First, she became the first Indian woman to receive a Michelin star, and now she’s been awarded elit™ Vodka’s Asia’s Best Female Chef 2019. Garima Arora has taken the gastronomical world by storm—and she’s only getting started. 

Who is Garima Arora?

Raised in Mumbai, India, Arora started out as a journalist before making a career change in 2008, leaving behind the comforts of her hometown for the culinary world of France. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2010, Arora worked at Noma in Copenhagen, cooking alongside René Redzepi. In 2016, Arora returned to Asia, this time as sous chef at Gaggan, the renowned Bangkok-based restaurant that was ranked number one for four consecutive years on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. 

In 2018, Arora became the first Indian woman to receive a Michelin star after her restaurant Gaa was celebrated for its modern take on traditional Indian cooking.

What is Gaa?

Opened in April 2017 with Arora as both executive chef and founder, Gaa immediately garnered worldwide recognition for its culinary creations. The three-story restaurant boasts an innovative blend of contemporary and classic Indian cuisine.

World’s 50 Best Restaurants deputy editor Laura Price described the establishment as havingcooking techniques based on centuries of Indian history; techniques that have crossed into Thailand and, over time, influenced much of Asia. It is these Indian techniques that are very much at the heart of Gaa and its success, and which Arora wants to show to the world.”

How big is this award?

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants group editor William Drew explains that this award “recognizes female chefs whose passion, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit serve to inspire the next generation of cooks.”

This year, it’s Arora who’s being celebrated for her “huge impact on the dining scene in Asia in a short period with her brilliant blend of Indian traditions and Thai ingredients.”

Arora joins a long line of talented women who have carved their place in the industry, and her win marks a milestone for India as this is the first time one of their own won such an exalted award. 

“This award is a validation of our team’s hard work and commitment to excellence,” said the new Best Female Chef title-holder. “I am honored that chefs and respected industry peers voting on this award recognize and appreciate our efforts.”

Arora will officially receive her recognition on Mar. 26 during the awarding ceremony of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.