Gaggan Anand: I'll keep my award-winning Indian restaurant affordable

Jenni Marsh, CNNUpdated 6th June 2016
(CNN) — It sounds too good to be true.
A celebrated chef, whose progressive Indian restaurant has been named Asia's best two years running, denounces fine dining and pledges to keep his food affordable.
But that's exactly what Gaggan Anand, of Bangkok-based Gaggan, winner of the San Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurant Awards in 2016 and 2015, has done.
"With my rankings, awards and the fame ... I could raise the prices to double and still I would be sold out every night with the same food. Exactly the same food," he tells Talk Asia.
"But we won't do that because we want everyone to come here -- not just a certain class [of person]."

Humble pie

Gaggan opened his eponymous restaurant in the Thai capital in 2010, with a mission and vision to "reinvigorate" Indian cuisine by exploiting contemporary techniques and adding molecular twists to traditional Indian dishes.
Although molecular gastronomy and fine dining usually go hand in hand, chef Gaggan, 35, wants to move away from the elite image associated with both genres.
Asia's 50 best restaurants have been revealed in a prize ceremony in Bangkok. Rounding out the top 10 is Hong Kong's most revered Cantonese restaurant. Lung King Heen is helmed by Chan Yan Tak, the first Chinese chef to earn three Michelin stars, and it's celebrated for valuing texture as much as flavor.
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"My restaurant is open 365 days a year and we are at a very easily accessible price point. For 'fine dining', I think we are one of the cheapest in the world," says the Kolkata-born chef, who studied at elBulli, in Spain, before opening his own restaurant.
The unpretentious restaurateur says that Gaggan doesn't have a PR department, because he doesn't believe in it.
"The best public relations are your food."

The end of an era?

For Gaggan, all good things have to end -- even his restaurant.
"Nothing goes on more than 10 years," he says. "I don't think I'll be able to cook this for 20 years. That's what I learned from elBulli -- they closed at their peak.
"We've done five years ... I will run the horse for 10 years, then I will stop."
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