It may seem surprising that during his adolescence, Anand Gaggan (Calcutta, India) was more interested in playing drums for a rock band than cooking. He ended up becoming one of the most distinguished chefs in the world.
Gaggan sought different ways to understand the world around him and decided to travel to Spain to study at the workshop of the celebrated Spanish chef Ferran Adria. He became steeped in culinary innovation, soaked up new techniques and transferred his newfound knowledge into the realm of Indian cuisine.
After finishing his studies, it became clear to him that Bangkok would be the place to unleash his imagination. He moved to Thailand in 2007, but his first year there proved to be more difficult and disappointing than he had hoped. He worked for several Indian restaurants that didn’t understand his determination to create innovative signature dishes within a very traditional environment that was unlikely—and unwilling— to adopt any changes.
Frustrated and disappointed but eager to continue working in Bangkok—the chef fell in love with the city and the raw materials available to him—Anand decided to open his restaurant in the city center and call it Gaggan. With the help of a loyal group of friends, his dream of a restaurant in Bangkok came true in 2010.
1. Private room with view of the open kitchen.
2. Anand Gaggan.
3. The restaurant is housed inside an old colonial house.
If it sounds unusual that an Indian would prepare the best cuisine in Bangkok, we should look at the city’s demographics. The cosmopolitan Thai capital has grown exponentially in the last decade, attracting many professionals and entrepreneurs that have turned this world-class city into one of the most successful economic hubs in Southeast Asia.
As a result, Bangkok displays a great variety of high-end culinary trends. We should include Anand`s cuisine among these. The chef auteur reinterprets—with respect and talent—the street cuisine of his ancestors with a touch of modernity, introducing innovations like molecular gastronomy, the use of liquid nitrogen, and visually impactful dishes of remarkable flavors.
His lamb chops with smoked whiskey, yogurt, and mango chutney is one of his most celebrated creations, as well as the chicken kebabs with mixed green pepper and a cilantro mousse, among other delicious proposals.
The restaurant is housed in a colonial building and decorated with reed furniture, ceiling fans, and white walls. There are several private dining rooms, including one located off the kitchen, where diners can watch the work of Anand and his team closely. Service is discreet and highly professional, and we should recommend the wine list as well as the original cocktails.
In recent years, Gaggan Restaurant has held important positions in the list of “50 Best Restaurants in the World” by S. Pellegrino. In 2014, it was ranked seventeenth, and in 2015 it managed to win the award for best restaurant in Asia and tenth in the world. Quite an achievement for a young man born in Calcutta— who one day dreamed of being a rock star and eventually became one of the best and top rated chefs in the world. ■