Many people travel all the way to Thailand to learn how to cook authentic Thai food, but if you can reach central Colchester by mid-morning, there's a wonderful alternative. You can learn how to cook a complete Thai meal under the personal supervision of Oi Cheepchaiissara, author of four Thai cookbooks and many more e-books for the Apple iPad.
You've probably seen the sumptuous volume entitled "The Food of Thailand" and the convenient paperback "A Little Taste of Thailand." If not, maybe you've come across "Fresh Thai" with its distinctive photos of Oi's delicious Thai food. Her most recent book, "200 Thai Favourites," is in the famous Hamlyn 200 series of cookery and gardening books.
Oi moved to Essex from Suffolk at the end of 2010, having taught some of the secrets of authentic Thai food to hundreds of people at her former home in Framlingham. Now in Parkside Quarter, with a dining room overlooking the River Colne, Oi is continuing to teach her classes to small groups made up of individual applicants or groups of friends who make a block booking.
Oi's townhouse has a large kitchen which easily accommodates all the attendees, with an adjacent dining room where lunch is finally served. Sitting down to the meal you can relax with new friends and enjoy the fabulous flavours of Oi's Thai dishes.
If you've never cooked Thai food before, don't worry. Although there can be many stages in preparing Thai food, Oi guides you every step of the way. Bring an apron! You can participate as much as you want: pounding, stirring, blending, tasting.
The course fee includes all the food and recipes. If you want to branch out and learn more about Thai food you can attend a later class and learn a completely different set of dishes.
A further option is to purchase some of Oi's new set of 16 e-books called "Thai Food Secrets." Specially designed for the Apple iPad they cover the whole range of Thai cooking and together form a complete encyclopaedia of Thai cuisine.
Oi's classes are informal yet highly informative, and great fun for everyone who takes part. Attendees come time and time again to learn new dishes. So why not join a class and learn how to cook delicious and authentic Thai food with an expert Thai cook who was born and brought up in Thailand? After all, she's right here in Essex, not in Chiang Mai!