and Spa, Wilmslow Road. M20 5WZ. 0161 706 0505