The Spirit House Cooking School – Essential Thai

I’ve also posted this piece over on my Sunshine Coast blog – Navigator

The Spirit House. It’s my favourite restaurant here on the Sunshine Coast – I’ve told you about it before herehere and here. I’ve even gone as far as saying that if I ever got married again (naturally to the same man) I’d do it here – especially now that they’ve got a really cool bar area that looks like it’s been transported from Bali…more on that another time.

Anyways, I have 4 of their cookbooks – 2 of which are almost falling apart from overuse – but have never been to one of their constantly booked out cooking classes. Not because I haven’t wanted to – but because I haven’t got my act sufficiently into gear to plan ahead.

Hubby solved that problem with a birthday gift of 2 vouchers to their Essential Thai class…so off we went.

On the menu was:

  • Pork and prawn dumpling soup with shredded omelette and golden garlic
  • Salad of caramelised pork belly with green papaya (green mango is out of season), and nahm jim dressing
  • Stir fry duck breast with roasted chilli paste, wild betel leaves and crispy shallots
  • Steamed Chinese broccoli with ginger, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame seeds
  • Fried mahi mahi (actually, it was Spanish mackerel) with green curry sauce, Thai basil, and lime juice

At a Spirit House Cooking Class, you’re not watching – you’re doing. So yes, we chopped and diced and pounded our way through all the ingredient preparation – and then we put it all together…and then we ate it.

Ok, that probably seems as though I’ve condensed a 4 hour cooking class into a couple of paragraphs, but seriously, that’s what this one is about. You prepare, you cook, you eat…

It’s probably easier to show you the day in photos…

And the finished product? All I can say is wear comfy pants or elastic waists. Plus, this is the only cooking school I’ve been to where they serve beer and wine (complimentary) with your food. Bonus.

The Verdict…

Well worth the money and the pre-planning. If you’re doing this as part of a Sunshine Coast holiday, I’d recommend booking as soon as you book your trip to the coast. If you’re coming up from Brisbane or are local, the classes book out a few months in advance – especially during summer and July holidays. More info and booking forms can be found here.

Getting there…

The Spirit House is located at 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina. You’ll need to drive – or book a taxi/uber. Directions are on the website.

Food Allergies?

Gluten free and vegetarian diets are catered for. The soy sauce and oyster sauce we used in class (and purchased to bring home) is gluten free.


Of course I could post the recipes we’d been given, but that wouldn’t be fair. You can, however, find a similar caramelised pork belly recipe on the website here.

My favourite dish of the day was the Steamed Chinese Broccoli – and it couldn’t be easier. Simply wash the broccoli and cut roughly – separating the stems from the leaves.

In a small bowl combine ⅓ cup oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed – you can even grate it), 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger, 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

Steam the broccoli stems in a steamer basket (naturally over boiling water) for 3 minutes, add the leaves and steam for another minute.

Transfer to a serving platter and spoon over the sauce and scatter with a couple of tablespoons toasted sesame seeds.

Too easy.

Ok, it’s Thursday, so that means sharing our happy. Like the Partridge Family sang C’mon Get Happy! Am I the only sad case old enough to remember that?

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To join in the Lovin’ Life Linky, all you’ve got to do is: Link one post about what you’re currently lovin’ in life. Read two or three posts from other Lovin’ Life Linkers and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by. Spread the Lovin’ Life word and feel free to link back. The linky goes live at 7.30am every Thursday and finishes at 7.30am of a Monday (Australian Eastern Time).

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Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

20 thoughts

  1. We used to go all the time but they were such jerks about the kids I’ve blacklisted them We’d just got back from Paris where THE Guy Savoy welcomed the kids without any issue but Spirit house rang 3 times to confirm we were still bringing the kids. We would spend about $300 in an hour and be gone without making a noise but apparently we still needed to be made to feel unwelcome. So great food but no longer for me. Hopefully they’ve changed or you don’t want kids at your wedding….To be fair this was about 10 years ago now, so maybe they’ve worked it out.

  2. That’s really interesting… We’ve been taking Sarah there since she was about 7. Having said that though, I remember they were if-ish the first time to remind us they didn’t do a kids menu & they didn’t like kids running around & told us at least a few times (without us even asking) that they couldn’t change the menu. I suspect that’s been the issue over the years – people asking for changes to accommodate children’s tastes – but it’s still no reason to treat you poorly or assume that because you have children they will a) run around & b) not eat off the menu. But I’ll bear that in mind re the kid thing if I ever do get married there…to my husband 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  3. I love that they use GF soy and oyster sauce etc. It’s available and easily accessible so it irks me when places don’t. Other than the veges of course, it all looks amazing. I saw some pork belly on Masterchef last night and wondered about making some so yay for the recipe – I’ve downloaded it already!

    I actually remember a dozen or so years ago you could buy Spirit House takeaway packs from an online grocery service I used. I’ve never been to the actual place but had heard of it and these were yummy!

    1. Ooooh takeaway packs. I agree re the gluten free stuff – it costs a bit more, but the prices being charged are also a bit more…

  4. I’ve seen the Spirit House advertise their cooking classes and must get to one. What a lovely way to spend a few hours – cooking and then eating! Looks delicious!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  5. You had me at pork and prawn dumpling soup! I’m sitting here frothing over that menu. I went here for dinner last year with work associates and we were indulged in a six course banquet that was absolutely out of this world. I will need to put the cooking class on my “to do” list. #TeamLovinLife

    1. The banquet sounds fabulous, but we’ve always only gone with just the 3 of us – so we just have to try something different each time!

  6. All the food looks absolutely delicious Jo, and I do love a Cooking School day out! I’ve done quite a few now. Not sure it’s improved my cooking dramatically, but I love watching the process of food preparation, having a go at doing it, and of course, EATING (the best part!) 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. Eating is so the best part. We cook a lot of Thai at home so I can’t say we learnt anything new (except for a few new products & a cool technique for shredding green papaya), but the recipes were great – as was the experience & the food.

  7. I’ll have to look that place up when next in Queensland. Is it out in the sticks someone? I didn’t recognise the name of the town/suburb?

    1. It is a tad out – on the Sunshine Coast & inland from Coolum. Sort of near Edmund but not as far up as Noosa.

  8. The Spirit House looks lovely and the cookery class sounds like a really fun thing to do. Will put it on my list for when we’re next in Queensland. Our book club in South Africa used to have an end of year cookery class, in which we all drank far too much wine, made gorgeous eats and treats and laughed like drains!

  9. Thanks for the steamed veg recipe! I love eating veg this way.

    SSG xxx

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