Get progressive with chef Gaggan Anand
We eat food using our six senses. You look at the food, smell it, touch it, hear it, taste it and remember it by memory,” says Chef Gaggan Anand whose Bangkok-based restaurant, Gaggan, which serves progressive Indian food, features at number 17 on the 2014 list of 50 World’s Best Restaurants.
Dhokla or lentil flour cakes with coconut ice cream. Pic credit/Sansith Koraviyotin
Along with Mangal Dalal and Nachiket Shetye of Cellar Door Hospitality, he will host a four-day pop-up event, Cellar Door Kitchen, at The Four Seasons Hotel, Worli from September 9 to 12, after which the pop-up will move to Delhi.
Growing up in a family which cooked every meal together, Anand moved to Thailand in 2007.
Reminiscing about his university days in Indian Institute of Hotel Management in Thiruvananthapuram, Anand recalls competing with his peers when it came to chopping onions. “We placed bets on who could chop 1 kg onions the fastest. I always won. Once, I took on a challenge to chop ginger and almost lost my finger. I still have a scar from that accident, but it is a happy memory,” says Anand, who loves Japanese cuisine. “The Japanese are the pioneers of what we call modern cooking methods. But there’s one thing we gave them. India is the pioneer when it comes to frying and the tempura is India’s gift to Japan,” he tells us. Excerpts from the interview:
Chef Gaggan Anand doesn’t believe in overpowering his dishes with too many spices
Q. Tell us about the menu you have planned for the four-day pop-up.
A. We will serve progressive Indian food. The menu will include my popular dishes, such as Yogurt spherifications, Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri, White Asparagus and experimental dishes in fish and lamb, too. There are two types of food — one that a customer wants and the other is what the chef wants you to eat. The pop-up falls in the latter category (laughs).
Q. What is progressive Indian cuisine? Is it similar to fusion food, which takes two distinct cuisines and creates a
A. Fusion is confusion. Progressive is stepping into the future with an avant-garde approach. It’s all about innovation, creativity and experimental cooking.
Q. What inspired you to enter the food industry?
A. My dad is a great cook and I remember helping him, as a kid, with grocery shopping on Sunday. My earliest memories of food are gorging on street food in Kolkata and food prepared by my mother — which my cooking reflects even today.
Q. What is your inspiration behind the menu at your restaurant, Gaggan?
A. At my restaurant in Bangkok, we are always inspired by our travels, the food we eat, the ingredients we come across and techniques we see. It is about how we adapt ourselves and Indian tradition with food. Mom taught me to be simple and not to overpower any dish with too many spices.
At: Four Seasons, Worli
When: September 9 to 12