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Professional-Level Culinary Schools in Thailand?


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11 replies to this topic

#1 morphone

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 11:26 PM

I'm headed to Thailand soon, and I'd like invest a week or two in a pro-level chef training course while I'm there. I found one school in Bangkok called the Blue Elephant, but I'd like to find a few more options to explore before I pick a program. Does anyone here know of any other courses/trainings/etc? English-speaking instruction would be ideal.


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#2 jk1002

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 08:29 AM

I was in Bangkok 4 weeks ago and took a single class at Blue Elephant. You will pick up some things but for sure it is not on professional level - it is essentially a demo with a practical part where you perform few selected steps.

I am taking classes like these few times a year and in comparison this is very well organized and executed. The audience though is amateur chef on vacation I guess.

#3 Peter Green

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 08:45 AM

I think you'll have a hard time finding something effective for the professional chef. The best thing might be to make an arrangement with one of the hotel restaurants to have you work with them in the kitchen for a period of time, but that may require a longer time commitment.

Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok may be a good contact to check with. They weren't doing Thai cooking last I looked (which was a couple of years back) but they may know where to go.

#4 morphone

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:26 AM

JK1002, the Blue Elephant has two levels of classes - the one day tourist classes, and a week-long master class for pros (or so they say it's for pros). I'm interested in a more intensive professional class. I'm hoping Blue Elephant (or some other site) will be what I'm looking for. Once I get to Bangkok I will do some more scouting and will report back.

Peter, thanks for the tips. Will definitely check out hotels and Le Cordon Bleu.


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#5 djyee100

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 02:08 PM

I have not taken this course. I've only heard about it by word of mouth.

http://www.mandarino...cooking_school/

good luck with your search. Pls let us know if you do find a cooking course that you like.

#6 jk1002

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 09:04 PM

Hi,

I didn't know about the pro course - probably would have preferred that.

Anyhow I was happy with the school, equipment is a bit different what me the spoiled brat is used too but worked out OK.

When you pick a school make sure it is near transportation. Cabs are dirt cheap but traffic is a major nightmare nearly any time of the day and most drivers I had did not speak english or were able to even roughly read an english map. The trains and river boats seem to be the only workable option to et around.

The benefit of Blue Elephant is that it is right next to the train. Giving the heat that prevents extended walks and traffic kills the cab option that is a huge pro point in my opinion.
They took us to a small market to explain few things, I followed up with a trip to Khlong Toei Market.

Bangkok itself wore me out after 5 days but I can't say that I didn't have a blast.

Cheers
JK

P.s. I'd recommend the touristy drink at sky bar, worth it for the view and Jazz band and spend rush hour in chinatown when the pop up restaurants come out.

#7 Ader1

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:15 PM

Anybody tried..... www.wandethaicooking.com? This is meant to be a school for teaching Thais to become chefs and more recently I believe they've started offering these courses in English.

Edited by Ader1, 08 July 2010 - 12:16 PM.


#8 Peter Green

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:05 AM

Le Cordon Blue, in today's Bangkok Psot (Outlook Page 3) is advertising a "New Professional Thai Cuisine programme"

They're doing full pro courses, and workshops.

There's an open house on September 10. I'll try to attend.

#9 Peter Green

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 10:29 AM

September 15, 2010
A Few Moments at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School


As expected, the World Gourmet Festival scuttled plans for attending Le Cordon Bleu’s open house on the 10th. I was just having too much fun to get away.

Posted Image
So, once the dust had settled (and there’s a lot of dust where I’m involved) I MRT’d (as opposed to BTS’d – I was no longer at the Four Seasons) down to Silom, cut through the Dusit Thani’s parking lot, and made my way through the front lobby of Le Cordon Bleu Dusit.

It was fun to see the place all abustle. When I was here before, it was just opened, and some of the classrooms were still unfinished. Now it was packed with students, fresh white jackets, and eager smiles. The café up front had become an active demo kitchen, a sea of starched white jackets all taking notes and paying dutiful attention. Past me bustled a trio on their way out, knife cases swinging purposefully.

I enjoy living in a time lapse.

But let’s live in the present, shall we? Shawn Morya, the marketing manager, came out from the office to answer my questions, give me a brief walk through, and generally be extremely patient with me.

When I was here before, back in 2007, I’d asked about their plans forThai cooking, but they’d felt (quite reasonably) that the first order of business was to get the standard curriculum in place. With that, they’d concentrated on Le Cordon Bleu’s French standards course, as they had done in Japan, Korea, and in the West.

Now, three years later in the last half of 2010, I’d found a note in the Bangkok Post advertising LCB’s new Thai Professional course

Shawn took out some of the hardcopy material, and we discussed the new program.

There are two facets of the Thai cooking program. One is the full pro course, which we’ll talk about first (as several people had said they were interested); the second topic is that of the workshops, which would be of interest to less hard-core folk (like me).

The pro course is very much in the same vein as the standard course, with the focus on developing a chef capable of running a restaurant. This means that while you’ll spend a good portion of your time on Thai techniques, you’ll also be working on book keeping, management, budgeting, and the other aspects that the LCB handles. This all follows the same “watch, learn & do” blueprint.

The course is broken into three terms of about 10 weeks each, for 30 weeks total, or nine months. There are three days of class per week (Monday through Wednesday), for 18 hours per week of course, giving you enough time to practice outside of school.

For Thai students, they’ll arrange internships. For foreigners, it’s a bit more difficult, but they will work on a case by case basis . They’ll look at this once the student hits the Superior level, and has met at least a 75% grade. For myself, this is what I’d want to take advantage of, at least in the latter part of the program, once I had the basics in hand.

The Thai graduates have been quite successful in securing jobs at the top hotels and restaurants, while the international students (who make up about 30% of the class) have generally been returning to their home countries to open restaurants. They didn’t say which one, but one of their graduates is now working at a 3 star Michelin in Spain - Restaurante Martín Berasategui

Obviously, you’ll need a visa for a stay of this length. They’ll provide a letter of acceptance for you, at which point securing a non-immigrant education visa is pretty straightforward from the nearest Thai embassy or consulate.


Posted Image
For an idea of content, I’ll crib some material from their handout:

Term 1
- Evolution and history of Thai cooking (always a fun topic)
- Basics of Thai cuisine and desserts
- Equipment
- Measurements & conversion
- Ingredients
- Kitchen hygiene
- Northern, NorthEastern, Central, and Southern cuisines, as well as Royal, to include; snacks; salads; soups, curries, and curry pastes; dips & sauces; mains; rice and noodles; traditional desserts.

Term 2
- Techniques
- Curry pastes
- Mains
- Cross regional influences
- Field trips to the markets
- Accounting
- Kitchen management
- Fruit and vegetable carving
- Working with banana leaves

Term 3
- Restaurant teams
- Wine pairing
- More fruit and vegetable carving
- Presentation of banana leaf craft
- Restaurant management
- HR management
- menu planning and engineering
- Cost control and pricing
- Business analysis and business development

All in you’ll be covering some “200 recipes of traditional, region, and Royal Thai dishes”. The chefs will be conducting guided tours through the markets to acquaint the students with the raw materials. But, as you can see, you’ll be covering a lot of the business side as well, so you need to consider what you want out of the course.

In terms of pricing, the course will set you back 360,000 Baht, or roughly $12,000 at today’s exchange rates, although they will be extending the 5% discount to the next group. There’s also a 5,000 Baht application fee (non-refundable) a 6,000 baht uniform fee, and another 48,000 baht equipment (Wusthof knives and some Thai specific gear). All in, you’re talking some 419,000 baht, or roughly $14,000 in fees, plus your visa, airfare, and living expenses (although Bangkok can be quite reasonable when you’re staying long-term). There are surcharges for credit card payments, so it’s worth looking carefully at your payment options.

The current intake is full, but the next one will be starting up in July 2011, which allows more than enough time to get the visas and paperwork in order. They’re now accepting applications, and it’s expected that this course will also fill up.

For the workshop side, they’ll be conducting six hour, one day courses. These will start with a market tour at 9:00 followed by a lunch. At 11:30 you head back to class, and the final four hours, from noon until 4 p.m. are spent in cooking demonstration and then hands-on practical.

The menus will run through three courses: appetizer, main, dessert.

October 15 - Golden cups with filling; Thai style vegetable soup with prawns; Steamed pumpkin with egg custard.

November 12 – Spicy glass noodle salad with seafood; Hot and sour prawn soup; Steamed rice flour stuffed with sweetened shredded coconut dumpling in banana leaves.

December 17 – Spring rolls; Creamy red curry with chicken and crushed peanuts; Pandan, pumpkin and taro flour balls in coconut milk.

The cost for the workshops will be 6,000 Baht each. They do require (as a sensible bit of safety) that comfortable shoes with a good grip be worn, preferably black, and, while the Cordon Bleu uniform is required for alumni, for the rest of us it’s enough to wear a white shirt/t-shirt and black slacks. All of the kit will be supplied, so unless you’re really attached to your own cleaver, you can leave the sharp bits at home for these days.

For more details on the material to be covered contact lecordonbleu@dusit.com and the website is fully functional, so much of this material can be checked for updates and more info at www.lecordonbleudusit.com

#10 et alors

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:38 PM

In Koh Samui, the tiny SITCA offers one and two week intensives for professionals and "serious amateurs"
http://www.sitca.net/

I was there taking a little half day lunch class, and ended up chatting with an Italian chef who was just finishing up a two week intensive. She was working one-on-one with the boss lady, who was a former 5 star restaraunt chef who started SITCA. The chef said the teacher was very good, knew many terrific techniques and felt her training was valuable. In the little lunch course I took, I made the best tasting food I've done at a cooking class (did blue elephant and one on phuket before) and learned funny little tricks like not stirring the fish for the first 20 seconds it's in the soup or it will "release a bad flavor." I talked them into letting me do a half-version of the intensive, so I'll report back, but Koh Samui is gorgeous (Staying at Silvadees) and out of the bustle of bangkok, and to have person instruction in a small place seems valuable to me.

Some pics here http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/
"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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#11 et alors

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:05 PM

I took three days of the six day class at SITCA (talked them into letting me doing it ;) My results are here
http://forums.egulle...74#entry1874074

short version is, it's well worth it. She even added in a extra dish I requested that wasn't on the curriculum, for which I am grateful.

Plus you are on an island paradise full of insanely fresh seafood and fruit. Surely that counts for something. I now have a sunburn and mad thai culinary skills.
"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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#12 Jeff K

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 09:51 PM

The weekend workshops at Bo.Lan looked intriguing, but their entire internet presence---website, email, everything---appears to be down. Is the restaurant even still in existence? The weekend workshops seemed quite intriguing and likely to offer as much depth as possible in a weekend workshop.