Anand runs the Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok which was this year voted number one on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The chef isknown for taking the street food of his home country, giving it a truly hearty kick and mixing up age old recipes with modern techniques and styles.
In the episode he traveled back to Kolkata in India to speak with the street food sellers that have inspired his cuisine and try to unearth the cooking secrets they protect and pass on through generations.
We caught up with the chef just after his trip to find out more about it and ask him about some of the highlights of his own career journey - you can all see the whole episode in three clips posted below.
Inside the Gaggan Kitchen.
Tell us about the episode, how was it for you?
I chose my city of Kolkata where I come from, it was a very easy choice, then to cook something from there and go to the archive of what happens there…For me Kolkata is my memory, my nostalgic city, when I get down from the airport the first thing I do is go to a sweet shop and buy these sweets that remind me of back home.
What did you learn from this episode?
I learned a lot about Bengal cooking and the use of mustard, I always thought this was a British influence but actually cooking with mustard is really a Bengali approach and this was interesting.
When I was cooking back home I never got that famous and I would go and ask people who I knew how to cook really good food in Kolkata they would never teach me, they would never expose their secrets of dishes in the kitchen but now through CNN and the fame that I have, I have actually got access to the treasure of secret recipes they have. It;s a learning experience for me because in India food is very domesticated, they don’t want to share how it is cooked but just appreciate how it is tastes.
Gaggan shops in India.
How was your first journey home after winning Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants?
Within three days I went back home, it was like going back and meeting my mum and they were very very happy and then actually I went to a famous restaurant and everybody there said hi to me and it was a little struggle to accept the fame but the funniest thing was that on the way back I was sitting on the airline and this lady said “are you Gaggan Anand” - I said yes and she said, “I’ve been trying to get a reservation for three weeks”.
If I gave you a blank cheque, what’s the culinary journey you would love to take?
It would be Japan for sure and it would really need a blank cheque, I go almost three times a year to Japan and every time I discover something new. I like Japan for the respect and the way they protect things - there are melons that cost $1,000 and $5,000 for a strawberry, I really do need a blank cheque for sure and I would be like a little kid in my Willy Wonka world. The thing with Japan is that even an egg sandwich inside a Seven Eleven tastes really good, I’ve never had a bad meal in Japan, I wish I was born there.
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