Running a cooking course is really a great experience and I really enjoy it. However it can be challenging in many ways and informative.
How should I present the topic? What recipes to choose? Where to buy the best ingredients? What if someone is vegetarian or allergic to fish? What will happen if something does not work as I thought?
First of all I need to decide what recipes the participants are going to cook. I try to use recipes which are rather simple and easy to cook because I believe that cooking should be fun and not complicated. All recipes I use I tried before, changed a bit and adjusted to my taste. On Friday I had Thai cooking session. There are plenty of great Thai recipes and I decided to have one soup, one salad and two different curries.
Secondly you need to think that some participants might be vegetarians, have some allergies or might not like some type of food. The cooking course should be for everyone. Yesterday I had one vegetarian person and one who was allergic to fish and sea food. The Thai kitchen is friendly for vegetarian but people with fish and sea food allergic need to be careful because nearly all recipes consist of fish sauce or shrimp paste. My great participants were so kind and before they added fish sauce to the dishes they left a portion for the person with fish allergy. All of us could enjoy the great food.
Thirdly you need to find good quality of ingredients and those which are more exotic and rare on the market. I have been in Sao Paulo for one year now, so I have already found my favorite shops but too short time to know everything. It is always a challenge to find exotic ingredients like tamarind or fish sauce. With help of kind people and Facebook I managed to solve it. The exotic Thai ingredients like fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves I found at TOWA market in Liberdade, Sao Paulo. They have a Thai section on one wall.
Once you overcome those challenges and my participants are trying new recipes you never have the guaranty that the food will taste exactly the same as it does at my home. There are many factors which influence the end result. The quality of ingredients (even if you think that you buy the best one), time of cooking, how efficient or inefficient the stove or oven is, what will happen when you double the recipe and more! During the Thai cooking session suddenly the soup did not taste as it should. The recipe was double and once the shrimps and vegetables where added the soup did not boil as the stove was not powerful enough. At the end it worked out and I learned that next time we will not double some recipes. It is better to prepare in two separate pots.
As a teacher you wish that everything would work well and that participant will go home satisfied with a smile on their face. You wish that they will cook those new recipes to their family and friends. I also wish that they will experiment with new ingredients, try new tastes and be braver when using chili pepper. If you know that it works well I can sleep well.
Thank you to all of you who are participating at the cooking courses at the Scandinavian Church. Every time I meet you I get so much positive energy from your enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and try new exciting dishes.