Stop press. Our very own Indian Gaggan Anand is blazing global headlines. His Bangkok based restaurant is crowned “Asia’s best” and seventh best in the world. I write from the high-octane excitement of the high-ceilinged historic Royal Exhibition hall, Melbourne. Here the worlds most prestigious, glittering Oscars of gastronomy The worlds 50 best are in progress. The air is crackling with excitement and every square inch is bristling with culinary star power. The hon’ble minister of Tourism Steven Ciobo, several other dignitaries and the worlds most celebrated chefs have flown in. For the past fifteen years, The Worlds 50 best been a mega force and credible guide to global gastronomy and to gastro-tourism. It is helmed by the dynamic Charles Reed and powered by the dream team of Tim Brooke Webb, Helene Pietrini and William Drew. They’ve held the awards in Melbourne for the first time and Australia is playing magnificent host, with it’s fabulous food and wine. I am getting high not just on Australia’s spectacular produce and restaurants but also on Gaggan being crowned the seventh best in the world. Jai Ho!
I admit. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I have sweet teeth. And I travel the world looking for the best of the best. For me, desserts represent divinity and patisseurs are my passion. Here, in the land of eternal summer, in Hollywood I taste sweet magic. For many fabulous reasons. First of all, the most creative of desserts are being conjured and served up here in this iconic “Pretty woman” hotel which has distilled decades of Hollywood glamour! Beverly Wilshire is not only a legendary landmark but also officially on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States. Superstars such as Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen have all lived in this luxurious landmark.. And then of course the Hotel shot into global fame when 25 years ago it was the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was shot here. And located on the glamour and fashion drenched Rodeo drive this Pretty woman continues to charm.
And it is here overlooking the Rodeo drive in it’s award winning The BLVD that their patisseur Chris Ford’s creations dazzle and delight. Over decades the Beverly Wilshire’s iconic restaurant The BLVD has been the hot spot for the crème de la crème of Los Angeles. And has recently reopened with a brand new Art Deco makeover, dramatic lighting, bold blacks and whites and contemporary gloss.
Chef Chris Ford continues to reinvent himself and each of his magical creations seduce with their beauty, taste and textures. The charming and dynamic Ben Trodd, has led many a hotel to win awards. He helms nine luxury hotels, spearheads this Hollywood landmark and is has transformed it into it’s cutting edge modern avatar, while still retaining it’s historic splendour. The highly efficient and forever helpful “pretty woman” Lauren Dutton-Breen, just moved in from NYC is already making waves in LA. And over high tea we taste Chef Ford’s sweet magic.
Looking every bit like a glamorous chef in Hollywood shoutd, Chef Ford is a powerhouse of talent and hardwork. You can watch him demonstrating his recipes (including this one) on butterloveandhardwork.com under vimeo. He shares his Peanut butter mousse recipe with us.
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE
|Ingredients: 200 gms milk/200gms cream/ 120 gms egg yolks/ 80 gms sugar/ 200 gms peanut butter. 5 gelatin sheets/ 300 gms cream|
|Prepare gelatin (as directed on the pack) Whip 2nd amount of cream to medium peaks Make anglaise Whisk in peanut butter. Whisk in gelatin . Cool over ice bath to body temp Incorporate whipped cream Pipe into medium sized dome molds Enjoy|
BOLLYWOOD TO HOLLYWOOD HIGH TEA
It is serendipity at work. We are luxuriating over high-tea and patisserie in this iconic Hollywood landmark. Not only is over eight decades of Hollywood history distilling itself in this “Prettywoman” hotel but each one of my companions are interlinked to it. This is the very first hotel that Our very own Bollywood and Hollywood star Kabir Bedi made Beverly Wilshire his “Home away from home”. He stayed here when he moved to Hollywood in 1977. He not only won over audiences as Sandokan in his Italian TV series but also wowed Hollywood by his roles in James Bond’s Octopussy, The Bold and the Beautiful and shot many more films in Hollywood. He is In LA as part of his whirlwind nine city concert tour (he plays sutradhar). Along with him is his talented son Adam Bedi who is an expert on special effects for Hollywood films and his lovely wife Melissa, an expert on makeup for Hollywood. As though all these Hollywood connections are not enough, Kabir is also the very first Indian on the Oscar Academy jury and he applies his discerning taste this evening too. Like me he has many a sweet teeth. But what about calories? I ask him. “Oh! Calories must be worth having and Chef Ford’s are more than worth having. They are Oscar worthy” he concludes. I couldn’t agree with him more.
It’s the most delicious hat trick ever! One that received a standing ovation at Asia’s most prestigious and coveted Oscars of food in Bangkok held a few days ago. For the third time in a row, putting Indian food on top of Asia’s 50 best was our very own Kolkatta born, innovative, exuberant and affectionate Gaggan Anand. At a glittering ceremony of Asia’s 50 best restaurant awards (now in its fifth edition,) Gaggan along with his partner Rajesh Kewalramani received the award. This is the most awaited awards night by the Foodie fraternity, not only do the who’s who and the crème de la crème jet down but thousands more watch live streams from around the world.
“I’m humbled. This is for my country where I came from, India. For Tara my daughter and my family” said a visibly emotional Gaggan “The 67 people in my restaurant are the best team I’ve ever worked with.” And after the awards “The unofficial after party that followed in Gaggan’s restaurant not only served up Bangkok’s best street food, tattoo, henna, DJ music, Polaroid photo stations et al. It was also Gaggan’s birthday and as a special surprise, his wife Pui brought along Tara, their daughter in a chefs uniform completing the celebration.
INDIA’S BEST RESTAURANT
New Delhi s “Indian Accent” s very creative,talented and soft-spoken Chef Manish Mehrotra not only walked away with the award for India’s best restaurant but also conducted a cooking masterclass and gave a talk on “spices” to packed houses. Their progressive Indian Accent has also opened in New York to rave reviews. From Mumbai the gifted Chef Sachin Poojary received the award for the exquisite Japanese Wasabi by Morimoto.
SRILANKA’S BEST RESTAURANT
Srilanka’s best restaurant “Ministry of Crab’s” multi-talented Dharshan Munidasa also received an award for his superlative Japanese Nihon Bashi. He has single-handedly put Srilanka on the world gourmet map.
THE TOP TEN
- Gaggan, Thailand • Restaurant Andre, Singapore• Amber, Hong Kong• 8-1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong • Nahm, Thailand• Narisawa, Japan • Nihonryori Ryugin, Japan• Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, China • Odette, Singapore• Burnt Ends, Singapore
P.S Asia’s 50 best winners followed voting by 318 independent experts led by six academy chairs across the region.As chairperson of the Indian subcontinent I’ve had the good fortune to attend these amazing awards. Having tracked global gastronomy for three decades, I can only say that these are not just prestigious lists of award-winning restaurants which the foodies of the world follow but they have also changed the course of tourism Made restaurants into landmarks to visit and made their countries proud and created “Gourmet tourism” .
A meal at Gaggan is truly is THE Gaggan experience. Gaggan ensures that Imagination and science, creativity and art copulate to produce masterpieces of flavour and texture and yet retain their authentic Indian flavors. Therein lies the Gaggan magic. Be it the Bombay Bhel, idli sambhar, smoked eggplant cookies and more. Gaggan’s multi-national young dedicated brilliant team of 67 delivers a mind-blowing experience in the two leveled bungalow (we dined in the new “den” which has recently been added on). It was a delight to meet the brilliant Chef Garima Arora and the team. Also the French trained patisseur Solanki Roy from Kolkatta whose desserts are memorable. I can still savor the flavour of the Indian ghewar and Japanese strawberry…a lyrical jugalbandi!
THE DREAM TEAM
Asia’s 50 best, The worlds 50 best, Latin America’s 50 best restaurant awards have changed the course of global gastronomy. Driving these awards and making them into high-octane international influential forces ( in gastronomy And tourism) is the London-based dynamic dream team. Helming and driving the awards Charles Reed, Helene Pietrini, Tim Brooke Webb, William Drew work the memorable magic. As do Tiago Restani, Francesco, Laura Price, Rikki Muddie and Emer Schlosser and together they ensure clockwork precision. Worlds 50 best, Latin Americas 50 best and Asia’s 50 best are not just influential list-makers but also taste makers. Riveting talks and cooking sessions are also held around each award ceremony. And through the year foodies around the world follow each and every deliciously informative step the Academy takes.
You’ll agree with me that taste in food is very subjective. What is my nectar maybe yucky to you. And yet as restaurant critics we strive to give objective and accurate critiques with relevant guidelines for the majority of readers. So, what do I do when an all-vegetarian salad restaurant opens in swish SOBO Breach candy? Land up unannounced for two meals.
Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/ministry-of-salads-r-9545
The Modern Asian “Dashanzi” replaced the Spanish “Arola” at the JW Marriott in Juhu. I ate at Dashanzi twice and Yes! Dashanzi met with our approval.
Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/arola-restaurant-and-bar-r-6617
Past forty days, I’ve been on a foodie pilgrimage: Lima to Mexico city for Latin America’s 50 best restaurant awards (as regional jury chairperson) to Los Angeles and now am concluding it (fittingly enough) in Paris. Here too, I’m dazzled by many a brand new arrival, like Alain Ducasse’s Ore in Palace Versailles, Yannick Alleno’s “extraction” technique. However, my homage to Michelin starred Eric Frechon continues unchanged. I’ve yet to eat food as impressive in its precision — and as gloriously wanton in its luxuriousness. I am an admirer of the intriguing ingredients Eric Frechon packs into one composition and coaxes into harmony, be it in his recently awarded starred Langham in London, 114 Faurbourg and three starred Epicure in Paris. It is here in this exquisite Parisian palace le Bristol that I’ve seen President Sarkozy dine (in fact he still comes here regularly for macaroni, artichoke, foie gras) Chef Eric Frechon has heads of state, royalty and glamour squad eating out of his hands and all of Paris is abuzz with his new book, the last word on French gastronomy.
Mumbai’s brand new “Boston Butt”. serves up Southern American fare and drinks inspired by the Pre-Prohibition era. It also aims to revolutionize the smokery and charcuterie.
Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/boston-butt-r-9468