• AMPlus Issue7

First Indian Woman to win the coveted Michelin star

Niharika V Murthy

19th October 2020

Indian cuisines are widely known for their vivid flavours and vibrant colors. The liberalization of Indian food culture began around 1991 and has evolved significantly in the yesteryears, marking the chefs' significance who have contributed to this immense evolution. Garima Arora became the first Indian woman to win the coveted Michelin star in November 2018 for her Bangkok-based restaurant named ‘Gaa’. The restaurant’s name carries the combination of her initials. Her restaurant ‘Gaa’ also made its way to the World’s 50 best Restaurants in 2019.

Garima Arora (Source: Vogue)

“Gaa is a reflection of who I currently am. It is a journey in self-discovery, which means it is ever-evolving”, said Garima, as reported by Femina. After a series of men's succession in the Indian food industry, Garima showcased that women are capable of much more than just preparing dishes in their ‘home’ kitchen. She became a role model for many culinary aspirants in India. “ I was in my 12th preparing for my entrances when I read her story and watched an interview where she shared her journey. I realised that it was all about standing by what you feel is right and never giving in, she’s been a huge inspiration for me,” said Mansi Agate, a second-year Bachelor’s student from WGSHA (Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration).

Arora opened her restaurant ‘Gaa’, a three-story restaurant that serves an authentic menu with the twist of Indian techniques, in April 2017. “While the chief is from Mumbai, the location is in Bangkok and the ingredients are local – yet Arora defines her debut solo restaurant as neither Thai nor Indian” said Laura Price, World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ deputy, according to Forbes.

Garima Arora was also awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2019. Before indulging herself in the wondrous world of cooking, she worked as a journalist for a short period. After perceiving her graduation from ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ Paris in 2010, she worked at ‘Noma’ in Copenhagen, learning much from René Redzepi, as mentioned by Forbes.

She has also worked along with Gordon Ramsay, a famous British chef who has been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total. “My experience with Gordon Ramsay is what I’d describe as the best first job I could have asked for. I learnt to let go of my ego and become a team player,” said Arora, reported by Femina.

In October 2019, Arora launched ‘Food Forward India’ (FFI), a culinary dynamism, with the primary objective of bringing people together at the Indian Food industry's cutting-edge, according to Vogue. To encourage the young women aspirants to explore the culinary industry, Arora said, “The best way to look at it, I believe, is to stop apologizing for our choices. Let’s start here,” reported Femina.

(Sources: Femina, Economic Times, Vogue, Forbes)

Edited by: Keyuri

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