Legendary chef behind Bangkok’s progressive Indian institution Gaggan
I don’t party in Thailand anymore. Vladimir [Kojic], our head sommelier, banned me from going out in Thailand. Every time, some chef will come up and give me shit. It’s the cost of fame. What do I do?
In Bangkok, I get my after-hours food fix on the street. In Silom there’s a noodle joint right behind the Dusit hotel, turn left. There’s Hainanese chicken rice, fried chicken and grilled shrimp in Pratunam.
I like Japan; nothing beats that. Japan is every month for me. It’s foodie perfection, from 7-Eleven to the best meal. Fucking good.
I love staying in ryokans and homestays in Japan. I love B&BS in Europe, and Airbnb, especially in Scandinavia. The water is good, the markets are good, and the food is not interesting enough to eat, so you can bring things and cook at home. The ingredients there are amazing.
Argentina is an incredible place; I love Buenos Aires. You see hippies, young people drinking wine until 7am, amazing people, very relaxed, very chilled. And there are great bars and great food. I like going to London as a big city. I like Barcelona also a lot. I don’t like Paris. I hate Rome. Rome is the worst city in the world. Milano is shit.
My favourite ingredient has to be fruit. I love fruit, especially Japanese fruits. Momo [peaches]. Stone fruits, apricots, nectarines. And I love eating them raw. Fruits should be eaten raw, I hate fruits being cooked. Because fruits are supposed to be eaten raw, why do we have to cook them? I hate when you go to a buffet and you get fruits in a sugar syrup. This happened in Milan. And then they gave me a banana and a kiwi, fucking hell. One comes from Africa and one comes from New Zealand.
I’m obsessed with knives, especially these mirror knives that I buy from Japan. They’re very thin; all the
Japanese chefs know it’s the sharpest knife ever. Very expensive, US$2,500 each. I don’t bring them [to the restaurant] – I’m not an idiot – but I have six of them at home. I’ve not opened them yet; I’m making a new home with 125 square metres of kitchen. It’s called a mid-life crisis.
Massimo Bottura’s new menu [at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy] is the last meal that blew my mind. I’ve eaten at Massimo’s two times already, so this was the third. The first two times I had a repeat of dishes, and this time was completely new Massimo, new style, and the dishes were cooked. Finally, there is a chef who is cooking things! We go to chefs to get cooked food unless we’re eating sushi, but the problem in the world is that everyone is doing everything else but cooking. You go to a kitchen, and there are 20 guys [putting things on the plate]. Give me a pan and fire.
Pretension is my pet peeve. The moment they judge you [in restaurants] – the eyeballs that go to your shoe, then the eyeballs go to your watch, then who you are, then what you are wearing. Now I’m famous they judge me more. I wear slippers. Last year in a restaurant I had to wear a jacket.
I’m a shoe whore. Onitsuka Tigers only. I just got two more; I got a Mickey & Minnie Mouse collection pair yesterday, it’s super rare, and limited. I have like 97 pairs. My wife and I both love shopping, so it’s just crazy.
“I’m making a new home with 125 square metres of kitchen. It’s called a mid-life crisis ”