“Today, everybody can wear a white jacket and say, ‘I’m a chef.’”
Whether for Netflix, his chef table, or bombastic personality, Gaggan Anand is one of the most well known celebrity chefs and restaurateurs in the city. Gaggan Anand’s Gaggan Anand Restaurant, after the closing of Gaggan in August 2019, opened during Covid, and the celebrity chef confirms that the 14-seat chef table will remain a permanent fixture in the post-Covid age. BK spoke with Gaggan about what he has in store for Bangkok post-Covid, the “influencers’ world of fine dining,” and trendssetting.
Are you opening a new venue?
No, the restaurant I have, we are now making that a permanent restaurant, because during Covid—we do it, not do it—and now it’s going to be a permanent venue, a chef’s table with 14 seats. It’s got about a two month’s waiting list as of now and we are only open for 10 months a year. What we’ll do is we’ll do a season, four months or so, and then one month will be out of the season, and then we’ll come back for three or four months and do one more. It’ll be seasonal, it’ll be very limited. I want to get out of that fame and fortune of being in a restaurant and rather focus on what I like to cook.
So the menu will be changing seasonally?
Hundred percent seasonally. It’s 25 courses. It’s one flat ticket. Now we are doing one round and in December we’re doing two rounds. Financially, with one round, we don’t even make B100,000 profit. So what we want to do is do two rounds so that we make income and sustain the restaurant. It’s just going to be one floor, 14 seats, two rounds a day. You pay one ticket price of B12,000++, and that includes your wine and everything. One flat price.
Do you have anything else going on in your world?
We are opening Ms. Maria (Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh) in Singapore and then I’m opening up my Japanese restaurant with my Japanese partner, which is called Gohgan, which is opening in the first week of December, so everything that was holding back in Covid is now going on. Plus I am also Culinary Brand Ambassador with Tomorrowland. For me, as a chef, I’m only going to be in my restaurant where we have 14 seats. For me, this is my last restaurant in Thailand. I don’t want to do any more restaurants in Thailand. For me, this is it, one restaurant with 14 seats. The 14 of February is the last day of the season, and then the next season, we will go from April first through April, May, June. Then, July, we take a month break, and we come back in August. This is how the plan is going to be.
What are you looking forward to? What is the trend you want to set?
This is more answerable when you have the food. The food itself is compelling—how we do, what we are. The problem is that everyone tries to do the same thing. We’ve come down to the saturation of fine dining. Today, everybody can wear a white jacket and say, “I’m a chef.” Anyone with a little celebrity and the money and the capacity can go do one course for nine months at a fancy money making racket hotel school and come back and be a chef—and I don’t think that’s the future of gastronomy. …That shortcut to success is leading to so much of what I call the influencers’ world of fine dining. I want to get away from that as a trend.
How do you want to break that trend?
I only want to do 14 seats so we can kind of filter that crowd. I want people to come to my restaurant for the food and the memory—not for the awarded restaurant or famous chef or celebrity or Tik-Tok or Instagram. It’s about 14 people having their supper and enjoying that moment of their life. I want them to have the memory that they had a special night—or people visiting Bangkok that they had fun in Bangkok. Pretentious meals have taken over, where everything is flimsy. And I want to take them to F&B where the food and beverage is about the people and the personality.
Any new partnerships?
I am completely changing the coffee shop that I co-own with Suhring at Siam Paragon where I am going to create a new menu at the end of the month. …Last year I spent six months in New York and I want to bring that coffee culture here. The coffee culture here is very, again, Instagram-friendly, Tik-Tok-friendly coffee shops.