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INTELLIGE THE NEWS INSIGHT OPINION REVIEWS INNOVATION Gaggan named Asia’s No 1


Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 celebrated both new and established talent but, Maida Pineda reports, diversity emerged the winner


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nnounced in Singapore on 9 March, the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 had


several surprises. Gaggan in Bangkok claimed the No 1 spot, moving up two places from last year. As well as being voted the San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Asia, Gaggan also claimed the Best in Thailand title. Both titles were held last year by Nahm, which dropped to number seven. The crowd waited in anticipation for the second and first places to be announced, wondering if Tokyo’s Narisawa would claim back the No 1 title it won in 2013. Ultimately though, the famed restaurant remained at No 2 but retained the San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Japan title. Other surprises of the evening were the eight


new entries, including first time entries from the Philippines (Antonio’s, No 48), and Cambodia (Cuisine Wat Damnak, No 50). Visibly emotional on learning his restaurant had taken the top spot, Gaggan Anand, the 37-year-old Kolkata-born chef of the progressive Indian restaurant said: “I don’t know if I could put together the words to express how I feel. It’s overwhelming.”


Anand could barely believe he was standing alongside his culinary idols: “It’s the proudest moment in my life, where I stand before Tetsuya,


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who has been a chef for 28 years. I was reading his cookbooks when I was 18 years old. I’ve travelled and thankfully I have eaten at most of the restaurants on the list. “There is also Narisawa, whom I saw in Madrid Fusion in 2010. Then, I was thinking, ‘Wow, look at this chef.’ Then there’s David Thompson, who’s my local guide on how to behave as a mature chef.” After the announcement, Anand immediately called his mother in India to share the good news. Not forgetting his roots, Anand said to the press: “I think I should buy my mum a house. My mum is very humble. I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in a one-room apartment. That’s where I’m from and that’s my food. That’s what Asia is all about.”


While many wonder if the restaurant’s win is


a victory for Thailand or India, Gaggan explained his views. “I can’t say I represent India or Thailand. What I do represent is a chef that wants to cook his own way.” He admitted that what he has done has been risky. “Indian food has never been changed before this.” William Drew, group editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, added: “From the Asia’s 50 Best point of view, we are extremely proud to


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