Chef Gaggan Anand put India in the fine dining spot with his eponymous Bangkok restaurant, showing at the same time the richness and refinement of the food of his native country.
At Gaggan, the Kolkata-born chef set out to redefine traditional Indian food with what he calls “progressive Indian cuisine”, an approach that gave rise to his signature dishes.
His progressive kitchen encompasses a 25-course tasting menu where the majority of the dishes to be eaten by hands, and focuses on bringing well-known flavors with unprecedented and inventive twists, in an approach that proves that haute cuisine can (and should) be fun. All the artful and creative dishes are listed using only emojis in the menu. Gaggan also seeks to present highly impactful recipes, such as his renowned spherified ‘Yogurt Explosion’ (a quail’s egg-like yogurt sphere that explodes in the mouth), and ‘Lick it Up’ - to taste it, the guest needs to do exactly what is written on the plate. But he travels the world in his kitchen, by bringing references from all over the planet, from a Mexican-inspired taco bites, to a Japanese-Indian nigiri sushi, passing through a Thai green curry - an homage to the country he adopted.
Anand began cooking to help his mother and started his career first in restaurants around India and then in other cities like Bangkok, to where he moved in 2007. He worked in other venues before opening his place, like under Ferran Adria at elBulli, where many of his influences for molecular gastronomy come from. He started a flourishing catering business in 2001 - closed six years later - and had a high position as a chef at Taj Hotels. He then bought himself a ticket to Bangkok for a fresh start at an Indian restaurant in the Thailand’s capital.
Since its opening in 2010, Gaggan has won numerous accolades, contributing to Bangkok's status as a world-class dining destination: the restaurant has become No. 1 on the list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants for four consecutive years and has just been recognized with two Michelin stars by the Thai edition of the acclaimed French guide. His restaurant’s consistently high ratings are a remarkable achievement for an Indian chef in the spotlight of the haute cuisine, and shows how the gastronomy world has gradually become more diverse and plural, highlighting also chefs from countries outside the Europe-United States circuit.
Gaggan has also been known to host world-class restaurant chefs at four-handed dinners at his restaurant located in the Bangkok’s hip neighborhood of Lumpini, bringing many world-class chefs to Thailand’s capital. Lately, Anand is also proving to be a good restaurant investor in the city, having opened businesses such as Meatlicious, a casual steakhouse/burger joint and the Sühring Twins' eponymous German restaurant. More recently, he inaugurated Gaa, an European-Asian fusion restaurant (where garima Amora, the head chef, was recognized as the Best Female chef according to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants) and Wet, a natural-focused wine bar - both run by Gaggan alumni. By 2020, he might close his famous restaurant after 10 years of activities to devote himself to a project with Japanese chef Takeshi Fukuyama of La Maison de la Nature Goh in Japan.