The Spirit House is a Sunshine Coast institution and their cooking school is the highlight of many visitors’ trips to Queensland. Situated near a small town called Yandina, The Spirit House is about 20 minutes by car from Noosa, Coolum and Maroochydore. The restaurant, recently awarded a Regional Chef Hat in the Queensland Good Food Guide 2012, is renowned across Australia for its contemporary Asian menu and lush tropical setting.
The cooking school offers a range of specialist classes focussing on Thai and Asian cooking styles and techniques, many of which are led by Head Chef Annette Fear. For our class, former Spirit House Head Chef Kelly Lord is the man in charge. Having just returned from overseas, where he spent time with Thai-guru David Thompson, Kelly imparts a passionate energy that makes the 4.5 hour class fly by.
We arrive with just a few moments to dash over to the restaurant to check it out before we get our aprons on and our hands dirty. The class we have chosen, Essential Thai 2, is designed as a sequel to Essential Thai 1, however, it is not a requirement to have completed this first class. Mixing basic cutting techniques with more complicated skills – such as balancing Thai flavours of sweetness, sourness, saltiness and heat – the classes are suited to both amateur and proficient cooks.
We learn to make caramel (for our luscious sticky sweet pork salad) and how to create the perfect green curry paste. The Tom Yum Goong soup includes a prawn de-veining session while a deep-frying session gives us the skills to recreate the crispy whole fish with tamarind sauce at home. At 8pm, we sit down for a well-deserved glass of wine (included in the class) and a Thai banquet that we can proudly say we created ourselves.
For about the same price as a three-course dinner at Spirit House, you can enjoy some contemporary Thai dishes in the same stunning surrounds and, you get to take home all the recipes to impress your friends and family.
For the more adventurous, Spirit House also offers food tours to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. These tours are limited to 3-4 days and itineraries do not include flights or accommodation.
Read more about The Spirit House here