Portrait of a Chef: Gaggan Anand
This Kolkata boy has always looked for new ways to push the envelope when it comes to both form and flavours of ingredients and dishes and has mastered the art of molecular gastronomy as well as unusual plating
This week: Gaggan Anand
Where you’ll find him: Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
Gaggan Anand is a chef who has donned several hats. Rockstar, rebel and mad genius are some of them. His non-conformist approach to food has certainly paid off. Gaggan, his two Michelin-starred restaurant in Bangkok, has consistently been voted the best restaurant in Asia for three years straight. Next year, while still at the peak of its popularity, Anand plans to close it down and open a small restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan, with the talented chef Takeshi Fukuyama. This Kolkata boy has always looked for new ways to push the envelope when it comes to both form and flavours of ingredients and dishes and has mastered the art of molecular gastronomy as well as unusual plating. His signature dish, the Yogurt Explosion, explores the idea of food as a multi-sensory experience .
How did you arrive at your signature dish?
One day, I had gone to a 7/11 to pick up something to eat and while shopping around, I saw a box of yogurt and I wanted to create something new with it. In India every second street food dish has yogurt in some form and it is also an important part of Indian cooking. My training at elBulli had given me the techniques to play with but I also wanted to create something that was very Indian. And so I experimented in the middle of the night in my home kitchen with very basic ingredients and ended up creating what I regard as my most memorable dish. Today the success of Gaggan is completely based upon this signature dish. There are many restaurants in India that have created their versions of the “yogurt explosion" and this marks the dish’s success. I feel I created and reformed Indian cuisine in one spoon.
The best meal you have ever eaten?
The food I ate at Central Restaurante, a contemporary Peruvian restaurant in Lima.
Your favourite ingredient to work with
I love Japanese ingredients for their combination of taste, flavour and authenticity.
Most adventurous thing you’ve eaten
I am very non-adventurous when it comes to trying new things especially ants and bugs. It’s a big No for me.
Most underrated culinary destination
What’s the most rewarding part of being a chef?
To see the sparkle in the eyes of guests when they don’t know what is going on and blowing their mind and senses with my menu.
Your dream dinner guest
The band members of Foo Fighters.
This is part of photographer Rohit Chawla’s special series on celebrated chefs from around the world.