What do you do when your restaurant makes it to the 7th place in the World 50 Best list? Celebrate or promptly declare your intentions to shut down your celebrated restaurant in the near future? Well if you’re Gaggan Anand, then aye for the latter.
For those of you who don’t know Gaggan Anand, allow me introduce y’all to the legend of a (Kolkata-born) chef.
Gaggan, a true blue Punjabi munda took to honing his culinary skills after his interest in music and drumming receded. He passed out from IHMCT, Kovalam and started working as a trainee with The Taj. Soon he left Taj and went on to pursue his dream in Bangkok where he took up a job at Red, a restaurant specializing in contemporary Indian cuisine. From there, he went on become the first chef of Indian descent to work with Ferran Adria at elBulli, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Spain. When he came back, he was frustrated with the food scenario in Bangkok which “did not want to experiment”. Thus was born ‘Gaggan’, his eponymous restaurant in 2010 and there has been no turning back.
Anand working on Matcha ice-cream
‘Gaggan’ has enjoyed the privilege of being in the ‘World’s 50 Best’ list since a long time now. It was however this year that the rank climbed up to an all-time high of 7th. But as eccentric as some of his dishes, he announced the closing of ‘Gaggan’ by 2020 to start a 10-seat, weekend-only restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan. Reason? “Because I don’t want to just become a brand,” says the prodigy of fusion foods.
Anand latest quest is to dish out over 300 memorable dishes in the span of next 36 months before ‘Gaggan’ marks an end. Anand is a helmsman to a fleet of chefs he has sourced from 18 countries. He has planned for four menus per year with about 25 courses in each menu. And let me tell you, each course promises to be a work of art.
Fusion, integration, synthesis, confusion, surprise and madness are the signature characteristics of each of Gaggan’s dishes. Some of Anand’s craftwork dishes one must try are: Eggplant cookie- Vegetables mashed and charred in tandoor, freeze-dried and compressed into a cookie and lastly sandwiched with onion chutney. Or maybe have a mustard wrapped sea bass cooked in cedar wood and charred on the table, served by the chef. And if you’re in for some sweetmeat, then the goat brain in a waffle is just what you’re looking for. The desserts also have somewhat familiar yet twisted dishes like the beetroot meringue with gooseberry, blue cheese and mushroom and the mango wasabi ice-cream with sea urchins.
'Meatlicious', the second venture of Gaggan Anand
Along with Gaggan, he also runs ‘Meatlicious’ and some new projects: Gaa, Raa, Sol, GohGan.
So if you’ve heard stories of 500 booking requests and a convenient three-month long waiting, then you’ve enough reasons to believe them. That’s precisely why he had to hire a team of 5 to take care of just the reservations!
Okay, I can talk the hind legs off the donkey when it comes to Gaggan Anand’s masterpiece culinary works! Guilty as charged.
Coming back, a raven bearing good news just arrived with a scroll saying that Anand would be visiting India in the upcoming week! Much thanks to the Taj group of hotels. He will be creating a menu of gastronomic delights drawing attention to the best of Indian food’s features.
Gaggan’s culinary tour takes off on 8th September, Mumbai. He would also be visiting Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai eventually. The itinerary goes like-
8 September 2017 - The Chambers at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.
10 September 2017 – Varq at Taj Mansingh, New Delhi.
12 September 2017 - Masala Klub at The Taj West End, Bangalore.
15 September 2017 – Prego at Taj Coromandel, Chennai.
Planning to book a seat, are y’all now? In the meanwhile, we'll tempt you with some picture of his chef-d'oeuvre dishes!
Hollandaise and white asparagus ice cream with thyme flowers
Pizza with figs
Uncooked raw curry of scallops, curry leaf oil, chilly oil, coconut icecream kelp cured, fried onions
Viagra - French Oysters freshly shucked served with kokam nectar and Indian mustard Ice Cream
Ultra light nitro poached chocolate mousse flower
Heineken fettuccine, Jack Daniel's ice cream and Havana rum sousvide cherry
Citrus waffle goat brain
Gaggan's version of Idli Sambhar - Idli sponge cake topped with sambhar flavoured foam and curry leaf.
Chilli Bonbon - Gaggan's version of panipuri
Title image: vogue