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Garima Arora, the first Indian woman to get a Michelin Star has now won Asia’s Best Female Chef award



Garima Arora, who made headlines last year, when she became the first Indian woman ever to have won a Michelin star, is back at it again. This time around, the culinary ace has added another feather to her hat by becoming the first Indian to be named elitTM Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2019. At the age of 32, Garima runs the Michelin-star restaurant, GAA, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Garima studied at the Jai Hind College, Mumbai and worked as a pharma journalist before entering the culinary world and going to Le Cordon Bleu for further studies. Garima Arora’s interest in combing flavours was piqued as she observed her parents learn new recipes from several business trips abroad; as for the traditional methods of cooking, she learnt it from her grandparents.

She then went on to work with some of the most well-known restaurants in the world, from Dubai to Copenhagen, alongside various celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Rene Redzepi, before finally working as a sous chef for Gaggan Anand’s namesake restaurant in Bangkok. Gaggan has consecutively held the first place on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the last four years, including 2019, and has two Michelin stars to his name.

In 2016, Anand handpicked Garima to go to India and open up a restaurant, but that deal fell through. However, the same investors offered Garima Arora another deal, by opening up GAA right opposite Gaggan in the heart of Bangkok.

Since then, Garima has only flown high. GAA doesn’t just serve traditional Indian food. The restaurant’s kitchen team comprises 12 people from seven nationalities, and the restaurant offers a menu which is just as diverse. However, the cooking techniques used are the ones that have been developed in India and other parts of Asia over centuries. The food offered at GAA can be dubbed as the perfect balance of Thai and Indian food coming together.

Patrons can pick between a 10-14 course tasting menu, which changes according to the flavours of the season. Some of the most incredible dishes from Chef Arora’s kitchen are the duck doughnut, strawberry, caviar and hor, and the signature unripe jackfruit paired with roti and pickles.

We got in touch with Garima at this joyous moment, and here’s what she had to say. “It’s an honour to be recognised as the best female chef in Asia by my colleagues. I’m really happy that traditional Indian cooking techniques are being appreciated and it’s up to us Indian chefs who have the onus of taking it on the next level.”

Garima will be presented the award for being elitTM Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef of the year on March 26, 2019, at the ceremony for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna in Macao.

Before Garima, this prestigious title was held by Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun from Thailand in 2018 and May Chow from Hong Kong in 2017.

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