I will try and keep this short…
My wife laughs remembering the first three weeks in a ten-month trip to Southeast Asia when I ate only fried rice. I am a changed man. By the time I came home I had a serious addiction… fish sauce, lemongrass, and ginger. I was hooked. Honestly, I had never come across those flavors growing up in the American southwest; cilantro, yes, garlic, yes, lime, yes, chili’s check.
I had no idea what I was going to do once I came back to Boston… luckily we have a pretty decent Chinatown (I use to frequent a live food store to get 6 lb. rabbits for my 8 ft. Burmese python ‘Boots’, but that is a different story). Anyways, I soon found out that Lowell, MA (a suburb of Boston and the birth place of Jack Kerouac) is also home to the second largest population of Cambodians out side of Phnom Penh. I also discovered the French Cambodian restaurant, The Elephant Walk. Not only did they have great reviews for their food but also they offered cooking classes!!!
I started out taking a few classes and feeling a bit nervous with the whole process to be quite honest. Although each and every time I took a class, whether it was Nyep, Gerard or Nadsa I soon realized that everyone here was just like me, excited about food. Again, I was hooked. To make a long story shorter, I have now started lending a hand at some of the classes, both classes open to the public and private classes. I just want to say that the public is fine, I like meeting new people but nothing beats a private cooking class. You learn so much more about a person when you cook next to them and with them.
My good friend, Dan had to go and move away (big fat wanker that he is) for 3 years, well low and behold he moves back just in time for his birthday. Bingo! A welcome home party and a birthday event… I go for it and sign us up for a private cooking class.
Well that was last weekend. There were 16 of us and our lunch menu consisted of; Avocat Kanthor (Fresh Herb, Avocado and Sashimi Tuna), Curry Trey Ruah (Coconut Curry Catfish), Cha Saiko Kroeung (Stir-Fried Beef with Lemongrass), Loc Lac (Marinated Beef with Lime Sauce) to be followed with a Chocolate Sour Cream Birthday cake made by one of the guests, Jeannie (btw – excellent cake and great frosting).
I will cut to the chase, everything was fantastic. Not only because it was a beautiful Saturday without our kids, but because friends were gathered to celebrate; not only a birthday and a new beginning, but the summer, the food and each other.
The Elephant Walk holds classes almost year round, to check the current schedule of classes.
All classes are hands on. They run on Saturdays, running from 10:30 a.m. until approximately 1:30 p.m., in one of our restaurants, and include a lunch of the dishes prepared by the class. Custom cooking classes are available with personalized themes and can be scheduled at your convenience. To learn more or to schedule and plan yours, e-mail Executive Chef Nadsa de Monteiro or call her directly at 617.285.1056.