Best Bangkok cooking schools
It wasn’t that long ago that Bangkok’s cooking school scene was defined by just a handful of pricey hotel-bound sessions, all of which dealt strictly with Thai food. Today there’s a huge range of prices, locations and cuisines to choose from.
Keep in mind when choosing a school that a typical half-day course should at least include an introduction to fundamental ingredients and techniques and a hands-on chance to prepare and cook at least four dishes.
Most schools offer a revolving cast of dishes, making it possible to study for a week without repeating a lesson and Thai courses often include a visit to a wet market. Nearly all lessons include a set of printed recipes and end with a communal lunch where you get to sample your handiwork.
At the more expensive schools, students are also usually given an apron, a gift box filled with Thai cooking ingredients and a certificate that’s sure to impress your friends, even if it doesn't land you a job at El Bulli.
Ready to learn? Here are 10 great cooking courses in Bangkok that offer a wide range of cuisines and styles.
Amita Thai Cooking Class
Amita’s lessons are held in an antique canal-side home in Thonburi, making it the homiest of Bangkok’s Thai cookery schools. Classes include an explanatory visit to the resident herb garden and instruction in four dishes, with the fee including transportation.
162/17 Soi Wutthakat 14, Wutthakat Road, Thonburi. Tel: +66 (0)2 466 8966. www.amitathaicooking.com. Lessons: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday. Price: 2,800 baht/lesson.
Baipai Thai Cooking School
With an army of staff and set in an attractive suburban villa, Baipai offers two daily lessons that each teach you how to make four dishes. See the website find out which ones are on offer on which days.
150/12 Soi Naksuwan, Nonsee Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 294 9029. www.baipai.com. Lessons: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. Price: 1,800 baht/lesson.
This upscale Italian restaurant now offers conference-style classes in Italian cooking. Instruction in three recipes is followed by an executive chef lunch and a wine tasting.
146 Soi 4, Soi Thong Lor. Tel: +66 (0)2 392 1881. www.beccofino.co.th. Lessons 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday & Saturday. Price: 1,500 baht/lesson.
One of Bangkok’s best upscale Thai restaurants is offering private tuition in Thai cooking, taught by the restaurant’s chefs/owners. Held on Saturdays, courses vary in skill level, with the Fundamental Plus course featuring a visit to a market and the Turn Pro course tacking on an additional Sunday session.
42 Soi Rongnarong Phichai Songkhram, Soi 26, Sukhumvit Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 260 2962. www.bolan.co.th. Lessons: 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday. Price: 3,900-8,200 baht per course.
Blue Elephant Cooking School
The longstanding Blue Elephant is Bangkok’s best-equipped cooking school. Two courses are offered daily, with the morning session featuring a visit to a local market and the afternoon session including a detailed introduction to Thai ingredients.
233 Sathon Tai Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 673 9353. www.blueelephant.com. Lessons: 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m. & 1:15 p.m.-4.30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Price: 2,800 baht/lesson.
This attractive restaurant compound recently opened a cooking school with instruction in Thai, Indian and Japanese cooking. Lessons are taught by natives of those countries, and there’s also the option of the chefs teaching private lessons at your home.
Face, 29 Soi 38, Sukhumvit Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 713 6048. www.facebars.com. Lessons: 9 a.m.-noon, Wednesday-Friday. Price: 2,500 baht/lesson.
Khao Cooking School
Khao San Road is the least likely place one would expect an authentic Thai cooking school experience, but Khao was started up by an experienced authority on Thai food and features instruction on a wide variety of authentic dishes. Come for regular daily lessons or arrange for private tuition.
D&D Inn, 68-70 Khao San Road. Tel: +66 (0)89 111 0947. www.khaocookingschool.com. Lessons: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 2:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Price: 1,500 baht/lesson.
Television personality-slash-restaurant owner Mrs Balbir offers courses in Indian cooking from her Nana-area restaurant. Lessons span three Saturday sessions and a total of 12 Indian dishes, ranging from savory to sweet. There’s even a cooking course for maids, taught in English or Thai.
155/1-2 Soi 11/1, Sukhumvit Road. Tel: +66 (0)81 835 6553. www.mrsbalbir.com. Lessons: 2 p.m.-6 p.m. every Saturday. Price: 6,000 baht/course.
Oriental Hotel Thai Cooking School
Bangkok’s poshest and most expensive cooking school is located across the river from the Oriental Hotel in an antique wooden home. Lessons here feature a daily revolving menu of four dishes, with much of the ingredient preparation done in advance and the cooking done in groups.
Oriental Hotel, 48 Oriental Avenue (Soi 38, Charoen Krung Road). Tel: +66 (0)2 659 9000. www.mandarinoriental.com. Lessons: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. & 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Price: 4,000 baht/lesson.
Silom Thai Cooking School
This casual, home-based cooking school crams a visit to a local market and instruction of six dishes into nearly four hours, making it the obvious choice for those on a budget. Transport is available.
68 Soi 13, Silom Road. Tel: +66 (0)84 726 5669. www.bangkokthaicooking.com. Lessons: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. & 1:40 p.m.-6 p.m. daily. Price: 1,000 baht/lesson.