Some Lesser Known Facts About Gaggan Anand
- Gaggan Anand was born to Punjabi parents in 1979 in Kolkata. During his childhood, he was more interested in becoming a drummer than a chef. He also performed in some local rock bands before starting his career as a chef. Sharing his childhood memories on his official site he has stated
I and my father would get fresh produce and create a menu that we would cook together and this became one of my fondest memories of childhood. I was always caught stealing food from the pots while dishes were cooking. I would dip pieces of bread into simmering curries and this simple act created such fond memories of food. I always wanted to be a musician. I dreamt of being a professional drummer in a band, but one day, as a teenager, I realized that my economical situation would never improve pursuing my dream as a musician, so I went to the next thing I knew best, which was cooking. I was admitted to IHMCT Kovalam in 1997, about as far away from home as one could be, and I never looked back. I never saw a horizon without the view of a kitchen with it. I remember my first cooking instructor recognizing raw talent in me. He observed as I cooked glazed carrots, caramel pudding, bread rolls, steak, mashed potatoes and beans, I remember it like it was yesterday. Since then, life has been a complete rollercoaster ride of a journey.”
- When he was six, the first thing that he made was instant noodles. He cried after cooking it because it did not look like the picture on the package.
- Sharing about his family in an interview, he said,
I grew up cooking with my parents, eating home cooked food with conversations around the dinner table and discussions of menus and dishes to be cooked and served at celebrations and festivities. Thank god cooking is not work, but rather an act of love and affection from you to your loved ones.”
- After receiving a diploma from the catering college, he began his training with the Taj Group. Later he left Taj Group and got married and started a catering company in Kolkata but the company failed. Then he spent one year doing a home delivery service from the Tollygunge area. He made 25 cents an hour. After this, his brother found him a job in 2003 to work in a cafeteria of a telecom company’s office in Kolkata. In an interview, he said,
I learned how to use $1 to make a meal that will satisfy a person.”
- In 2007, he moved to Bangkok and worked with a restaurant that was specialised in Indian cuisine named Red. Sharing his journey in Bangkok, he said,
When I arrived in Bangkok, I noticed there was no fine dining scene here, and I wanted to be the first. I always wanted to do something different. I worked with and followed the chefs in Europe who were elevating the world of fine dining, starting with Ferran Adria, he showed me that the whole world was into this heightened, playful dining culture. My mother always said “don’t play with your food” but that’s all we want to do now. It’s a taboo. Asia was just opening its eyes to the new dining world and it was by luck we found ourselves in the right place at the right time so we took the opportunity.”
- In 2009, he was in Spain in the Ferran Adrià’s Alícia Foundation. He divorced his wife and went to Bangkok to study an Indian restaurant there. At that time, he met Rajesh Kewalramani, who became his fan and who encouraged Anand to open his own place. He opened his own restaurant named Gaggan in December 2010. The restaurant was on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He also became the first Indian chef to work with Ferran Adrià’s research team at elBulli. Further, he worked with various restaurants in Bangkok.
- On the global level, the restaurant was ranked 17th in 2014.
- In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the restaurant Gaggan became the best restaurant in Thailand.
- It also won Asia’s best restaurant after appearing on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
- The restaurant was on number 10th, 23rd, 7th and 4th overall in the world in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 respectively.
- It also became the only Indian restaurant to ever rank in the top 50.
- On July 23, 2019, due to a rift with the partners, Gaggan resigned from his restaurant. He said in an interview,
While I was away on a family vacation after the negotiations, my ex-partners tried to buy my team from me, bribing them with bonuses and flowery promises. One of the most powerful moments of my life was finding that my team of 65 rebels defied the promises of money and instead chose love and loyalty. They defied greed and from this we were given the strength to follow our passions.”
- On November 1, 2019, he opened his own restaurant in Bangkok named ‘Gaggan Anand.’
- In 2020, it came as a shock when Gaggan declared that he was planning to close the restaurant and open a new restaurant with 10-seat that would open on weekends in Japan.
- In an Instagram post, he shared his reason for leaving India and his relations with his first wife. He said,
The true reason I left India was that no one would believe but today I am not scared to say that I ran from my first wife .. she was my first love we were together from 1998.. I ran from her becoz after 7 years of toxicity I had no love left although funny enough I gave her second chance we lived in thailand together 2007-2008. She was the most Abusive person I met .. mentally ill or maybe I always thought I wasn’t good enough…we separated legally and I forgave her but the scars remain .. and this is life many times relationships happed love happened and things change love is healing today I have love and happiness becoz I believe in love and rebel in life .. Don’t accept and loveless life in a toxic relationship being free and happy is most important thing. Happy valentines to all of u .. real love heals !! 14 years back I ran to freedom
- In 2021, his restaurant ‘Gaggan Anand’ debuted on No.5 in ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.’
- He has opened other restaurants as well. These include Meatlicious and Sühring.
- He was seen in episode 6, season 2 of ‘Chef`s Table’ which was telecasted on Netflix. Chef`s Table-Facebook
- He was also seen in Episode 1 of Season 1 of ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ which was also telecasted on Netflix.
- Talking about his biggest rebel, he said in an interview,
I think I’ve changed the history of Indian food. If I go back to India today, I will find something in Indian restaurants that I’ve done. It’s incredible because that is my legacy. My biggest rebellion was that I didn’t want Indian cuisine to look like it’s all naan, kulcha and biryani”.
- In an interview, he talked about why he did not open a restaurant in India. He said,
The problem in India is that we think the customer is always right. Chefs will modify their dishes according to what the guest wants. We are too pampered. My cuisine is not meant to pamper, it is to understand and enjoy. We cook what Gaggan wants to cook. That’s why I had to get international recognition before coming back to India. If I had started here as a nobody, I don’t think it would have worked.”
- Gaggan has split up with his second wife as well. Currently, he is dating Mint Pattarasaya.
- On his Instagram, he shares pictures of the food prepared by him and his chefs. He also shares posts with his daughter.
- During the lockdown, he found himself in depression. To cure himself, he went to the gym and started exercising so that he could feel good about himself.