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Despite the uncertainty over its future leadership (now resolved: Puneet Chhatwal will take over as Chief Executive, perhaps at the start of the new year) the Taj group has been busy planning new gastronomic adventures.
The first of these will be a whirlwind trip by Gaggan Anand who will visit four Taj hotels in four cities to cook one dinner at each property between 8th to 15th September. Anand will be cooking at Mumbai’s Taj Land’s End, Delhi’s Taj Mansingh, Bangalore’s West End and Chennai's Taj Coromandel.
These will be small dinners for about 35 people most of whom will be invitees and culinary influencers. However, at each venue, a few seats will go on sale. But be warned: they will be expensive: in excess of Rs. 20,000 per head in most cities. (But the rate does include taxes and wine).
Gaggan started his career with Taj, trained with the group and cooked at Taj hotels all over India. So the Taj is treating this as his homecoming. Rakhee Lalvani, the Taj Vice President who has masterminded this whirlwind tour says, “The Taj is a family. And we are proud to welcome back one of the most illustrious members of our family.”
Another Gaggan-related (well, sort of) event is also planned for September. The iconic Taj Mumbai is opening up its Tony Chambers dining room to non-members for a pop up of the famous Bangkok restaurant, Suhring.
Thomas and Mathias Suhring are identical twins who run their eponymous restaurant in Bangkok. At present Suhring is number 13 on the list of Asia’s best restaurants despite having been open for less than a year when the list came out.
Gaggan is, of course, number one, a position he seems set to retain. But the Suhrings are widely expected to be in the top ten this year. Their Gaggan connection is that he is their partner in the restaurant.
The Suhring pop-up will last four days (13 to 17 Sept) and the twins are bringing down virtually their whole restaurant to the Taj: manager, sommelier, cooks, truffles, caviar etc.
As Lalvani says: “The Taj has always been the gastronomic leader. And we will always be at the forefront of anything new and exciting.”
Vir Sanghvi is India's best-known food writer and TV host. His book, Rude Food won the Cointreau Award for Best Food Literature book in the world and his food and travel shows on channels such as TLC and NDTV Good Times have won numerous awards and continue to be watched by millions.