The Flavors of Thailand at Cville’s Doorstep

Posted on February 20, 2012 by


Craving a hands-on culinary experience that will improve your skills in the kitchen? Or, like to cook and looking for a mouth-watering good time with friends? Well, look no further than The Charlottesville Cooking School.

No matter your skill set or experience in the kitchen, the Charlottesville Cooking School is “for beginners, individuals with a love of cooking, and professionals seeking to improve their skills.” From baking to cooking, kitchen skills and techniques, the cooking school calendar is always busy. And, the school accepts suggestions for future classes.

According to founder Martha Stafford, the Charlottesville Cooking School is… “warm, vibrant, informative, inspirational, practical, caring, creative, inviting and essential.”

Martha founded the Charlottesville Cooking School 4 years ago – the first class was on April 16, 2008. Classes have grown to include Everyday Cooking Skills, Knife Skills, Thai, North Indian, Italian, South American, French, and even kids programs, private parties, and Monday night skill demos.

“I am always on the look out for new teachers, and I try to ensure that our classes reflect the seasons in Virginia,” adds Martha in an email. “It is my goal that you leave here with new skills not just a set of recipes and that people respect the process of cooking.”

As a Christmas gift for my culinaryily-inclined boyfriend – and as a thank you for all of the (daily) meals he cooks for me – I took us both to a popular and consistently sold out class – The Flavors of Thailand, taught by Ashley Clarke Brooks.

flavors of thailand

“All the classes have been hands-on and full participation since the beginning,” explains Martha. “As soon as I opened the doors, I was contacted by people who were interested in teaching.” All 7 instructors (8 total including Martha) auditioned for the cooking school, and have been through some type of formal culinary school program and have at least 3 years of experience in a food related business.
Instructor Ashley Clarke Brooks prepared a four course menu for the 12-person max, 3 hour class. Ashley took the time to go through the – many! – Thai ingredients, and even shared where we can get the odd ingredients in town. All recipes are given to class participants, so all of your friends can beg you to make the dishes again, and again. Although the class was lengthy, the time flew by with smells and tastes and the many flavors and courses spaced out for nibbling and chatting while preparing for the next dish.

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“The people of Charlottesville respect food and the people who prepare it, the land and the people who care for it, and the mind and the people who enrich it,” explains Martha. “My husband and I both appreciate this city and try to do our part to keep a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”
Philip Stafford is one of the original founders of the C&O restaurant, the founder of the Market Street Wine Shop, and co-owner of Virginia Wineworks, ‘Virginia’s first custom crush facility and the first Virginia Winery to put fine Virginia Wine in a box,’ adds Martha. Together, the Staffords live and breath Charlottesville, and offer it with open arms for everyone to taste, savor, and enjoy.
{Located across from Barracks Road Shopping Center in the Meadowbrook Shopping Centre, next to El Puerto.}
Posted in: food, The Buzz