The culinary industry is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world and yet, with a cuisine like ours, there aren't many Indian chefs that are renowned world over.
While chefs like Vikas Khanna and Sanjeev Kapoor have become celebrities of the culinary world, the representation of Indian food on the world map is still quite small.
But did you know that a restaurant in Thailand with Indian cuisine as its inspiration is one of the best restaurants in the world?
Gaggan, the restaurant run by chef Gaggan Anand has been named Asia's Best for two consecutive years and ranks 17th in the list of the best restaurants in the world.
Gaggan Anand started his journey from the by-lanes of Kolkata and is on his way to reaching the top.
His first love was music but after an injury, when he couldn't play the drums anymore, Gaggan found his inspiration in food.
He was a star student while he was in catering college but that soon changed when he started working at a luxury group of hotels. He soon left that job and started his own catering company but realised that more than cooking, he was dealing with the logistics of his business.
Gaggan's food dream was to introduce the vast variety of Indian cuisine to the world and soon, he moved to Thailand to give his dreams the kick-start they needed.
His work was getting noticed in Bangkok but Gaggan wanted to expand his horizon. He got himself an internship at the Michelin-starred restaurant, elBulli, in Spain and this was when he was already an established chef!
He then started his own restaurant, Gaggan, in Bangkok in 2010 and called his food, 'Progressive Indian cuisine'.
While our cuisine is probably the best comfort food, Gaggan introduced it as a fine-dining concept.
The success of Gaggan had people literally queuing up for a table. At one point, there used to be a 3-month waiting period.
Chefs work for years to reach the kind of success that Gaggan received in a fairly short time. In just 4 years, his restaurant entered the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants.
His success speaks volumes of his originality. One look at his preparations and you'll know what we're talking about!
For instance, this dish is an edible "plastic" bag of nuts made with translucent rice paper:
There's also this magic mushroom dish featuring forest mushrooms in the shape of a log with edible "soil" and a mini-garden:
To further expand, Gaggan did not follow the regular route of opening more branches. Instead, he opened another restaurant, Meatlicious. This restaurant specialises in steaks but with an interesting spin.
Shockingly, Gaggan plans to shut down his restaurant in 2020.
At the peak of his career, Gaggan does not plan to continue to mint money out of his flagship restaurant for a long time. In fact, he plans to shut it in 2020 and start a new restaurant in Japan. He doesn't wish to be a celebrity chef on television or write cook books because he believes that he cannot possibly focus on his restaurant as much if he expands his empire.
He is one of the most celebrated chefs today but his earliest memory of food is eating Phuchkas in Kolkata.
His mother is his inspiration and Gaggan has made many sacrifices to reach this place in life. He couldn't even attend his brother's funeral because of his work commitments but the last letter his brother wrote to him gave him a lot of strength.
Gaggan has re-invented Indian cuisine and even though he serves curry as only the last course in his tasting, eventually, he plans to let go off it completely.
We all know that Indian cuisine is much more than curries and Chicken Tikka Masala and with Gaggan's vision, the world is opening up to the variety Indian food has to offer.
Gaggan's food is presented in a beautiful aesthetic way but at its core, the flavours are all Indian.