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Gaggan Anand’s #BestMealEver

“Wow, how did they do this? Wow, wow!” said Gaggan Anand, owner and executive chef of Bangkok Indian restaurant Gaggan, (No.1, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, No. 10 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015) when asked about his #BestMealEver experience that mystified his sensibilities. Dining at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain (No. 1 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015) for Anand was a  “learning experience,” “inspiring” and “like a chapter in the gastronomic bible.”

“They had this beet root [dessert] with mousse inside, made of pulled sugar,” recalled Anand. “I don’t think I could do it, in my lifetime, with my hands,” he admitted. “That was [pastry chef] Jordi Roca and his magic.”

Did the dining experience at El Celler change the way Anand thinks about food? “Absolutely,” Anand said. “These are things you carry back home, the bag of ideas.”

For Anand, it’s not only the beguiling composition and exquisite flavor of Jordy’s beet root dessert that created a #BestMealEver experience. “As a chef, it’s about the seduction of eating and how my emotions were captivated,” he explained.

Opened in 2010 in downtown Bangkok, the award-winning progressive restaurant Gaggan is inspired by the street food of Anand’s hometown, Kolkata, India. Seasonal ingredients, fresh produce and science form the basis of Gaggan’s constantly evolving tasting menus.

Famous for creative, humorous dishes like Green with Envy—green peppercorn chicken kebabs combined with coriander foam—Gaggan reinvents regional Indian cuisine using modernist techniques. Liquid nitrogen, smoke and dehydrated ingredients are all part of the theater and flavor explosion of a Gaggan dining experience.

And yet, it’s El Celler de Can Roca that not only changed the way Anand thinks about food, but it provided a #BestMealEver experience he can’t forget. “The Roca brothers are an institution,” summarized Anand. “For me, dining there is a learning experience, like a chapter in the gastronomic bible.”