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The Michelin Masterchef: Chef Garima Arora It was in 2018 that Chef Garima Arora came into the limelight as the first female Indian chef to win a Michelin Star

By Paromita Gupta

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Chef Garima Arora, Owner, Restaurant Gaa and Here

The year 2023 is ending on a rather happy and successful note for Chef Garima Arora. The Michelin Guide Thailand Star Revelation 2024 awarded two restaurants with a second Michelin star. One of them was Arora's Bangkok-based Gaa.

Before Garima Arora became a household name while co-judging the MasterChef India season 7, she made the one common decision majority of us make at a young age- contemplate the career field she had chosen. Having done her bachelor's in mass media in journalism from the University of Mumbai, Arora had a small stint as a journalist before she made the heartfelt decision to pursue her one true love: cooking. "I believe that cooking is a young person's game, meaning it's better to start young since it is a physically demanding job," she shared.

I learned that it's two different things, being a chef and a businesswoman. No one can teach you that in culinary school.

With support from her family, she made the calculated decision to learn the art from the best and flew to study cuisine and patisserie at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2010. Post her education, she gained experience at Verre By Gordon Ramsay in Dubai and René Redzepi at his three-Michelin star outing Noma, Denmark. In 2017, Arora went on to open Restaurant Gaa in Bangkok. "Every bite will take our guests through a journey into the heart of India in a fun and unexpected way," she adds.

However, it was in 2018 that she came into the limelight as the first female Indian chef to win a Michelin Star. For the uninitiated, the Michelin Star is a rating system which determines the caliber of the food served by an eatery establishment. In the coming year, Arora was awarded the title of Asia's Best Female Chef of 2019 by World's 50 Best Restaurants and had Restaurant Gaa debut on the World's 50 Best Restaurants at No.16. The Bangkok outlet climbed a spot in 2020. Basking in titles and appreciation, she opened HERE, a casual Indian eatery and wine bar, in Bangkok in 2020. Arora truly holds food as an element close to her heart and certainly wants to broaden the World's imperial opinion on Indian food. And that's how Food Forward India, a non-profit initiative, was born. "The aim is to rediscover and reform the narrative on Indian food. It is the place where people can explore, discover and catalogue the diversity and complexity of Indian food and the culture surrounding it," the Gaa owner notes.

So, how does she manage to be a world-renowned chef and run her business too? "I learned that it's two different things, being a chef and a businesswoman. No one can teach you that in culinary school. It can be overwhelming learning these things as they happen, but I take them in my stride," says Arora.

Her mantra in life is simple- keep going at it, no success comes overnight. So, be consistent and surround yourself with people who share and believe in your vision.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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