The plan to attend cooking classes in Italy did not happen. The plan in Bali almost did not – but it did. The day I went to the venue to inquire, I was told that there was a class at 4pm. It did not suit my schedule as it was 2pm and me and my brother haven’t had lunch yet. I was advised to come back the next day to check if there is a class I could join. Or I could do the class by myself but would have to pay 600,000 Rupiah instead of 350,000 Rupiah for a class with a minimum of 2 students. So I went back early the next day to try my luck. Luckily, there were students who registered for both the 10:00am and 4pm class. I chose to join the 10:00am class.
Laka Leke Restaurant, the venue of the cooking lesson, is just a stone’s throw away from our home in Ubud, the Mawa House. The restaurant is spacious with pavilions offering views of Ubud ricefields, gardens and lily ponds. Cultural performances are also held in the evenings by schedule in this restaurant.
Being a little early, I busied myself taking photos of our “kitchen” while our teachers were busy preparing for the class. We were also served a complimentary drink before the class started.
The class begins with a short walk at the in-house Spices and Herbs Garden. We were introduced to the different spices and herbs which are normally used in Indonesian/Balinese cooking such as chili, vanilla, aubergine, etc. We learned that Laka Leke Restaurant would sometimes use their own produce for their cooking.
Then we were led to the kitchen where we were introduced to the ingredients we would be using in our cooking. It was very refreshing to see a mixture of colors of greens, reds and oranges in the table.
Then it was time for us to wear the apron. Each of us then occupied a station in the kitchen table where we have our own chopping board and knife. We were also given a recipe book of the menu for the day.
The 5 budding chefs are then put to work by the 2 masterchefs. We helped slice the onions, gingers, carrots, garlic, etc. I was feeling nervous as I haven’t held a knife for probably 5 years now. We were guided by our teachers as most of the prep work are being done by them. Teaching methods were demonstration and actual class participation. We took turns sautéing and mixing the ingredients. Then the better part, we would have a taste test of what the team is cooking!
After about two hours, we finished cooking the 5 different dishes from Lesson 5 – Balinese Grilled Fish Salad which was my favorite since I really liked the combination of tuna and the sambal sauce, Mie Goreng which was also to-die-for, prawn with glazed tofu and sundried shiitake mushrooms which was so-so for my taste, Fried Chicken Soya Sauce which was also not a remarkable dish for my taste, and my favorite, the dessert, Sago Pudding.
Café Wayan has 7 lessons to choose from. What happens is that the first reservation for the day gets to pick which menu to cook. And Lesson 5 was after all a very good choice!
Now it’s time to partake of the dishes we cooked. The sumptuous lunch was served in one of the pavilions of Laka Leke Restaurant. We couldn’t believe we were able “to cook” an edible Balinese/Indonesian meal. Hehe!
I’d say attending a cooking class is a worthwhile activity when visiting other places. It is a good way to know the culture and meet people from other places. I would like to thank my teachers who awakened a deep-sleeping interest in cooking. My experience at Café Wayan was fantastic that I am planning to attend cooking classes each time I go on vacation. Who knows I might end up with a career in food someday?
Wondering another way of spending your time while vacationing in Bali? Why not join a cooking class? I bet you wont regret it!http://www.alamindahbali.com/cafe_wayan.htm Reservations: via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or walk-in at Laka Leke Restaurant, Monkey Forest Road