World Chefs: Gaggan Anand's progressive Indian cuisine

Tue Oct 8, 2013 2:33pm EDT
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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Gaggan Anand began cooking to avoid classrooms but one subject the Kolkata native embraces is science.

After leaving school in India, Anand cooked in the kitchens of some of Asia's best hotels before studying with the research team at Spain's famed El Bulli restaurant where he learned to physically and chemically transform ingredients.

At the eponymous Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok, Anand applies his training at Ferran Adria's culinary lab by translating traditional flavors from his homeland into works of art that challenge preconceptions about how Indian food should taste and look.

A self-proclaimed rebel, Anand spoke to Reuters about his deconstructive approach to Indian cooking, ranging from spherical raita that bursts in the mouth to "Viagra" oysters with truffle foam served in a treasure chest.

Q: Did you always know you were going to do molecular cuisine when you opened Gaggan?

A: I was bored of doing the same old thing because I'm the kind of person whose anxiety levels are very high, so I wanted to do something which had not been done before to Indian food. At first we wanted to open a curry house with tapas style food but over time our concept evolved. It was a journey that I did not plan.

Q: How was your concept received in Bangkok?

A: My misconception was that, apart from their own cuisine, Bangkokians only like Italian and Japanese food. I was proved wrong and our restaurant, with its cutting-edge approach to Indian food, has its own market which is people who want to eat comfort food made using new techniques. This is food for the common man and not for the pretentious foodie.   Continued...

Staff prepare for dinner service at Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha