We Love: The Gaggan Episode on Chef’s Table
As Indians, we’re always thrilled when one of our own achieves something. This time, the achiever is Gaggan Anand, and the feather in his (chef’s) hat is an episode on Netflix’s gorgeously shot documentary-series, Chef’s Table.
You’ve probably heard of this marvellous show if you’re as obsessed with food as we are. The show premiered its 2nd season on May 27th, and we ran to its last episode first, featuring Gaggan Anand, arguably India’s finest international chef.
The episode is set in Bangkok, the city an elegant Gaggan restaurant calls home, as well as Kolkata, the city chef Gaggan is from. We see him in markets and restaurants, where he talks about his food and their journey to international fame and acclaim.
Our favourite dramatic high points of the episode are Gaggan’s sincere opening bites on the importance and politics of food in India, when he talks about his brother’s demise, and when he’s recollecting the evening Gaggan won Asia’s Best Restaurant in 2015 the episode is as well shot as any of them. Smoky, crowded markets in slow motion, a kitchen bustling with a global staff, and the perfectly plated food give you more eye candy than any Lower Parel nightclub on a Saturday night.
Gaggan Anand’s story is more dramatic than a Bollywood movie: littered with professional failures, financial and personal loss, delays in new ventures, eventually elevating to one of the finest tasting menus Indian food may see after an apprenticeship at El Bulli, the world’s most celebrated at one time.
A signature of Chef’s Table episodes is to grasp the personality ay from talking about the chef’s personality. He’s a rock-loving, passionate chef who has a pleasantly playful side. His knowledge of Indian food’s history is sharp, and he’s unafraid to describe local terms like ‘chatpata’ to the international staff in his kitchen.
The food looks strikingly beautiful, whether it’s the cheekily-named Who Killed The Goat? or the Indian Foie Gras, which is later revealed to be goat brain. Gagan also makes vegetarians happy, with dishes like Bird’s Nest and Yoghurt Explosion, or even his Samosa.
Mason Florence, Regional Chairperson of World’s 50 Best Restaurants points out the food from Gaggan’s kitchen is refreshing for turning our typically à la carte cuisine to the flow of a tasting menu. Opinions about Gaggan are polarising, some praising it as one of the memorable meals of their life, while others are scandalised at the molecular gastronomy approach to Indian food. This narrative may be similar to eating at Masimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana.
This episode is a must-watch for us for its portraying a chef who is doing Indian food a great service on the international stage.
Other reasons to watch Chef’s Table are the fairytale, slo-mo cinematography, the intense narratives of each chef, and a chance to peek into some of the finest, most exotic and celebrated tables in the whole wide world.
What do you think of the best Indian restaurant being outside India? Tell us in the comments below!