Profiling Garima Arora

By Foodism Team

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Whats’s all this noise about Garima Arora? Well, she is only the first Indian woman chef to win a Michelin star! 

Garima Arora of Gaa in Bangkok has been voted the elit™ Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2019. In the latest edition of the Igniting Passion series, presented by elit™ Vodka, the Mumbai-born cook focuses on how to change the narrative around Indian cuisine. 

The restaurant Gaa has a unique menu with unripe jackfruit, liquid banana bread and duck doughnut. The cuisine can not be recognized instantly and Chef Garima likes it that way! Arora defines her debut solo restaurant as neither Thai nor Indian. Nevertheless, behind every dish there are cooking techniques based on centuries of Indian history; techniques that have crossed into Thailand and, over time, influenced much of Asia. This is what inspires her to advocate and spread awareness about these cooking methods and practices. 

She believes - “Chefs in the West have always looked at French techniques to make something modern. Indian techniques have the same tools or can provide you with the techniques to do the same. I try to borrow from these tools or use these resources to make up something that is completely new and different. So what French cuisine does for chefs in the West, Indian cuisine can do for chefs in this part of the world also.”

Arora has a diverse background and a very familiar introduction to food. Like many, her introduction to food love started with typical Punjabi cuisine. She was a journalist by profession and could not have imagined a career in culinary arts. Nonetheless, life took Garima for a ride that she has been enjoying ever since!

She says“I worked as a journalist before deciding to pack my bag and move to Paris. It's just that I always wanted a culinary career, and I realised after some research that it's better if I start young than (when I'm) older,” says Arora. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2010. In 2013, Arora applied for an internship at the one and only- Noma in Copenhagen where she worked with the legendary René Redzepi for three months.

She then returned to the homeland for a few years before extending her adventure to Bangkok in 2016 under the famous Gaggan Anand. This is where the legendary Gaa was born!

GAA offers a choice of a 10- or 14-course tasting menu with wine or juice pairings. The menu uses local produce sourced from in and around Bangkok and Thailand. She explains- “We work with a lot of small farmers and foraging tribes. The idea is to give our diners something that is completely different, something that they have never tasted or experienced before,” 

What’s next for this raging chef? 

“We continue to do what we do, just more focussed, I guess. There will be new dishes on the menu, since our goal is to give our diners something new, so we keep working on that,” says Arora as she signs off.