Crowned Asia’s best, for two years (2016 & 2017) in a row, is no easy feat! But to accept that honor and responsibility with utmost sincerity takes tons of passion, hard work, creativity and humility. That, is the reason I have long admired chef Gaggan Anand of Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok…. and it all started when I first watched him on the second season of a television series named Chefs Table in 2016.
Gaggan’s life story is truly inspirational. His struggles and successes have made him the man he is today. His is one of the most sought after kitchens in the world to work in. From what I hear, he encourages his team to be creative and to showcase their best talents…. and when they are ready to move on, Gaggan continues his support and mentorship in the next chapter of their lives.
An Indian by birth, transplanted to Bangkok Thailand due to circumstances, Gaggan Anand embraces his Indian roots and global sensibility to create dishes that folks rave about for days to come. His restaurant, Gaggan, is famed to be an memorable dining experience. It is groundbreaking in the way Indian flavors are being presented in such an unprecedented artful manner. Light hearted and fun, yet with mastery to rival the best of the best, this is one MUST experience for every gourmand.
Needless to say that, this foodie has been conniving ways to visit Bangkok ever since that Chef’s Table episode. It is a LONG flight to Bangkok, but I am certain I will make it happen soon. But the pressure is on, because in 2020 Gaggan Anand has decided to close this restaurant and move to Fukuoka Japan to open a 10-seater, weekend-only eatery.
Imagine my excitement and surprise when a friend messaged me to sign up for a 2-day Gaggan pop-up in New York city. Man! These reservation went FAST! I got whatever slot I could get and then began counting days, hours and minutes to the day. The Gaggan pop-up was at Chef’s Club Counter in downtown Manhattan… a casual eatery featuring signature dishes by well-known chefs worldwide.
The lighthearted fun at Gaggan restaurant carried through to the 8-course, rapid-fired menu at this pop up. The menu was written in emojis. And each course was paired with a specific song playing in the background. According to Gaggan, if this chef-thing was not going to work out, his plan was to join a band and exercise his love for music.
The food at the pop up was delicious and fun. Gaggan Anand’s culinary sensibility came through loud and clear. But due to the casual nature of the venue (and its kitchen) and the rapid-fire style of the menu, the courses were presented more simply rather than artfully. They had four one and half hour seatings each night, back to back! It was crazy experience, but one I was not going to miss at any cost!