Taste of Chiva-Som Cooking Classes at ISIKA Spa, Crown Metropol
Held at the Culinarium and ISIKA Spa retreat in the recently built Crown Metropol, the event totally lived up to it’s name as we experienced a Chiva-Som cooking class headed by Executive Chef, Paisarn Cheewinsiriwat followed by a signature treatment at the spa facility.
A chance to attend a cooking class and then get this stiff as a rock body of mine pampered doesn’t come around that often, so when when I was invited along, I gave it a big hells yes! The group was made up of writers and reporters from various Food Media that included The Age, Herald Sun and The Today Show as well as my homegirl Penny. We were always the last one’s to leave the kitchen after each course because we were taking pictures of everything!
So um, what is Chiva-Som?
Chiva-Som, a luxury resort located in the seaside village of Hua Lin, Thailand topped Luxury Travel Magazine’s 2011 Gold List in the Best Overseas Health & Wellness Property category. Their point of difference is that they really do focus on the mind, body and spirit using holistic therapies. Now you may have heard that phrase countless times, but these folks mean it.
Wish I was here!
In addition your chosen program during your stay, each guest is given a complimentary health and wellness consultation on arrival, three spa cuisine meals, a physical analysis, daily fitness and leisure activities (8 classes per day) and unlimited use of their water therapy suites. It’s certainly not the sort of resort to just site back and do nothing – which I’m sure you can do – but a place where you get a total lifestyle transformation as their website puts it.
- A Taste of Chiva-Som
- Inner Peace
- Art of Detox
- Fitness Retreat
- Natural Healing
- Physical Renewal
- Spa Pampering
- Weight Management
- Yoga for life
From 8 April until 22 April, Chiva-Som will happily provide ISIKA’s diners and spa lovers with a Taste of Chiva-Som, showcasing their award-winning spa cuisine and signature treatments, allowing guests to taste and feel their way through a world-away experience at ISIKA.
On arrival, we were taken to the Culinarium, where we changed into our chef gowns. We all seemed to have a little trouble fitting into our work wear. Funnily enough, I managed to hold it all together with one button! We were then whisked away into the kitchen after gulping down a cleansing cocktail made up of cucumber, apple, carrot, beetroot and ginger.
Stationed like as if we were on MasterChef, each dish was prepared by yourself which was awesome fun but meant that if you burnt it, you ate it!
The large kitchen at the Culinarium is amazing and ripe for cooking demonstrations fitted with widescreen TVs along the sides of each bench so you have full view of the chef, large bench space, easy access to your own stove and sink. Their knives were like samurai swords compared to mine that’s for sure so I insisted I do more than my fair share of slicing just for my sheer pleasure.
The cooking class was led by Chiva-Som’s Executive Chef, Paisarn Cheewinsiriwat who gave us an impressive insight into Thai cuisine. He noted that their spa cuisine is both healthy but tasty minimsing the use of preservatives, saturated fats and other harmful ingredients. A cuisine that is a balance of both maconutrients such as fat, protein and carbs, as well as micronutients like calcium and vitamins. They tend to stray away from using fish sauce replacing it with low sodium based organic soy sauce as it rates higher in antioxidants.
First Course: Sliced beef salad with young Thai eggplant and freshly made Chili Jam
This was my favourite dish. So simple but delicious especially with the use of freshly made chili jam. I haven’t made it before so this was the most interesting part of the class and a recipe I will definitely be making at home.
Like the 4 P’s in marketing, it follows the 4 S’s in Thai cuisine being:
Paisarn says coriander root is the best part. With the use of a mortar and pestle, it is pounded together with garlic and chili until a paste is formed. Lime juice is then added along with soy sauce, honey and for this class, miso. I was quite surprised that miso was added but it brought a welcomed saltiness to the paste. The chili jam can stay refrigerated for a month. Another interesting fact which I didn’t know was that Thai eggplant can be eaten raw.
Second course: Tom Kha Kai Gai Hua Plee (Herbed coconut soup with chicken and banana blossom)
The fact that they process their own coconut milk makes this soup extra special. Miso was also used here and added towards the end of the cooking process along with the beautiful chili jam. Creamy but not gluggy ensuring you don’t feel bloated during your spa treatment!
TIP: Although you can use lemon, Paisarn suggests using vitamin C powder to keep fruit from discolouring due to its ascorbic acid properties.
Main course: Pad Nam Prik Pao Calap
The main course which sent me to Food Rehab, was made up of succulent scallops, prawns, squid and red snapper the dish is stir fried with basil, chili jam, oyster sauce and soy sauce. The focus on health is evident here as vegetable stock is substituted for oil. I thought it brought a cleaner texture to the dish also bringing in a natural element of flavour.
Dessert: Apple Strudel
Whilst the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and water were brought to a boil, the apples were sliced and added together with dates. Two sheets of filo pastry were cut into 30cm squares on top of each other. Once the apples had become soft and cooled down, they were rolled into a cylinder shape then cooked until golden brown. We were running short on time, so we didn’t get to eat this with their rice ice-cream which sounded awfully tempting.
ISIKA Spa and Chiva-Som treatment
This boy doesn’t get pampered that often, so I was very much looking forward to this. After three hours of cooking up a storm, it was time to relax. I received a traditional Thai massage where I was bended and stretched like a turkey (in a good way). The premises certainly screamed luxury.
ISIKA Spa is the only sky high day spa which offers accommodation at Crown Metropol’s dedicated spa accommodation rooms and delicious morsels from Gordon Ramsay’s MAZE. Treatments and facilities include:
- An indoor heated swimming pool, sundeck, vitality pools
- Aromatherapy steam room and gymnasium.
- Massage and other pampering treatments
- Naturopathic consultations
- Nutritional services
- Lifestyle coaching
- Martial Arts
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Cranio Sacral Therapy
Retreats with more quirky names include ‘De-Stress Me, Pure Detox, Bespoke Wellbeing, Kickstart Fitness and Vital Youth.
It was my first time in the hotel, needless to say, I was impressed. The kitchen was well equipped and the cooking class was truly enjoyable.
THREE-HOUR COOKING CLASS WITH THE EXECUTIVE CHEF OF CHIVA-SOM
Saturday 16 April 11.30am
Sunday 17 April 11.30am
Monday 18 April 11:30am
VIP CHIVA-SOM GUEST DINNER
Friday 15 APRIL, 6.30pm – $150.00
8 Whiteman St, Southbank
Food Rehab attended as a guest of Crown Metropol and TraveltheWorld
If you’re not already signed up for updates from Food Rehab, get on the list and I’ll do my best to keep us learning about none-other than glorious, GLORIOUS food! Also, follow me on Facebook or Twitter if you have either of those addictive things.