A pioneer of progressive Indian cuisine, Chef Gaggan Anand is on a roll. His eponymous Bangkok restaurant recently scooped the No.1 spot at this year’s prestigious Acqua Panna-S.Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. Much in demand and not one to rest on his laurels – he is currently planning a new bar outlet – the busy chef found a few minutes between kitchen duties and a plethora of media commitments for a quick chat with Bangkok 101.
How important was your Asia’s 50 Best win for Bangkok’s fine dining scene?
Hugely important – but then I’m bound to say that aren’t I! Seriously, it’s another bold statement after the success of David Thompson’s Nahm last year. It shows that Bangkok is definitely coming of age as a fine dining destination in Asia. We were well represented at the recent awards with excellent Bangkok restaurants showing a range of international cuisines, and I think we’ll continue to punch above our weight in the future.
In your opinion, does Bangkok warrant its own Michelin guide?
Many restaurateurs here, myself included, think so. It is high time but I wonder will the Michelin people be as flexible in terms of selection criteria as they have been in Japan.
Tell us more about your new bar project.
It’s going to raise the bar in Bangkok! We plan to have a lab dedicated to creating cocktails and more. Mixology will involve both bartenders and chefs. It also gives me the chance to indulge in one of my other passions – music – and I will probably DJ whenever I get the opportunity!
What’s currently influencing you in the kitchen?
Kolkata, my home town. We are currently putting together a new menu based on my early memories of Kolkata and in few weeks my whole research team is heading there to explore the culinary scene. I have challenged them to create their own innovative versions of the dishes they discover.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Mad and minimalistic! It is comfort food that has been developed through science and art. In the end it has to be progressive in approach. It is all about the intensity of flavours, the contrast in textures, and the need for original presentation. I suppose in this regard I was influenced by my time training under Ferran Adria at el Bulli in Spain.
How do you see Indian cuisine evolving in Bangkok?
Nothing much has happened lately, discounting the recent fad for kebab-style dining. We are still very old school really. Which is why I am opening a curry house right opposite my current restaurant to compete with us [ha ha!]
What do you do to escape the stresses of work?
Music and sex… often enjoyed simultaneously!
Where do you like to go out for a good meal or drinks in the city?
For good food and drink I like to visit Eat Me off Silom Road. It opens until late, so I can grab a meal after we close, and they cook whatever you want. The owner is also a dear friend and I think it’s important we support each other in the trade.
What do you think Bangkok’s next big dining trend will be?
I think we’ll see a clutch of young chefs looking to create Asian cuisines, particularly Thai, in a modern way. Much is made of the traditional aspects of Thai cooking but the techniques lend themselves to experimentation, which is why we have been seeing greater use of non-Thai ingredients in ostensibly traditional Thai dishes. Purists might not like it but I think it is exciting to see the local culinary arts moving with the times.
68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Rd
0 2652 1700 | eatatgaggan.com
Daily 6pm – 11pm