Thai food is about variety says David Thompson, “the Thais do not like repetition; in look, taste and texture”.  Dishes should come out at the same time and each mouthful should be from a different dish to be eaten with rice of course; in fact Thompson says rice is the main ingredient in a Thai meal.  The dishes should all yield a variety of tastes; sour, chilli, salty, sharp and different texture; dry stir fry, thick curry or wet soups.

Celebrated Australian chef, David Thompson should know about Thai food. He trained as a chef in Sydney, before travelling to Thailand in 1986 and falling in love with the country, culture and of course food. A year later he moved to Bangkok and learnt as much as he could about Thai cooking.  He returned to Sydney in 1991 to open Darly Street Thai, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide named it Best Thai Restaurant for the eight years it was open.

david thompson

Today, noodlies, Sydney food blog is taking David Thompson’s Thai cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School, Sydney Fish Market.  The School is one of Australia’s leading with a stellar line up of chefs including Matt Moran, Alessandro Pavoni, Guillaume Brahimi, Frank Camorra, Dan Hong and many, many more.

The class is in two sessions; the first is a lecture style demonstration in an intimate theatre that seats around 60 people and features the latest cooking appliances from Fisher & Paykel.  Overhead cameras project what’s happening on the long lecture bench over 4 large TV screens above.  The second session is in the kitchen area next door with around 10 Fisher & Paykel cooking benches, where we break into groups of 4-5 students to cook the dishes from the lecture.  Finally, each group sits down to enjoy our culinary efforts.

In the noodlies video above, David and his assistant, Park, from nahm, Bangkok shows us how to work with a lobster.

Today we learn to cook three dishes selected by David each with a different flavour and texture:

  • Prawn Curry with Holy  Basil, Ginger and Peanut (chilli, sweet, salty)
  • Salad of Rocklobster and Pomelo (sour, salty)
  • Braised Murray Cod with Sugar Cane (sweet, clear)

walter working on a lobster

Walter learning how to work a lobster

David really puts us through our paces, we learn to make everything from scratch including curry paste using a mortar and pestle, coconut cream and work with lobster (see Walter’s effort in the video above).

And David’s right, of course, curry paste and coconut cream when made fresh delivers much greater depth and taste that the pre-made product just can’t hope to replicate.

We were all really worried that we wouldn’t be able to dish up something that was even half as good as David’s demonstration, but I’d have to say, armed with the recipe, lecture notes and state of the art utensils and kitchen appliances, our effort wasn’t half bad.  Check out the result in the featured noodlies video above, although as I admit in the video, we did have some help 🙂

The boys and their lobster pomelo salad

The boys and their lobster pomelo salad (Walter & Steve)

thai prawn curry

Prawn Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanuts

thang and park

I get help from Park, David Thompson's assistant from nahm, Bangkok

Sydney Seafood School dining room

Sydney Seafood School Dining Room

About Sydney Seafood School
Sydney Seafood School
at Sydney Fish Market is a wonderful initiative that was established in 1989, these days it’s one of Australia’s leading cooking schools attracting over 13,000 participants each year.  The list of presenters in the next few months reads like a who’s who of Sydney’s leading chefs and rising stars including: David Thompson (nahm London & Bangkok); Dietmar Sawyere (Berowra Waters Inn); Stefano Manfredi & Gabriele Taddeucci (Balla); Stephen Hodges (Fishface); Ajoy Joshi (Nilgiri’s); Matthew Kemp (Montpellier Public House); Warren Turnbull (Restaurant Assiette & District Dining); Matt Moran (Aria); Frank Camorra (MoVida), Phil Wood (Rockpool), Jonathan Barthelmess (The Apollo), Guillaume Brahimi (Guillaume at Bennelong), Hamish Ingham (Bar H), Cheong Liew (The Botanical, Melbourne), Brent Savage (Bentley Restaurant & Bar), Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo), Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater), Mark Jensen (Red Lantern), Damien Pignolet, Nino Zoccali (Pendolino), Dan Hong (Ms.G’s), Daniel Puskas & James Parry (sixpenny), and Darren Robertson (The Three Blue Ducks).

About nahm
When Australian David Thompson announced he was opening a second site of his successful London-based Thai restaurant in Bangkok, a few eyebrows were raised. Two years later, many will have revised their views, given the quality of Thompson’s high-reaching cooking, which has flashes of haute cuisine without straying too far from tradition. Dishes contrast salty and sweet and hot and fragrant – so while some are delicate, others are punchy and powerful” says the judging panel for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, 2012.  This year, David Thompson’s nahm Bangkok made it on the list for the first time at number 50.

Read noodlies, Sydney food blog reviews of nahm, Bangkok: February 2012 and December 2010 a few months after it opened.

Sydney Seafood School
Sydney Fish Market
Entry via Bank St, Pyrmont

Noodlies and guest attended David Thompson’s cooking class on Sunday, 10 June courtesy of Fisher & Paykel, a partner of the Sydney Seafood School, Sydney fish Market.