The Krua Thai Cookery School
Rujira Herd’s Thai cook school is unique in Edinburgh, and has been running from its Liberton Brae townhouse for over 20 years. Distinguished from the residential neighbours only by a large paper parasol in the landscaped front garden, this is no factory-line school churning out pupils – some months only four students come through her doors, usually professional chefs on week-long private courses. The compact but professional and well-designed kitchen fits a maximum of four cooks, ensuring you are never far from ex-chef Ru’s watchful eye. A storm of activity, she bustles around demonstrating techniques and explaining ingredients (have you ever used fresh turmeric root? Prepare for fingertips like a heavy smoker’s), all the while keeping up a running commentary on everything from her childhood years to the best places to source garlic. Everyone is promoted to the title of ‘chef’, and the necessary wok-frying speed of the recipes means being obeying orders as if you really were one. Spoons are thrust at you for tasting and stirring, and beautifully wrapped takeaway boxes are filled with anything you don’t eat. She specialises in decorative fruit and vegetable carving, offering one day (or longer) courses to teach the tricks of the trade.