A heaping portion of Pad Thai

A heaping portion of Pad Thai

Caterina Giammarresi shares her experience with the Thai Cuisine cooking class held by the Fine Food & Dining Society on Wednesday, 26th February. 

One of the things I miss most about being with my family is being able to share my obsession with Thai food. The only Thai restaurant in St Andrews is a bit pricey, and —as a student— I can’t afford to eat out as much as I might like. So when I saw that a Thai cooking class was on this semester’s Fine Food and Dining list, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

Stephanie Belenkov, Events Officer for the Fine Food and Dining Society, organized the class and created an exciting menu that included Baked Rice Pudding, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Thai Fish Cakes, Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns), Pad Thai, Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Thai Iced Tea, Green Curry Paste, Thai Green Curry with Chicken, and Thai Cucumber Salad. She was well-organised and well-informed, though she admitted that she essentially taught herself how to cook Thai food and couldn’t verify the authenticity of everything. To her credit, Belenkov was knowledgeable about it. She even went shopping at an Asian grocery store in Dundee specifically for the class, which shows some pretty impressive dedication on her part.

With the help of the other committee members running the class, Belenkov got started right away on a number of the dishes. The preparation of food was particularly exciting because —for the first time at a cooking class— I was given the opportunity to participate in the entire process of making one of the dishes. It was mildly terrifying to have that kind of control, even though it only involved mixing together the ingredients for the cucumber salad, but it definitely made the class more interesting for me. Belenkov also invited students to help her form the Thai Fish Cakes and participate in the making of the Pad Thai.

Not only was the food delicious, but it was very well timed, each dish coming out shortly after the other, avoiding the issue of too much waiting time. The cucumber salad, though very simple, was really nice and actually paired perfectly with the Pad Thai. The Thai Tea was delightful, and is definitely something I’ll be making again on my own. However, the absolute star of the menu for me was the soup. Belenkov very wonderfully took it upon herself to make a separate version for the vegetarians, about which I am incredibly grateful. The soup was perfectly seasoned with the right balance of dairy and spice.

For somebody who enjoys Thai cooking, the class was a must-see. For anyone else with even a vague interest in that cuisine, it provided some invaluable tips, and recipes, to take home and use for yourself.

The Fine Food & Dining Society hosts cooking classes on a variety of themes most every Wednesday in the St Andrews Episcopal Church. They also host a myriad of other food-related events. See what they’ve got going on via Facebook or their website.


Caterina Giammarresi


Photo credits: Caterina Giammarresi