Gutsy Gaggan

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Gutsy Gaggan

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Our heartiest congratulations to Gaggan Anand, whose restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok has just been named the No.1 restaurant of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

The Kolkata-born chef is known for his creativity and singular take on Indian cuisine, and learned many of his progressive cooking techniques during an inspirational internship with the El Bulli research team under Ferran Adrià. Housed in a beautiful colonial-style property and with tasting menus that are equal parts nostalgic, playful and imaginative, it’s no wonder Gaggan has swiftly dominated as one of Asia’s most buzzed-about destination restaurants.

Despite his success, Gaggan, who always talks from the heart, is taking it all in stride: “We don’t have a hirearchy in the kitchen… the more you tend to be a bit ‘wild’, the higher the chances that you will shine with our team!”

As food-lovers ourselves, we couldn’t resist picking his brain about his favourite food experiences.

When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?

The day I learned how to break eggs. I was a kid – can’t remember how old – but I was helping my mom make her pound cake. From that point on I had no choice – I simply was not passionate enough about anything else. My family thought I would be a disaster. A Titanic that would sink.

Where do you unwind after a long day at work?

I love this restaurant called Eat Me. To me it’s like a soul food place where, after wrapping up for the day at my restaurant Gaggan, I can relax with my favourite Thai chili and basil pasta and a glass of wine. It helps that they’re open until late at night!

Please describe your favourite dish and tell us why it’s special to you.

Currently, it’s egg noodles with minced pork tom-yum style and served dry, from this shop within walking distance from my house. I have it about three times a week for lunch or breakfast. When he sees me park my car, the guy is ready with my bowl. I can never get over it. If I don’t have it when I am travelling, I actually start to feel frustrated.

When you return to your hometown, what foods are you excited to eat?

I start on the way home from the airport! I always pick up my favourite street food along the way, which always involves some sweet shops, and the obnoxious paan. My driver knows the route.

What should a visitor avoid, food-wise, in Bangkok?

A tom yum kung pizza. As a concept it can be enticing, especially for people who love tom yum and pizza – but together, it’s a total disaster. If you don’t trust me, try it for yourself… but you will remember my advice!

If you’re hosting a house party and really need to impress someone (potential in-laws, for instance), what would be your go-to dish?

I’d do a Sunday brunch – barbecued champagne beer steak, lamb chops, grilled vegetables, a whole fish baked in salt. To finish, a simple white chocolate and strawberry cake.

 

Best meal you’ve ever had?

My late grandmother’s jackfruit curry. She fooled me and told me it was lamb, and I emptied the pan!

Paul Calder

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