One of the most talked about chefs in Asia, Gaggan Anand introduced his modern take on Indian cuisine to a ready and willing audience in Bangkok back in 2010.
Fast forward six years and his eponymous restaurant Gaggan has been named the best restaurant in Asia, in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list for the last two consecutive years.
We spoke to chef Anand ahead of his judging responsibilities as one of the Seven Sages at S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 (you can live-stream the event here on 15 October from 7pm CEST) about reigning in egos in the kitchen and his exciting new projects.
What advice would you offer to the young chefs of today?
Cook, cook and cook. Keep your hands as involved in the kitchen as much as you can and don’t seek glamour.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
Don’t think you are the best because one day you will fly so high it will hurt more when you fall.
Tell us about a time when you remember making a mistake as a young chef: what happened, where were you working and what did you learn?
The most embarrassing kitchen chronicles happen in your budding chef years, when your arrogance says that you are right and then you fail in front of everyone. Mine was with a stupid omelette that my GM had ordered, and I made a fool of myself, I thought I was doing the right thing, and then it turned into a lesson that I was wrong.
What do you miss most about being a young chef?
The energy and stamina to work harder now I'm getting older, and my back hurts lifting pots over 30 Kgs.
You’re quite an inspiration to young chefs in India – what would you like to see happen with contemporary Indian dining?
Most importantly they should be focused on learning the basics, and cook their own version of modern Indian.
Last time we spoke you were working to build a new lab at the restaurant – can you give us an update on how this project is progressing?
Its ready, it’s a dream come true, and finally, I have something that we were planning for such a long time.
Can you tell us about the new projects you’re working on in Bangkok?
I started a new restaurant called Meatilicious that is entirely different from Gaggan. Also the lab that is a new wing of Gaggan that is adjoining to the restaurant has arrived.
Another project that is in the pipeline is with a young chef called Garima which will be starting soon with an entirely new concept.