Commentary

Coriander Leaf Thai (II) Cooking Class

Below are a selection of photographs that I took at Coriander Leaf’s Thai cooking class conducted by Samia Ahad – the chef-owner of Coriander Leaf restaurant – earlier this week.
You see, my wife works at Coriander Leaf and when she mentioned that her restaurant was looking to “refresh” the photographs it had of its cooking classes, I shamelessly jumped at the opportunity to not only put my camera to good use, but to pick up some useful cooking tips along the way! Fortunately for me, Samia was willing to indulge my request and agreed.
FYI, I’ve modified the layout of the site a little and have moved the hosting of my photographs to my Flickr page (which I was surprised to find was still active despite not having been used for the past 8 years!) as Flickr gives a whopping 1 terabyte per user! If you want to see each individual photo’s exposure settings, all you have to do is rest your mouse on the particular photograph and the focal length, shutter speed, aperture size and ISO should be show up as part of the file name.
First off, here are some general shots of the restaurant, studio and the preparation for the actual cooking class.
_MG_0258 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-15 sec at f - 1.4 ISO 100
_MG_0262 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-30 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 200
The shot below was of Coriander Leaf’s main dining area and was taken with a wide-angle lens from an elevated position.
_MG_0249 October 29, 2013 10 mm 1-25 sec at f - 8.0 ISO 1000
Jo tells me that Samia has an obsession with orbs. This obsession plays itself out in the type of furniture and decorations she chooses for her home (apparently she has over 300 orbs) and makes its way into Coriander Leaf’s dining room. It made for an interesting photograph, so I took it!
_MG_0262 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-30 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 200
Here’s Samia pictured below, as assisted by Eddie.
_MG_0266 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-40 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 200
I surreptitiously captured the students’ diligence. At least I think I did.
_MG_0269 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-50 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 200
Some shots of the food preparation. For some reason, the one below scares me. Maybe its the positioning of the cleaver and the mortar, or how the coriander roots must feel knowing that they are about to be chopped and ground.
_MG_0278 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-60 sec at f - 3.5 ISO 200
_MG_0280 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-250 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
_MG_0282 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-160 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
_MG_0286 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-50 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
_MG_0288 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-100 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
_MG_0292 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-250 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
_MG_0306 October 29, 2013 22 mm 1-40 sec at f - 8.0 ISO 1600
Searing steak…
_MG_0297 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-125 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 200
Samia’s top tip is to taste as you go and, in her words, it’s rubbish if a chef doesn’t taste his or her own cooking.
_MG_0312 October 29, 2013 22 mm 1-25 sec at f - 8.0 ISO 1600
The first course, Tom Ka Gai. The deep-fried chilli floating on top in a pool of its own oil is not traditionally part of this dish. Samia tried it at a Thai restaurant and was intrigued by the flavour and dimensions it added to the dish and decided to try it for herself. After having tried it myself, I must say it was a brilliant addition as the crispy deep fried chillies added a peppery spiciness to the otherwise thick milk base.
_MG_0319 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-3200 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 1600
_MG_0324 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-800 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 500
Next up was the larb gai, or the minced chicken salad. This was beautifully plated and made for excellent eating both by me and the camera. The small bits which look like chicken but not quite are actually rice grains that have been pan roasted. The texture that they contribute to the dish is really quite unbelievable and, as I found out later on, such rice grains are a good substitute for peanuts in pad thai !.
_MG_0357 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-320 sec at f - 1.8 ISO 400
_MG_0361 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-200 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 400
_MG_0365 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-100 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 400
Here’s a shot of the Thai beef salad. This photo could have been better as the beef seems to be getting in the way of the shot, rather than enhancing it.
 
_MG_0385 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-100 sec at f - 2.8 ISO 400

_MG_0395 October 29, 2013 35 mm 1-500 sec at f - 1.4 ISO 400

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