Garima Arora, First Indian woman to receive a Michelin star

Garima arora
Image source - BBC

Garima Arora of Gaa restaurant in Bangkok is not only the first Indian woman to receive a Michelin star, but also Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2019, according to world’s best 50 restaurants.

She started her Mumbai-based chef three-storey restaurant, Gaa, in Bangkok. This place is not recognized for one particular dish but for almost everything it serves with its desi style in a foreign location.

Gaa was given an award at 2019 Michelin guide for Thailand in November, last year.

As on February 28, World’s 50 best restaurants has just named 32-year old Garima Asia’s best female chef for 2019. She inspires the next generation of cooks with her passion and innovative skills.

The award ceremony will take place in Macau on March 26.

Until now, all the Indian chef whose restaurants have received a Michelin star have been men—Vineet Bhatia, Vikas Khanna, Atul Kochhar, etc.

She draws her inspiration from Indian roots but her cuisine is completely new and different.

Her love for food started when she was quite young, a by-product of growing up in a typical Punjabi food-loving household. But a career in the kitchen wasn’t her first choice.

Arora worked briefly as a journalist before pursuing her interest in the culinary arts.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2010, she worked at Noma in Copenhagen, learning alongside René Redzepi.

She moved to Bangkok in 2016 where her life took another huge turn. She worked alongside yet another culinary legend, Gaggan Anand at his restaurant. She spent a very short period of time working with him.

Meanwhile, Gaggan and the other investors decided to open another restaurant in Bangkok. They asked Arora if she would want to do something there and she was more than happy to make her dream come true.

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Her small team comprises of seven different nationalities and is split evenly between the sexes.  She says, “We are all away from home, so we have kind of become family for each other.

The menu in her restaurant offer a choice of a 10- or 14-course tasting menu with wine or juice pairings. They have made sure to use all local produce sourced from in and around Bangkok and Thailand, working with a lot of small farmers and foraging tribes. Arora focuses on presenting people with something that they have never tasted before.

She says,

“Indian food could be the future of modern cuisine. But then again it’s up to us Indian cooks to do justice to that.”

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