Come February and Delhiites are in for a special treat. Michelin-star chef and renowned culinary innovator, Gaggan Anand, who has his eponymous restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok – rated number 1 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 and 2021 – will be cooking at Hyatt Regency Delhi for 20 days.
The 20-day-long special residency from February 18, 2023 to March 14, 2023 will be catering to 30 guests every night in two shifts. “It’s a residency and not a pop up. We will be shutting down our restaurant in Bangkok for the duration and the entire staff will come to India to replicate the experience of Gaggan right here in Delhi,” said chef Gaggan Anand.
Describing his restaurant’s philosophy, Anand added, “We are like a theatre, an opera where you come and dishes are served to you over 25 courses and two-and-a half hours. That is magic.” A similar immersive and theatrical dining experience will be provided to guests in Delhi. “It will be dimly lit and you will be able to see only the dishes or the chef,” he explained.
The 25-course menu will use only local and seasonal ingredients. “I will not use salmon and truffles. My soul is Bengali and I am biased to Bengali fish. I will use bhetki,” said Anand.
Anand also opined that he was surprised at how tasty and yet how cheap the street food in markets such as Chandni Chowk and INA was. “Eating in that chaos, I realised how important it was to connect and that’s what I want to bring to the table in Delhi. It’s taken me 12 years to come to Delhi. 12 years for me to be confident enough to close the restaurant in Bangkok and bring all 18 people from there to here. Everyone who is hands on in the restaurant will be here to replicate the restaurant here. I don’t think any chef apart from Rene [Rene Redzepi, chef and co-owner of the three Michelin-star restaurant Noma] has the guts to do it.”
Anand said he is excited about the residency. “I want to do this, because this is like a test match, I have always played T-20. It’s always been pop-ups, events organised by someone which get sold out and everyone praises me. This is more challenging.”
Describing his menu, Anand points out that 25 courses mean 25 different textures and 25 different techniques of cooking. “It is 25 sensualities, emojis and emotions. And most importantly, my 25-year-old journey as a chef.” Anand started his career in 1997 when he entered IHMCT in Kovalam as a hotel management student.
In November 2010, he opened Gaggan in Bangkok that over the next nine years went on to win several awards including two Michelin stars. However, after a split with his partners in mid-2019, Gaggan was shut and by the end of 2019, Anand reopend Gaggan in its current avatar – a 14-seater restaurant serving a 25-course menu over two-and-a half hours. “We are probably the only restaurant in Asia which is open for only 4 days a week. It’s a 30 per cent drop in profit but it’s 100 per cent peace,” says Anand.
Known for serving courses where guests are encouraged to lick their plates and eat with their hands, Anand says similar courses will be served at Delhi too. The second-last course will be a drink served in a feeding bottle that the guests are expected to suck.
While the price for the meal in Delhi has not been finalised yet, in Bangkok the meal costs THB 12,000 plus taxes per person. “Why do we charge so much? It’s for the dish and the effort that goes behind it. There’s a chana masala I serve which is in a paper-like glass and it takes four chefs to make it. You will eat it in one second but the effort is monumental,” said Anand.
Anand’s residency is a part of the many experiences and celebrations that Hyatt Regency Delhi has planned for its guests as it completes 40 years in the capital this year. “It is just another way for enticing our loyal patrons,” said Shrikant Wakharkar, Area Vice President North India and General Manager Hyatt Regency Delhi.
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