Uniquely talented Chef Garima Arora created a bit of history recently as she became the first Indian woman to win a Michelin star for her restaurant ‘Gaa’ in Bangkok, Thailand. On November 14 of last year, it became the first restaurant helmed by an Indian woman chef to be awarded the prestigious Michelin star.
The restaurant’s maiden star helps it earn a proud place in The Michelin Guide Thailand 2019. For folks who have no knowledge about Michelin star, it’s a big deal. The prestigious stars, are bestowed on restaurants to signify their excellence and are probably the best-known awards in the industry. Receiving a star isn’t only an accolade – it can also be a real boost to the business.
32-years-old Arora grew up in Mumbai and is of Punjabi heritage. She initially pursued a career in journalism. But soon she realized it wasn’t her calling. So she pursued her real passion and became a chef.
In 2008, she left for France. She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and also with Gordon Ramsay and René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen before opening her own restaurant named ‘Gaa’ in Bangkok in April 2017.
After running successfully for around 1.5 years, ‘Gaa’ restaurant, headed by Chef Garima Arora, bagged its first Michelin star.
The acclaimed restaurant is located in Bangkok, Thailand and it serves dishes including banana bread and pork rib. Also, the restaurant offers a multitude of dishes inspired by her “Indian upbringing and international perspective”.
Gaa offers different course meals for its guests using ingredients like unripe jackfruits, pumpkins, crayfish and guavas. In the restaurant, the kitchen boasts a team of 12 people from seven nationalities and the food is just as wide-ranging.
Arora’s restaurant is the only one that is helmed by an Indian woman in Bangkok. It was recognized in the second edition of the Michelin Guide Bangkok, Phuket and Phang-Nga 2019 selection. Gaa restaurant’s name was among 27 dining establishments which have been recognized.
Chef Arora has worked with numerous celebrated names such as René Redzepi, Gordon Ramsay and Gaggan Anand. A year at Gaggan Anand’s restaurant in Bangkok called ‘Gaggan’ that has held the number one spot among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the last seven years running led her to build her own venture. Since then, Gaggan the chef and Garima have partnered in the restaurant Gaa in the heart of Bangkok.
She acknowledged them all in her Instagram message on November 14 following the big recognition:
“A shout out to the 30 most amazing people I have met over the past year and a half. Each one of them persevered, believed and always showed up. To each member of team Gaa, a big thank you and congratulations now let’s beer pong.”
Speaking about her feelings regarding the good news she said:
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet! The moment we got the call was just perfect. It was me, my sous-chef, our PR manager, our restaurant manager, sommelier, all sitting together for a food and wine pairing. And while we were eating, we were like ‘wow this is so good’, and that exact moment we got the call. It was almost poetic.”
According to Arora, the culinary industry isn’t an easy one to be in.
“You have to be prepared mentally, and I think this is true for men and women both. You’ve really got to love what you do, and you’ve got to put in everything that you have to this job. It is one of those things that need you to be physically present. There is no other way to do it. Once that is clear in your mind that this is what you want to do with your life then you can jump in and obviously everything else follows.”