The thought of creating authentic Thai cuisine could be intimidating to some, but with courses offered by professionals, cooking can be made easy.
Wandee Culinary Art School is well-recognised for being the first Thai cooking school accredited and approved by the Ministry of Education to offer a complete Home Economics course. Established in August 1993 by Wandee Na-Songkhla, the school has also been approved by the Ministry of Labour as an institute for cooking personnel working abroad.
“Our main objectives are to create standards for Thai recipes and to provide the correct methods of cooking,” says Na-Songkhla. “We offer hand-on cooking classes for beginners and to those who want to enhance their knowledge of authentic Thai cooking. We encourage students to be creative in the kitchen. Some of the real practices include preparing ingredients, cooking or carving, flower decoration and serving etiquette.”
Na-Songkhla also suggests potential substitute ingredients easily found in grocers, which is especially useful for those working abroad. “Of course, not everything can be replaced but nowadays Thai dried herbs and ingredients can be found just about anywhere, which makes it a lot easier to cook authentic Thai dishes,” she says.
According to her, what distinguishes the school from other cooking institutes is its adaptability. “The curriculum here is flexible so learners can choose what and when they would like to learn,” she says. “We offer private lessons and group classes. In addition, the curriculum has served as a model for many cooking institutes.”
Students also have opportunities to train at Thai restaurant as well as working overseas upon graduation. “Many of our graduates have been recruited by Thai restaurants abroad, such as restaurants in Sweden, Malaysia and the UK. We are proud to be a part of promoting Thai cuisine to the world,” she says.
Apart from the Ministries of Education and Labour, the school also works closely with the DITP. “The school has been granted the ThaiSELECT logo, which guarantees that we only offer authentic Thai cooking classes, and the ingredients used for preparing dishes here are authentic as well,” she explains.
Courses are available to both local and international chefs. “Our international students come from many countries, mostly from Japan,” says Wichuda Na-Songkhla, Deputy Managing Director of Wandee Culinary Art School. “Japanese people like the art of food – from selecting fine ingredients, to preparation and serving – which is in common with the preparation of Thai recipes. In addition, they appreciate the art of fruit and vegetable carving.”
According to Wichuda Na-Songkhla this year the school will add food paring classes. “The courses will help students to identify which foods go well together,” she says. “Food pairing is rather a new topic and can help enhance the flavour of the dishes. I believe it will be useful for our students.”