Reclaiming the Culture
Tatler Malaysia|January 2022
From rock bottom to rock and roll, chef Gaggan Anand gets candid about shifting attitudes towards Indian cuisine ahead of his highly anticipated Singapore pop-up
Coco Marett
On June 20, the Foo Fighters played the first full-capacity arena show in New York City since the start of the pandemic—a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.

“It wasn’t bloody Justin Bieber or Billie Eilish, it was the Foos,” Gaggan Anand, the famed chef behind his eponymous Bangkok restaurant, says excitedly over the phone. He was there that night, and fondly recalls watching a teary-eyed Dave Grohl open the concert with the band’s 2002 hit, Times Like These.

“He sang, ‘It’s times like these you learn to live again. It’s times like these you give and give again,’ and that really captured the idea of life after Covid-19,” says Anand. “I’m an artist, and I haven’t been able to do what I want to do, what I need to do. I want to cook again.”

The spirit of rock and roll plays an important role in his purpose as a chef. For Anand, cooking is a balancing act of rebellion and respect. His respect is for ingredients for the camaraderie of the kitchen. Yet he is driven by a desire to rattle the cage, to rebel against what the world thought it knew about Indian cuisine.

In his feature episode on Netflix’s Chef’s Table series, Anand says that if a country like India, which has “such a deep knowledge about food” isn’t represented in the world at the right level, it’s “a disgrace”.

“And that is our fault,” says Anand, who has spent more than ten years showcasing India’s potential on the global fine dining stage. “What hasn’t been done in Indian food, is no one thought it lavish. It’s the lack of motivation, the lack of guts, where we’d rather focus on opening diner-style curry houses that mass produce food.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TATLER MALAYSIAView All

The Greener Good

It's not easy being green, but six Malaysian brands are helping us take that first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle

10+ mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

The Natural

Instrumental in shaping Kuala Lumpur's urbanscape, Hijjas Architects & Planners is now led by founder Hijjas Kasturi's daughter, Serina. She speaks exclusively to Tatler about the urgency of building sustainably and being adaptable

5 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

On the Right Track to Sustainability

Porsche is laying the groundwork for a high-performance charging network across three countries in an effort to reduce carbon emissions

4 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

Small Spaces, Big on Taste

Size does not matter at these eateries, where seating might be limited but flavours are in abundance

3 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

Soaking Good

Tough week? Why not treat yourself to a Japanese onsen this weekend

2 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

The Future of Food

Tatler explores whether cultivated meats—grown in a lab from animal cells—are really more sustainable and whether they will find a permanent place on Asia’s dining tables

10+ mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

Out of Clay

Ahead of his first solo show in Asia, artist Ibrahim Mahama tells Tatler how his practice sustains future generations

7 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

Hidden Strengths

Tatler's resident wine expert recommends five glasses of wine that are not only complex and delicious, but that celebrate the best of human resilience

4 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

Mohamed Tarek El-Fatatry

Entrepreneur Mohamed Tarek El-Fatatry talks about his journey in reducing e-waste and saving the planet

2 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022

In a Class of Her Own

Family has always been the crux of Datin Paduka Tunku Khadijah Tunku Abdul Rahman’s existence. Turning 90 in October, she shares the story of her life with Tatler as she walks down memory lane

7 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
May 2022
RELATED STORIES