When Catriona Rowntree arrived at Sticky Rice Cooking School in the Adelaide Hills, she was greeted by a three-tonne Buddha. This place is Adelaide
's latest craze for budding and experienced cooks keen to take a gastronomic journey to a wide choice of destinations.
The building, built in the 1940s, has been renovated and all you need to take is enthusiasm and an appetite. Everything else is supplied.
Through the delights of food, you can visit Morocco, Spain, India and many parts of Asia. Catriona chose to take the journey to Thailand.
Top chefs from around Australia are invited to hold classes covering a range of countries, and Catriona was fortunate to be under the wing of Kelly Lord. She's had years of experience, including leading kitchen teams in five-star hotels.
Lessons are hands-on and wonderful fresh ingredients are used. Chefs give interesting information about the country of the food's origin as you prepare the dishes of the day. There are plenty of food and travel stories as the lesson progresses.
Students make their own curry pastes, create spring rolls which are works of art and learn how to get the best out of your mortar and pestle, which they say is an absolute kitchen essential. Woks are used for steaming, frying, braising and smoking. They are also an indispensible utensil.
Presentation is extremely important in Thai cooking. When they serve food they want diners to almost be able to taste it before putting it in their mouths.
Half-way through the lesson there's a break for a chat and nibble and, of course, some South Australian wine to enjoy.
There are vegetarian, salad and stir-fry classes available.
There is a shop on site selling recipes, kitchen utensils and Asian antiques and giftware from the 1800s.
Stirling, 14km from Adelaide.
Sticky Rice Cooling School's Tastes of Thailand four-hour classes are $125 per person. Classes are held year-round and are scheduled for daytime, evening and weekends. All ingredients, tuition, hands-on cooking, lunch and dinner and wine and beer are included. Gift vouchers are available.
Prices correct at October 15, 2009.
For further information
Sticky Rice Cooking School
96 Old Mt Barker Road
Ph: (08) 8339 1314