Let's start with the good: Everyone really made their dishes which both helped me learn to cook them, and let me halve the crazy amounts of salt and sugar used in all dishes throughout Asia. We got cookbooks which had lots of informative bits about Laos culture with all the recipes and great ideas for replacing ingredients you don't have at home. Tea and coffee were served between cooking, and our group was full of lovely people, so we enjoyed ourselves.
Now the bad: The poor chefs appear to simply hate their job. They were so absolutely miserable cooking and teaching that I worried, they might 1. walk out, or 2. break down and cry. It was my goal to make them smile, and I only succeeded to get one half smirk in the entire afternoon/evening. I can't say I really blame them though after learning that each of them work 6 days a week running two courses a day...cooking the same dishes over and over and over. The owner of this school must really turn some things around at the school, to include taking better care of her employees, hiring some relief for them, and restoring happiness in the kitchen - otherwise, I fear Tamnak Lao will continue to lose its good reputation to be overtaken by many courses waiting to take its place.
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