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New culinary school strives for authenticity

A new culinary school is set to open in Bangkok with the ambitious but clear-cut goal of having authentic Thai food served to customers across the world.

Located at Thonglor 25, the MSC Thai Culinary School will offer courses for both professional and non-professional cooks.

The new partnership by Minor International, S&P Syndicate and chef Chumpol Jangprai seeks to provide the foundation for Thai chefs to maintain and even improve the standards of authentic Thai food globally.

Despite the fact that Thai food has received recognition from abroad, the owners of many overseas Thai restaurants are not Thai, which means the food is not authentic.

"Actually, I watch many cooking programmes and I watch all these foreign chefs. When they present their menu, most of [the food] is Thai but it's not authentic," S&P chairman Patara Sila-on said.

Minor chairman and chief executive William Heinecke said: "What is good about Thai food is its flavour and taste. What's bad about it is that it is quite hard to prepare correctly and you need the right ingredients.

"If you don't get those ingredients it's difficult to prepare quality Thai food."

Chumpol agrees that there is a problem with a lack of authenticity and standards.

"In terms of Thai food, whether it is a small restaurant or a five-star hotel, every restaurant has a problem with its chefs in one way or another," he said. "For that reason, MSC will be the destination for Thai chefs to become professionals."

He believes that MSC can be pushed to the forefront of the Thai culinary school scene - teaching a wide variety of courses ranging from the history of authentic Thai food to the making of modern and fusion food.

"Where would you go if you want to study law? Harvard. Where would you want to go if you want to study art? The University of the Arts London. So in terms of learning how to cook Thai food, where would you go?" he said.

With a vision of creating professional Thai chefs, Chumpol thinks they should know how to manage a kitchen and cook good food.

"The recipes taught at MSC, whether it is at the professional course or weekend special classes, are quality recipes and they can be sold at restaurants," he said.

"I believe that if we are concerned about keeping our recipes to ourselves, then it will eventually be lost. So we [are not concerned] and are more than willing to share what we think is good."

While dishes like pad Thai and tom yum goong are famous abroad, Chumpol believes that people should also be able to experience local household dishes or notable regional favourites.

At MSC, three types of courses are offered - a professional course, a short course for tourists, and a weekend class.

The professional Thai cuisine chefs' programme is different from other culinary schools in that it guarantees a job for graduates.

By incorporating theory, practice and internship, the course aims to ensure the professionalism of its chefs.

The short course for tourists and weekend class are for foodies who wish to learn how to make authentic Thai food.

The school is scheduled to open in November, with student admissions starting in October. For further details, contact 02-185-1414.


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