Undoubtedly one of the best things I did while in Indonesia. I signed up for the cooking class after seeing other glowing reviews on TA. It turned out that I was the only person that signed up for that day, so I had the complete attention of Wayan and his chef the entire time.
He picked me up around 9am and the first stop was the local market. Nothing too earth-shattering, but it was really helpful to "see behind the curtain" of Balinese daily life. He also gladly answered any question I had.
After the market, we went to the rice paddy in Laplapan Village, where Wayan explained how a village operates, including the leadership, communication among the people, how emergencies are handled, etc. His English is superb, by the way.
There was a slight technical difficult that morning, so I didn't get to actual cook anything until 3pm or so. But Wayan was extremely apologetic about the delay, and it worth the wait anyway.
It was me, the chef, and Wayan in the open-air kitchen at his house in Laplapan Village. There he has a garden where most of the vegetables and herbs are grown. The kitchen equipment was decent; better pots/pans and knives are customary in the US, but obviously the equipment was more than sufficient. The ambiance was impeccable and gorgeous.
We cooked the following dishes: sweet and sour tempe; clear-broth chicken soup; steamed fish in banana leaf; chicken curry; Indonesian version of Bananas Foster; and several more. The directions were a little rushed at times, even for just one person, so I can see how it might be difficult to catch every detail in a class with 4-6 people. But I managed to write down some pretty good notes and get some good videos and pictures. Wayan also gave me hard copies of the recipes, though some had errors in them. There's plenty of time to fill in the blanks if you miss anything too.
Then I ate the excellent food, and I can't wait to cook it at home. After eating, Wayan and I spoke about the various initiatives he participates in: providing school supplies and shoes to some of the poorer students in Bali; educating the village about litter and the environmental impact; and a variety of other incredibly impressive initiatives.
I can't stress enough how valuable this experience was. I hope Wayan reads this and remembers "Jay," and I hope you get a chance to visit the Paon Cooking Class in Bali. Get out of the tourist trap and do it.
procon4 3 contributions
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Dec 21, 2010