The Sticky Rice Cooking School opened its doors to customers on 2nd November 2008 when Kelly Lord from the famous Spirit House Restaurant in Queensland kicked off with a series of Asian and Middle Eastern classes including a Taste of Thailand, SE Asian Curries and a Thai Feast for Friends. All classes including the Exotic Moroccan Spice class have met with an exceptionally high standard of customer feedback and in many cases repeat bookings on the day from inspired and impressed food lovers. The feedback has been 100% positive and the classes have far exceeded the expectation of customers. Comments such as ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ ‘Fantastic Experience’ ‘Great attention to details’ and “Exceeded Expectation to Infinity and Beyond” have been received daily from impressed and happy customers.
Owner Claire comments that “customers have really been enjoying the social side of the hands on cooking classes and the restaurant quality food and expert tuition has won the approval of even the most practised cooks, experienced cooking class junkies and discerning food lovers.”
One customer rang after a class and said” I have been cooking Asian food for 20 years, have lived and travelled widely in Thailand, but the banquet I cooked yesterday for a group of friends was better than anything I’ve done before thanks to the class. Kelly lord commented that the difference was due to the understanding of the ingredients rather than just following quantities from a recipe blindly.
The newly renovated and custom designed premises has been a labour of love and from the roadside you will feel immediately drawn to the place when you spot the 3 tonne Buddha statue sitting outside which was imported from Indonesia. On arrival to any one of the classes customers are greeted into a vibrant and culturally stimulating interior where they immediately begin to feel immersed in the spiritual and Zen like appeal of the Asian culture.
The schedule runs like clockwork with the 4 hour classes starting and finishing on time and evening class participants are greeted with a glass of wine and in most cases something to nibble from the evening menu to keep after-work hunger at bay.
Kelly Lord starts his tuition around a large bench in the reception area so that customers can see, taste and smell whilst he explains and explores the key Asian ingredients and seasoning technique used in the cuisine. Useful fact cards and photographs further explain the techniques or processing of ingredients and add another level of understanding for keen students.
Once into the enormous space provided by the impressive cooking school kitchen, customers are greeted by the sight of an abundance of fresh produce and exciting utensils laid out in waiting. Delicious smells waft from the stove tops where the Chef invariably has some homemade stock bubbling away or has been busy preserving lemons or making delicious side dishes such as green paw paw pickle . On the polished Caesar Stone bench tops, eighteen eye catching chef knives glint enticingly from the eighteen wooden chopping blocks.
Customers soon get busy with their preparation and start to execute those culinary techniques all under the watchful eye and guidance of their expert teacher. The chatter of happy cooks increases as people start to relax and enjoy the momentum of the class and a glass of wine during a quick break also adds to the relaxed and social atmosphere.
For owner Claire Fuller it is hard not to be delighted with things so far and she has already published dates for another 30 classes in the 2009 calendar including new Spanish and Middle Eastern menus with Spice Bazaar owner Patrick Aldred and two school holiday Kids classes lead by ABC Adelaide Radio’s gastronomy personality Chef Allie Reynolds. Popular local Chef Ali Seedsman has several very exciting classes scheduled at the school starting on Jan 28th with a Gourmet Asian Seafood class and a Spanish Tapas Class on 11th Feb while Vietnamese chef Trung Van Tran joins the chef list on 11th Jan straight from his recent travels in cultural Vietnam. Australia’s vegetarian guru and internationally known Kurma Dasa is also back at the school on January 24th/25th for two more of his Indian Vegetarian classes.
I’m still looking for more chefs and more class ideas says Claire and because of the strong social aspect to the classes we have been asked to think about a ‘weekender’ class format which would allow participants to share 2 classes together as an opportunity to extend their time with new friends. It’s something for me to work on certainly.”
Despite the temptation to focus on the new year, 2008 has exciting things still to come with Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant’s TV series The Cook and the Chef lining up to film Kurma Dasa’s Classics from the Subcontinent class at the school on Dec 13th and Kelly Lord returning in December for yet more inspiring Thai classes. Japanese chef Yukiko Anshutz from the famed Shiki restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Hotel kicks off her Quick and Healthy classes on Dec 28 and Japanese sushi is on the menu on Jan 7th.
2009 will see the school broadcast on the Cook at the Chef on March 4th and the Discover TV series are likely to take an interest after being tipped off by a happy customer but all this fame won’t stop Claire from avoiding the camera and staying focused on the customers, the chefs and the food!
With such great opening success there’s bound to be many delighted food lovers this Christmas who find a Sticky Rice Cooking School Voucher in their stocking!