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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tête à Tête #26 : Gaggan Anand, the Indian cuisine wizard!

Gaggan, chef at the best restaurant in Asia: his eponymous restaurant in Bangkok Gaggan
He has been able to reinterpret the classical indian dishes to offer us a modern version of it without failing to conserve the authenticity. 
He was the 1st Indian chef to take an internship with none other than Ferran Adria
I was able to eat at his restaurant a couple of years back and I could interview him on his last visit to Barcelona for the Forum Gastronomic. 
The Forum Gastronomic is a platform where the novelties in gastronomy as well a show-cookings and talks from the biggest chefs cohabit for few days. 
So here we are: a very special interview with one the best chef in the world and my very first interview with an Indian chef. The conversation just flew. I have tried to gather bits and parts of it. 

BelleBarcelone: You have revolutionised the Indian Cuisine. 
How do you feel about it?
Gaggan: I started to cook what people wanted to eat and now I serve what I want them to eat. I did it with passion & ambition. This is a dialogue from Spiderman: with power comes responsibility.  I have a responsibility to serve good food. I have a great team, Garima worked at Noma, my pastry chef, Solanky worked at the Oberoi & Fauchon. Rydo Anton, head chef at Gaggan is Indonesian.  We are a well prepared team and multicultural and we are serving a different concept of Indian Cuisine. The future is to develop the talent of people like that, a responsibility to nurture talent. You have to find people who are ambitious and passionate. 

BB: Is Gaggan an unique concept in Bangkok? 
GGGThere are Thai cuisine who are serving this nouvelle cuisine too, they just want to serve what they think is in vogue. 
I have other restaurants there, very different and nothing similar to Gaggan. We have Meatlicious  ( a steak House it just need quality & good meat). It also has great vegetarian dishes by the way , we also serve beef ( beef is usually not served nor eaten by the Hindus).We also have Sürhing, ran by two german chefs and offering german nouvelle cuisine. Like I said I like nurturing talent and investing in them. Garima is opening a restaurant very soon opposite Gaggan callled Garima.
BB: Are you planning on opening in India? 
GGG: No! I was 29 years in India. I was talent but they didn't accept me. India isn't prepared for my cuisine and I don't want to negotiate on my cuisine. We can't do what India wants. Bukhara is the best restaurant in India, it's great food but their menu hasn't change in 35 years. That's what India wants, traditional cuisine, we can't afford to offer 30 dishes i one seating. In 2020 I will close Gaggan,  I will open a ten seaters in Japan, open only on weekends. Something new, something nobody has done previously. I will cook and sit and eat with the guests. 

BB: How do you innovate your menu?
GGG: 80% of our menu are starters and surprising dishes. We finish with a couple of traditional curries. I serve what I want and at the end I give the client a bit of what he wants. He comes out with a completely new experience. 
I innovate with my team, we just try new things, I don't read book anymore. When you read books you get misguided. I love Instagram, every night I check who has been there. Even while I am here I know who is eating there and I know what they have liked and what they haven't. It's a great tool. 

BB: What chefs inspire you?
GGG: Of course I came to Spain as I wanted a stage with Ferran Adria. He is my pope. I admire the Roca Brothers, Albert Adria, the Mugaritz chef. But now what inspires me are my journeys. Japan is amazing, you can't have a bad meal in Japan. Even Indian food is amazing in Japan. 
We create new dishes with the team while arguing and then something new comes out of it. It's the fun of discovery, of adventure. 
We create food to eat by hand. It's a new whole experience for our customers and they love it. Most of our Indian dishes areinspired by the street food in India.The seafood in India is great too. It's inspiring ! Its amazing! 

BB: Where do you like hanging out in Bangkok?
GGG: Twice a month we do a huge BBQ outside Gaggan. 
We have beers after work at a guy that use to sell beers in a cart outside Gaggan. Now he has a car! We love Ramen, Pad Thai restaurants on the street, seafood restaurants. Izakaya restaurant.. We have lots of street vendors outside Gaggan: ice cream vendors...

BB: What would be the special meal you would want for a special occasion? 
GGG: My mom's Dhal Chawal ( typical Indian home food, a warm lentil soup served with white rice). Nothing can beat that. I get all the fancy food everyday. For me the ordinary is the extraordinary. 

BB: One dish with 3 ingredients?
GGG: Dahi Chawal: steamed rice, yoghurt & kala namak (black salt) 

BB: Your favorite Breakfast?
GGG: South Indian specially, thick dosa with chutney. Mutta curry (kerala egg curry) 

BB: Your favorite cuisine?
GGG: Apart of Indian, I love Japanese. 

BB: Your favorite dish?
GGG: Ramen!

BB: One ingredient you can't cook without? 
GGG: Chillies! 

BB: One ingredient you would never use?
GGG: Brocoli!

Draw something: 
Hug Me: I smell Like curry!  ( a story behind it. No to racism! )

Check our youtube video: 

Emoji Menu at Gaggan. A wink to Instagram. 

With The Gaggan Team! 

With young Indian talent in Barcelona: Chef Anjalina & Chef Ivan. 


A day with BelleBarcelone

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