The beginner goes to school

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I didn't tell mom where I was going until the last moment. Actually, she wouldn't have known if hubby hadn't let it slip (bad hubby! Palo!). At my age and status in life, I am still subject to my mom's monitoring that I've always had when I was sixteen, worse, eleven.

Here's how our conversation last Friday went (and this is how similar conversations generally go):

Mom: May pasok ba kayo bukas?
Me: (nonchalantly) Mayroon.
Hubby: (clueless as always) Mayroon po. Ako po mayroon. Si Karen wala, pero may pupuntahan siya.
Me: (throws discreet dagger looks at hubby)
Hubby: (absolutely oblivious to me)
Mom: (to me) Saan ka pupunta?
Me: Diyan lang.
Mom: Saan nga?
Me: Diyan nga lang.
Mom: Ano 'yun?
Me: Cooking class.
Mom: (looks at me incredulously) Cooking class?
Me: (nods, feeling weak all over) Thai Cooking Class. Wala trip ko lang.
Mom: Ano 'yun, buong araw?
Me: 10 to 2 lang.
Mom: May bayad?
Me: Of course. Pero naka-promo siya.
Mom: Magkano?
Me: Nasa nine hundred.
Mom: (looks unconvinced that it's "mura lang")
Me: Kasama na lahat--apron, ingredients, everything.
Mom: Mahal.
Me: Mura na 'yun.
Mom: E saan nga 'yun?
Me: (hesitates but spits it out anyway) Sa Chino Roces.
Mom: Saan?
Me: Chino Roces.
Mom: Sa Makati?
Me: (nods) Sa Magsaysay Institute.
Mom: Saan doon?
Me: Doon siya sa Waltermart doon.
Mom: Ang layo.

Since I've already registered for this class, she wasn't anymore able to do anything about it (believe me, even at my age and status in life, she will try to stop me).

Growing up with a mom like that, I'm sure it will no longer surprise you that I'm not very much of a traveling person. To be honest, I don't even know how to commute to Makati. So, needless to say, until the day before, I was not very certain how to get to Chino Roces Avenue. Hubby was supposed to accompany me. He wanted to go and visit Don Bosco Makati, but they had work scheduled that Saturday so I was going solo. It was great that I was able to ask my cousin Joyce, who works somewhere in the area, for directions, else I don't know where I would've ended up. But I had faith in the Alabang terminal (I've constantly joked that one can get anywhere from Alabang, even to Hong Kong) and I am sure, as insan Joyce pointed out, that one will take me near there.

So the moment I got off the jeep at Alabang, the rest of my July 16 was an adventure (and I haven't even started cooking yet, LOL). You've probably heard the line "dayuhan sa lupang tinbuan". I felt just like that--a tourist, asking the vendors lining the bangketa where to ride going where I was going.

The trip wasn't difficult at all. I just took another jeep ride, after getting off the bus at Mantrade, and there I was. Actually, I got off too early (excited? Hahaha!), and I had to walk along the gates of Don Bosco Makati for a minute or so to Waltermart.

Caramel frap for here for Karen (yes, that's my real
name--among a few others)

I was there very early; Waltermart was still closed. I ordered a caramel frap and sat down at Starbucks, whiling the time with a newspaper. The moment the rest of Waltermart showed signs of waking, I went up to the fifth floor (I was finally able to bring out the longganisa sandwich I brought along with me) and found the impressive facade of the Magsaysay Institute for Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

The moment I saw MIHCA, I was actually *kilig!*. LOL.
I can't believe it--I REALLY got HERE all ALONE!

I almost immediately made a couple of new friends, Teteth and her boyfriend, Reggie. While I was filling up my registration form, I noticed that most came with either their partners or a friend. Maybe one time I'll bring mom along, of course, if I could handle another looooong conversation ("Sasama ako?", "E bakit ako samama?", "Anong gagawin ko doon?", "May bayad?", "E 'di doble babayaran mo?", "Mahal."...yeesh).

Another alias I go by.

The class began with a short lecture. There was a lot of us, I think over 30 or 40 people. Two chefs handled the class, the main being Chef Mike Navarra. He briefed us on kitchen ethics as well as the recipes we were expected to cook that day.

Lecture by Chef Mike Navarra.

I found myself grouped, naturally, with Teteth and Reggie, and Joel, who was also solo and happened to be sitting next to Reggie. Turns out Joel is already a pro, and the class was given to him as a gift. It was great to have him, as he was quite comfortable during the lab.

Here's a rundown of our menu:

Thai sinigang, Tom Yum Goong, Teteth's favorite

Chicken Satay, the real thing!

Pork Stir Fry with Green Curry, my favorite

The Thai pancit, Pad Thai

Simple but yummy dessert, Sticky Rice with Mango

I'll admit--it was mostly Joel who did the cooking. Hehehe. He's a pro--works at the Midas Hotel. I did my best to be as useful as possible. I had a hand in prepping the ingredients, stirring, making bantay whatever's on the stove.

I heard that instruction in MIHCA was good, even better, compared to some other culinary schools. Even for just a half-day course like the one I took, the chef-in-charge didn't skimp in teaching valuable know-how and sharing tips and tricks. We made sauces, curries and everything else from scratch so that we could enjoy Thai dishes anytime, even if bottled ready-made ones are not available in the supermarket.

Chef Mike and a handful of MIHCA students
went around to assist the participants. Here
he demoed and produced the lovely green
curry (inset) for the entire class to use for
for the pork dish.

If I didn't attend this class, I would never have known that Thai cuisine wasn't that complicated. We finished dish after dish in a few minutes, as most involved stir-frying and overcooking would be a crime. What would probably be my main problem is finding some of the ingredients. But recently, weekend markets have popped up here and there (though I have yet to visit the one in Ayala Alabang) and even SM Supermarket has expanded its product line.

Group 1: me, and (L-R) Teteth, Reggie and Joel

Teteth was kind enough to snap this commemorative
photo--the first of many more MIHCA adventures.

I had a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the next one, even if I came out of this one smelling like fresh cilantro. ^_^



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