DUBAI 2 January 2019: Chef Garima Arora has just became the first Indian woman to win a Michelin star.
Her Bangkok restaurant Gaa, which opened in April 2017, quickly earned praise for Arora’s delicious and creative mix of Indian and Thai cuisine which has now earned her one coveted Michelin star in the Michelin Guide Bangkok, Phuket and Phang-Nga 2019.
One of the most popular dish on her tasting menu brings together grilled unripe jackfruit, roti and homemade pickles. Unripe jackfruit is popular in India, but the roti is made with the ripe version of the fruit, more popular in Thailand.
“We are a population of one billion with food culture that is centuries old,” said Arora. “In my opinion, we should be making food trends, not following them. The best chefs and restaurants of the world should be from India.”
“We are fully booked for the next four months,”she added.
This is also the first time that an Indian woman chef has netted a Michelin rating. Celebrity chef Gaggan Anand, who is also from India and runs restaurants in Bangkok, owns a 20% stake in Gaa along with three other investors. Arora’s prior experience includes a stint serving as a sous-chef for Gaggan’s eponymous restaurant in the Thai capital before striking out on her own in April last year, although she has stuck to the same neighborhood.
Gaa is located just down the road from her former employer, but she maintains that the two restaurants are not in competition with one another. Incidentally, Gaggan has been ranked the number one on Asia’s 50 best restaurants list for three years in a row.
A one-star rating in the iconic Michelin guide denotes “high quality cooking worth a stop.” The food guide has been produced by the tire company Michelin since 1889. It was first published in France as a handy guide to encourage people to take the road and thereby use more tires.
Michelin inspectors pay for their own meals and provide anonymous reviews on a set of five parameters: quality of food, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, consistency, value for money, and the personality of the chef.
Gaa – based on the founder’s name – is in a yellow converted shop-house which seats 40 people at any given time. It serves what Arora describes as “modern eclectic cuisine.” It offers two types of meals: a 10-course option at $73, and a 14-course option at $85. Wine and juice pairings come with an additional charge.