Gaggan Cooks in the Philippines for the Last Effin' Time
“Fuck this…fuck that.”
Gaggan Anand, in the country to collaborate with Philippines’ best, Chele Gonzalez of Gallery by Chele, says “fuck” so much that by the third course, the word has practically lost its meaning. Or maybe gained more. A dinner by him makes you realize that his F-bombs are so loaded that they're more than angry interjections. The rockstar chef of Asia’s best restaurant (the seventh in the world), an eponymous world renowned eatery in Bangkok, is tired. He’s tired of all the bullshit. He’s tired of what the industry’s become. “Fuck it” has become the shorthand for his culinary philosophy.
He yells over the '80s rock blaring through the speakers of Stvdio Lab: “It’s all pretention. Food should be fun. People made it complicated."
Yes, Gaggan is fucking it: fuck the rules, fuck the trends. It’s impiety that only a chef of his stature could get away with and he’s knows it. But he also understands that power he has to turn food back around. As irreverent as he is idealist, the award-winning chef dreams of having a place where camera phones are verboten, the setting is relaxed, emotions. In fact, his world-renowned restaurant is already headed towards this direction—infamous for its Emoji degustation menu, where Gaggan lets customers write down their own menu based on what each dish made them feel.
“What is luxury?” he asks us. “Fine dining, for example, has become destroyed. Truffle? Foie gras? Everyone uses those ingredients. It’s not fine dining anymore,” he continues. Gaggan has become a victim of the very industry that he helped push, he seems to think. He points at someone at the table who was busy with a mobile device. “See? She’s looking at her phone while I’m here talking.”
Luxury, for him, is reveling in the moment. “What is luxury? Service is a luxury,” he finally answers. Just as he redefined Indian cuisine back in 2010, he’s back to creating his own rules. Gaggan’s next restaurant will be in Fukuoka in 2021 with Chef Takeshi Fukuyama, which will be open only six months a year with a mere 10 seats available every night.
But until then, there is still Gaggan and his infamous multi-course Emoji menu is his “g-string” to seduce you to his restaurants.
For his special and very exclusive visit, Gaggan and Gonzalez have paired together to come up with a menu that triggers all kinds of emotions: