Last week, 3 friends and I gathered at my apartment for a Thai cooking class that we had been looking forward to for ages. Months ago, before the summer, I found some information about different cooking classes in Hong Kong and we all decided we’d love to try the Thai one where the chef comes to your home to carry out the class. So we found a spare morning in our hectic lives (!), booked it in with a genuine Thai chef by the name of Chef Napa, chose our dishes from her website, having decided to cook a meal for 8 that we could split up and each serve up to our husbands for dinner that night, rather than a meal for lunch for the 4 of us.
10am arrived, we were all on time, apart from the chef that is. Fifteen minutes earlier she called to say she was running a bit late waiting for the meat delivery … or something.
10.30 – still no chef. 10.45 she finally showed up, almost an hour late. From then on, I have no idea what happened really. By 1.45pm we somehow had the 6 dishes that we had selected in front of us, one of my friends had had to leave for work at about 1.15pm so missed the end, not that there was a big finale, nothing had really started for there to be a finale!
From the minute she walked in the door, she rushed into the kitchen, got everything out of her bags, handed us sheets with the ingredients and methods for the 6 dishes we had selected but then proceeded to whirl around making a disorganised mess of my kitchen and had us just sitting round my dining table chopping up random veggies, herbs, or whatever and we just felt like the whole ‘class’ was a big rush for her to catch up the hour that we had lost and we were just her little chopping assistants. We didn’t know what dishes we were chopping for, even the chef was confused with quantities as all the recipes on her sheets were for 2 people but we were meant to be cooking for 8! Several times we realised that she had totally miscalculated and there was totally not enough ingredients for a meal for 8 people. All the meat arrived frozen so had to be plunged into a sink full of water to defrost which was a particularly delightful start.
Oh, there were tears. Maybe it was the hilarity of the situation. Maybe it was the awkwardness between us and the chef who was not teaching us ANYTHING. Maybe it was the reality of how much money we had parted with for this experience. Probably it was the onions.
So when I presented Dan with his evening meal that night and he asked if I’d be able to reproduce this all again, I told him I hadn’t really produced it in the first place! Apart from me stirring one dish on the hob for about 5 minutes, none of us had even cooked any of it! I have no idea how it all came together as we just gave up eventually and the Chef didn’t even notice as she was in the kitchen cooking it all, seemingly unaware that she had forgotten to carry out the ‘class’ element of the … class.
After she had scarpered out the door having presented us with her business card in that proud two-handed Oriental way (what a joke!) the three of us that were left all looked at each other a bit bemused, not really sure what had just happened! Our kids had come back to my place after Nursery and were happily tucking into the Pad Thai but that was too little too late really.
Poor old Chef Napa didn’t know that she had messed with the Compensation Queen. 24 hours and one email later and we had ourselves a 25% refund – we’re off for a slap up Thai lunch now!