Mumbai chefs stay glued to Bangkok's first-ever Michelin guide

Dec 07, 2017, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Many Indian foodies, restaurateurs and chefs were glued to their TV sets yesterday, to watch the unveiling of Bangkok's first-ever Michelin guide

Many Indian foodies, restaurateurs and chefs were glued to their TV sets yesterday, to watch the unveiling of Bangkok's first-ever Michelin guide, the reputed restaurant ratings initiative put together by the tier company around the world that gives chefs many sleepless nights. And we hear India came out on top, as Kolkata boy, chef Gaggan Anand, whose eponymous progressive Indian restaurant in Bangkok, that has won numerous accolades over the years held the flag high, and was one of the three restaurants to receive the highest award of the evening - two glittering Michelin stars.

Gaggan Anand at the Michelin event
Gaggan Anand at the Michelin event

This makes Gaggan the only Indian chef in the world to hold two Michelin stars (Chef Srijith Gopinath of the Taj group had two stars previously for his restaurant in San Francisco, but his rating was downgraded this year to one star). And the celebrations for Gaggan didn't end there as one of his investments, Suhring, by German twin chefs, who were in India recently, received a Michelin star as well.

Deepak Ohri
Deepak Ohri

Another Indian boy was also gleaming post the announcement. Deepak Ohri, the dapper Indian hotelier and honcho of the Lebua hotel, which was the venue for the Hangover movie, also received two Michelin stars for his pet project, the group's European penthouse restaurant, Mezzaluna. No restaurants were awarded the three Michelin stars ranking as part of the inaugural edition, and we are informed that Michelin has short-listed India as part of their next phase of expansion, so we just may have some of our own starred restaurants very soon!

A song for Gauri
This week, friends of singer Suneeta Rao received a SoundCloud link to a song written, composed and sung by her Bangalore-based sister, the jazz musician Arati Rao, called A song for Gauri Lankesh.

Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh

"I have always been proud of my sister... but this time she has surpassed herself... and now the world will listen," Rao said about the tribute to the slain journalist murdered on her doorstep, who had fought the good fight and inspired many.

Arati Rao. Pic/facebook
Arati Rao. Pic/facebook

"Gauri was fearless. She had enemies but didn't care. She had a strong socio-political conscience, and spoke her mind at public gatherings and spread her word through her writings," said Arati about the song.

Suneeta Rao
Suneeta Rao

"The sheer brutality of the crime (she was shot seven times), reflects the intolerance displayed by opposing thought," she added. With Himanshu Gautam on guitar, Snehal Pinto playing bass and Rohit PS on drums, the song has a haunting lyricism about it and is a fitting anthem for Lankesh's legion of supporters. "This is the way she and her band would like to have the song shared, through their SoundCloud. Please listen...share and please spread the word!" said Rao, about her sister's recent musical creation.

Santa's little elves?
Anyone who has kids will understand why restaurateur Gauri Devidayal says her staff aged 'five years,' after their recent encounter with a bunch of eager beaver Mumbai brats out to learn how to bake. Kids are wonderful creatures, of course, and don't we all love 'em, but a handful of them, with flour-soaked hands? "After a year-and-a-half of being open, Magazine Street Kitchen reluctantly opened its doors to children for the first time last month with a children's cookie monster workshop," said Devidayal.

Kids at the workshop
Kids at the workshop

"I had a crazy number of messages from mums asking me to do a repeat after we posted pictures of the first workshop," she said. "Since my chefs felt like they aged about 5 years in those 1.5 hours that we hosted the kids, I waited for about two weeks till the memory started to blur and suggested to them that we do a second one!"
But there's a good reason for tolerating the kiddie onslaught said Devidayal.

Gauri Devidayal
Gauri Devidayal

"This Christmas, as the Kitchen prepares for its Christmas brunch, it's quite literally enlisted the help of Santa's elves, with a second children's cookie workshop preceding the brunch," she said, adding, "We think the chefs secretly loved having them…" Ho ho ho...

Eclectic gathering
The thing about jeweller and society diva Queenie Singh's birthday lunch yesterday, for which she'd booked an entire restaurant in a five-star at Lower Parel, was the eclectic group of women she'd managed to gather. From legal luminary Abha Singh to author Shobhaa De, to society queens like Kaykashan Patel and Sheetal Mafatlal, to designers like Maheka Mirpuri - they were all there; women from different age groups, professions and outlooks, and dare we say it, sartorial styles.

Queenie cuts her cake with her children Tiara and Rajveer
Queenie cuts her cake with her children Tiara and Rajveer

Singh herself looked resplendent in pink. "I did not see her have a single morsel of food or a sip of the beverages being served," swore one guest, after the event, which was 'all out of champagne' at 5 pm. Interestingly, given that the birthday girl commands so much affection across the city, we are informed that the party ebbed and flowed with the arrival of 'different sets of women.'

"The first batch was Madhoo Shah, Simone and Kaykashan, who came early. They were followed by Abha, Nisha JamVal, Raell Padamsee and other 'townies,'" said the source. "And then by 2.30 –3.00 a whole bunch of her friends from the suburbs arrived, many of them former models, having been stuck in traffic for hours. That way the party kept going on and on. Unlike most other ladies lunches, this one saw everyone really letting their hair down and mixing with everybody."

And the stand out? "The two women dressed in impeccable whites: Sheetal and Maheka," said the source. "That and the jumbo prawn in a sweet and spicy sauce that got every one wanting more," she added. Not as sweet and spicy as the afternoon's conversation we're sure.

Double celebration for Tanuj
This week, producer Tanuj Garg hosted an informal get-together for a few of his friends to mark a double celebration: his birthday, and the success of his recent Vidya Balan-starrer Tumhari Sulu. The early-drinks do on Tuesday night was at a newly refurbished lounge at a five-star at Santacruz, a great favorite of foodies and the city's young and restless brigade.

Tanuj Garg
Tanuj Garg

And braving the inclement weather and storm warnings, were the likes of music baron Bhushan Kumar with wife Divya, lensman and co-producer of the movie Atul Kasbekar, hostess and VJ Sophie Choudhry, politician Aaditya Thackeray and actors Rahul Bose, Suniel Shetty with wife Mana, Saiyami Kher, Tusshar Kapoor and film maker Ram Madhvani. Garg's good friend Vidya Balan, who was unable to make it, had sent an incredibly huge bouquet of flowers to the venue. "The highlight of the evening was the birthday boy's cake, designed by his friend Monica Sambharya, in tribute to Garg's passion for aviation: it had a replica of Garg seated in the first class suite of an airline watching - what else but Tumhari Sulu," says a guest.

Suneil Shetty
Suneil Shetty

Bhushan and Divya Kumar
Bhushan and Divya Kumar

Atul Kasbekar
Atul Kasbekar

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