Asia’s Top Chef
Chef Gaggan Anand, whose Bangkok eatery topped the recent S. Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurant in Asia 2015 ranking, talks about his inspiration, irritations and women
What is keeping you busy these days?
Restaurant Gaggan keeps me running around all the time. It has been a month since I took a day off. This September, I hosted a pop-up restaurant in Delhi and Mumbai [in association with Cellar Door Kitchen]. I was travelling for weeks, picking up ingredients for it and reworking my current recipes.
What is the one thing every man should know about women?
Every man should know what a woman likes to eat.
What irritates you most about people?
I despise arrogance and snobbishness in people. I have requested people to leave my restaurant because they have behaved arrogantly and disrespected my staff.
What has been your biggest inspiration?
Life on the streets of India [Gaggan was born in Kolkata and worked with the Taj Group before he moved to Bangkok in 2007]. It has taught me so much about food and life in general.
Describe a typical Gaggan Anand day.
My mornings go as follows: a cup of espresso as soon as I wake up, walk my lovely three dogs, get ready for work, grab another coffee on my way there, reach work by 2pm, do my research on new dishes and try out new recipes, plan new stuff for the restaurant and work on the menu. Evenings are more relaxed. As soon as the restaurant opens, I start mingling with my customers and receive their feedback. Once we shut the restaurant, at around midnight, I am off for drinks with my team and some tasty street food before I go home to my sleeping wife.
If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be?
Former head chef at elBulli restaurant, Ferran Adria’s.
What do you look for in a meal?
Freshness. A meal has its own taste if served fresh.
Which is your favourite cooking ingredient?
What is the one dish you can never have enough of?
There are many, but if I have to pick one, it has to be puchka [panipuri].
What makes you happy?
The expression on people’s faces when they love my food.
What are you searching for?
I am looking for Ayurveda in food.
What is your biggest regret?
That I have not yet learnt how to swim.
What one skill should every man possess?
A good dressing sense.
Which is your favourite place on earth?
Which word or phrase do you overuse in the kitchen?
A swear word that starts with F. I use it too often in the kitchen, and my team is used to it by now.
What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be a good actor, though I would not want to be a part of Bollywood.
This interview originally appeared in Man’s World October 2014 issue