In Conversation with Gaggan Anand

Gaggan Anand working his culinary magic Photo Credit - Varavudh Lattanand: Town Country Thailand
Gaggan Anand working his culinary magic
Photo Credit – Varavudh Lattanand: Town Country Thailand

Gaggan Anand of the Bangkok restaurant Gaggan, known for its progressive Indian cuisine, talks about his trips to India, rock ’n roll and global culinary revolutions.

Before Gaggan Anand opened his restaurant in Bangkok in 2011, the chef, then 22, was already tickling the taste buds of presidents, celebrities and royal families. He began his career at the Taj Group’s Orient Express and Zodiac Grill, and then landed on Thai shores to work his charm at contemporary Indian restaurant Red Bangkok and later, as chef de cuisine at Bangkok’s Lebua Hotels. By this time, he was already being heralded as the pioneer of progressive Indian cuisine. As experienced as he was, he yearned to learn from the world’s best. And, so he became the first Indian to have spent time in the famed Michelin-starred elBulli kitchen during an internship in the Catalonia restaurant. This year, his restaurant Gaggan, in Bangkok, featured on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list at number 17 and on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list at number 3. Easygoing to talk to, yet meticulous when it comes to preparing food, Gaggan Anand is as passionate about cooking for his star guests as much as he is for the everyday epicurean.

Chef at work
Chef at work

Tell us more about the food lab that you plan to introduce at Gaggan.
We already have a viewing lab, where a set of guests can view our chefs at work through a glass during dinner, but the food lab is more intimate, much like a chef’s dining space with a few tables arranged inside the kitchen itself. Guests will be able to listen to everything we say; even the music we play. They can get an insight into what goes into the making of a meal at Gaggan.

Do your travels to India inspire you to experiment with your dishes at Gaggan? 
Absolutely. I make it a point to visit India every three months. It’s like a trip that revives my taste buds. I’m afraid that if I stay away from my country for too long, I might forget certain things! I’ve discovered some of the most amazing food in Kerala, Varanasi and Amritsar, among others places. If I’m in Calcutta, I must have typical Calcutta-Chinese dishes as well as Bengali food at U.P. I am a diabetic, but I go berserk when I see Bengali sweets. I love Britannia, Gajalee and Swati Snacks when I visit Mumbai. 

Free-range lamb chops, sous-vide, grilled and finished with green herbs oil; Photo credit - Sansith Koraviyotin
Free-range lamb chops, sous-vide, grilled and finished with green herbs oil; Photo credit – Sansith Koraviyotin

Which country, according to you, is one that has always been bringing about culinary revolutions?
Spain is ranks high for its consistent culinary innovations over the last twenty years. Then there’s Japan. Chefs travel to Japan to learn how to use new ingredients, while Spain tops the list for its techniques. It’s interesting to know that Japan will host a pop-up by Noma next year using Japanese ingredients. Of late, South America is coming up in a big way. We’ll be seeing a lot more of Peruvian, Brazilian, Chilean and Amazonian cuisine fused with other cuisines including Japanese. 

Read the complete interview with this amazing Indian chef on The Label.

This post was first published on The Label, a luxury lifestyle magazine By Louis Philippe. 

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