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Garima Arora: A collection of awards for India's first female chef with 2 Michelin stars

Garima Arora is the India’s first female chef to win the highly coveted Michelin Star in 2018 and Asia’s best female Chef of 2019. She has added another accolade to her hat: the 2022 MICHELIN Guide Young Chef Award! Her accolades don't stop there. In December 2023, her restaurant Gaa was awarded a second Michelin star. She is the first Indian woman to hold this title.

Garima Arora graduated with the Grand Diplôme® from Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute in 2010. She then went to Copenhagen to work at Noma restaurant, before being named sous-chef at Goggan restaurant in Bangkok. Chef Arora opened Gaa, her own restaurant, in 2017 in Bangkok. Originally from Mumbai, India, the chef offers modern cuisine inspired from traditional Indian techniques.

Only a year after opening her restaurant, chef Arora’s work was rewarded with her first Michelin star. In November 2018, Garima Arora became the first Indian female chef to be awarded a Michelin star. She will receive a second one in December 2023.

Le Cordon Bleu Alumna Garima Arora received the Young Chef Award by the 2022 MICHELIN Guide Thailand and is a judge on MasterChef India. We recently caught up with Garima to ask her a few of our burning questions.

What kind of MasterChef judge are you?

"I believe it is important to be fair but at the same time, you must understand that the contestants are home cooks, not professional chefs. The most important thing is not to push them too hard and judge fairly with positive and constructive feedback to help guide them."

Last February, you became the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star for your restaurant in Bangkok. What does that mean to you?

"It is nice to be recognized. More than anything, it is a good validation for the team for their hard work."

How would you describe your experience at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?

"It was a great exposure to French cuisine and techniques. We would spend our day learning and practicing the fundamentals of French cooking and cuisine and in the evenings have the opportunity to see Parisian chefs take what we study to a whole new level in some of the best brasseries and restaurants in the city. Paris makes for a great backdrop to practically assimilate what we study in the classroom."

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the restaurant industry?

"There is no shortcut to success, keep your head down and work hard. The hours are long and gruesome. Be prepared to give up holidays and special occasions. But if you are truly disciplined about cooking and cuisine and passionate about creating a unique experience for your guests, it is a very satisfying profession to take up."