Thaikhun Cooking School Visit: May 2016
Thaikhun is pronounced “Tycoon” both a homage and celebration to the street food sellers in Thailand. Owner and Chef Director Kim Kaewkraikhot started out with a small restaurant in Bangkok. Establishing a renowned reputation for fantastic fresh flavours which has enabled Kim to introduce the UK to the true Flavours of Thailand. Opening their first Thaikhun restaurant in the heart of Manchester city centre on the 26th May.
Thaikhun at Manchester’s Spinningfields offers people the opportunity to participate in a Thai Cooking School to test out their culinary cooking skills under the guidance of a skilled chef.
Approaching the venue you feel excitement and spark and for a brief moment you forget that you are based in Manchester city centre, as the venues exterior featuring a terrific tuk tuk parked directly outside transports you to the streets of Bangkok, but all minus the expense of the airfare and bother of carrying baggage! The Thai word ‘Khun’ means ‘your’ this definitely summed up the welcome. It is not a case of “them” as employees and “us” as customers, it is about “we”. A place to feel relaxed and at home. Warmly welcomed by the lovely Roisin Finnerty, an employee that understands the ethos of the organisation. Relaxed, informative, friendly and importantly provided genuine service. An asset to the organisation and really represents the brand brilliantly.
The bar area had been pre-prepped for guests arriving, including a welcome folder that included full recipe sheets, which we were able to takeaway, detailing the dishes that we would be making. Tables already featured tasty Thai prawn crackers with a scrumptious sweet chilling dipping sauce. While we dipped and crunched our way through the Thai crackers, Roisin prepared our welcome Virgin Mojitos. Many venues over sweeten virgin cocktails, but these were prepared correctly, well balanced and Fresh. The informal introduction was perfect for guests to mingle before heading off together into the kitchen. Excitement peaked when we were all handed our ‘chef attires’ which included a chef hat and pro apron. This really gets you in the mood and makes you feel part of the Thaikhun Team! Health and safety talk was delivered well and now it was ‘Thai m” for cooking.
Donned in chef wares we were all ready and raring to experience some Thai action. This started with the creation of Por Pia Gai- chicken spring rolls. Pom our lovely chef and instructor was perfect offering a good balance of professionalism, humour and friendly fun. Poms method was to teach rather than preach demonstrating processes and then letting us loose to attempt our Thai cooking challenges. This delivery makes you feel part of the experience rather than just an on looking observer.Guests are involved in the full end to end process from the prep, woking and spring roll rolling! My plus one Mark cut the carrots the size of shards, but Pom gracefully guided him in the right direction, so we could create chicken spring roll perfection! Rolling the spring rolls was a lot of fun, as you can see from the pictures, even Pom looks both shocked and surprised that we managed to produce and roll out the goods! However, it is not a surprise as we had excellent tuition from the number one Pom!It was a rare and unique experience to get behind the scenes and let loose in the Kitchen where Thai time became fry time! Pom did not dominate and instead assisted us to delicately direct our chicken spring rolls into the fryer. We crossed our fingers that they would make the grade and that it would not be an epic fail. Pom had faith and really made you feel proud of your achievements. Challenge one starter completed and passed, after a break, chicken spring roll indulgence and light refreshments we moved onto the main course the classic Thai green curry.
Geang Kiew Wan Gai – Thai green curry started with Pom educating and guiding us through the Thai ingredients also allowing us to taste test prior to prep. Learning a lot about Thai ingredients, again Pom kept things light hearted, but informative. Sensible that ingredients such as onion had already been pre-prepared. This did not detract from the experience and allowed participants more time to engage and learn about traditional Thai ingredients that they had perhaps never been introduced to before.
A highlight was creating our very own Thai curry paste. Fully hands on we used the pestle and mortar and grinded our way to curry paste success! After Poms fabulous teaching, I may even be brave enough to put this new found knowledge into practice and give this recipe a go at home. What’s the worst that can happen, if I fail I know where Pom and the team are and I would welcome any excuse to visit them and taste their tantalising Thai cooking.
During the course of the Thai cooking school we all had grown from cooks to chefs! Clearly down to being motivated and inspired by Pom. The pictures demonstrate our increased levels of confidence. Myself demonstrating that I was top of the wok. The ladies had time for a hand on the hips moment, as they clearly had things under control and Mark pictured getting the thumbs up and approval from the Thaikhun team represented everyone’s achievements that day, we all walked out of the kitchen like pros!
For our hard work and efforts we were rewarded with the most fabulous goody bag. Usually organisations use this as an opportunity to bombard you with printed literature, most of which heads straight to the recycling. However, this was not the case the goody bag was of top quality. They included a traditional Thai bottled beer, a tuk tuk stress ball, a tuk tuk keyring, a pen, a £5 Thaikhun voucher all presented in a lovely cute canvas branded bag.
The finale was getting to sit down and enjoy our Thai green curry culinary creations. As a group we shared our thoughts and key moments about our experience and also this sparked memories and conversations about past and future Thai travel adventures. This was a really nice touch and represents what Thaikhun is all about. Bringing people together, sharing experiences, feeling at home while enjoying delicious and yummy authentic Thai food.
Luckily, we also had the opportunity to stay on and sample some of Thaikhuns delicious cocktails. These are not included within the cooking school, but can be purchased off the menu for an additional cost. Full moon £7.50 Sweet but yet refreshing! Vodka and orange liqueur with watermelon, apple and cranberry with a drizzle of Midori. An enjoyable drink to sip while your imagination transports you to a Thailand Paradise under a fantastic full moon. Thai Takeaway £8.50 Ketel one vodka and Captain Morgan spiced rum with handpicked basil and mint leaves shaken with pineapple and lime juice finished off with a dash of coconut cream. Need I say more, this Thai takeaway really does pack a punch. Street Sipper £7.95 Tanqueray No.10 gin simply mixed with passion fruit and orange juice served to sip from a plastic bag. The cocktail is served in a plastic bag and not a glass, as this subtly represents the Thai theme and culture of resourcefulness.
Our Traditional Thai Foodie Journey sadly had to come to an end. I can now see why the Tuk Tuk is static, as no one would ever want a taxi to take them away from this Thai paradise.
Khop Khun Kha (Thank you) for reading 🙂
Brief details of the class:
Location: Thaikhun Manchester– 3 Hardman street, The avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HF
When: Second Sunday of each month
Time: Cooking Class starting at 11 am – 1 pm (approximate).
Availability: Limited places available.
Price: £50 per person
Welcome Drinks reception
Introduction to Thai ingredients.
Demonstration and practical hands on sessions.