Cooking rule number one: “Don’t run with knives”
In November of 2018 I took a solo three-week trip to Thailand and Cambodia. I had joined a small group tour volunteering at a few independent elephant rescue camps. These small camps are run by the elephant “owners”, known as mahouts, and the idea is that the elephant’s food and shelter and a living wage for the mahouts are funded by tourists, thereby removing the elephant from the logging industry which causes such terrible damage to elephants.
The camps also remove the elephant from the practice of providing rides for tourists.
I had a rewarding few weeks outside of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand feeding these magnificent animals melons and grasses, cleaning their encampments, leading them to water, and helping settle them at night. After two weeks of living with elephants I said goodbye to new friends and set off for Cambodia alone.
By the time my trip was finishing in Phnom Penh I was feeling a bit lonely so decided to take a local cooking class. After jumping onto Tripadvisor for ideas, I settled with “La Table Khmere.” They had great reviews, loads of photos from past participants, and it was walking distance from my hotel.
I’ve done classes before in Italy and enjoyed the camaraderie between tourists and learning from locals. So I set off one sweltering morning from my hotel, dodging tuk tuks and insane-moped traffic to arrive at the little air conditioned oasis of La Table Khmere.