A Punjabi boy who dreamt of owning the greatest ‘chole bhature ki dukaan’, now represents the Indian cuisine at the international forefront. Chef Vikas Khanna is truly an inspiration for all. Inspite of being a global food icon, he has not forgotten his Indian roots and humble beginnings and still speaks with an ‘Indian accent.’ But that has not stopped him from achieving the greatest recognition in the world any chef can get. He is well-known amongst the world’s most prominent personalities like Dalai Lama, Narendra Modi, Barack Obama and has earned praise from world-renowned chefs such as Gordon Ramsay. Let us have a look at some of the interesting facts about Vikas Khanna.
MasterChef Vikas Khanna’s Childhood
His life journey started in the heavenly city of Amritsar. Born on 14th November 1971, MasterChef Vikas Khanna was born with misaligned legs and arms. Due to the joints in his legs being misaligned, he couldn’t walk properly in the initial years of his childhood. Chef Vikas Khanna wore special boots from China to cure his misaligned legs. Those shoes were quite uncomfortable and painful to wear.
Chef Vikas Khanna’s Interest In Cooking As A Young Boy
MasterChef Vikas Khanna, to escape from this pain, found solace in the kitchen where his grandmother cooked delicious food. He sat perched upon a stool for hours and watched his grandmother cook, attentively observing the spices she used and the quantity she used them in. Chef Vikas Khanna was curious as a young boy and would often question his grandmother about spices and the combination of spices she used. MasterChef Vikas Khanna’s obsession with food began from his grandmother’s kitchen, where he observed her cook with sheer love and perfection.
MasterChef Vikas Khanna’s First Business Venture
At the age of 17, Chef Vikas Khanna started his first catering business under the name Lawrence Garden Banquets. He pooled all of his savings, which amounted to Rs. 15,000 and bought a tandoor to start his business. At that young age, MasterChef Vikas Khanna dreamt of owning the best ‘chole bhature ki dukaan’ in Amritsar. But he believed in his potential to achieve greater heights and knew he had to learn in order to walk down that path.
Chef Vikas Khanna’s Life As A Student
MasterChef Vikas Khanna enrolled in a culinary school in Manipal. Despite not knowing English to excel in group discussions, he convinced the dean of the school of his love for cooking and food in his Punjabi accented Hindi. Later, he shifted to New York for further studies. Chef Vikas Khanna studied at the Culinary Institute Of America and New York University.
MasterChef Vikas Khanna’s Early Career
Chef Vikas Khanna worked for Taj Hotels, ITC Hotels, Leela Group Of Hotels and The Oberoi Group while in India. Later, by cooking the perfect Dhoklas as a test, he was appointed as an Executive Chef at Salaam Bombay. From there on, there was no looking back.
Chef Vikas Khanna’s Restaurant
Junoon by Vikas Khanna was the first restaurant he opened in partnership with a food services entrepreneur in New York. In its inaugural year, Junoon by Vikas Khanna earned a Michelin star and bagged it for six consecutive years since 2011. He opened another Indian restaurant in Dubai by the name Kinara. In the year 2020, Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna opened a restaurant in Dubai named Ellora. Chef Vikas Khanna is known for his experimentative approach towards Indian cuisine. This is what earned him a lot of recognition and fame in the culinary world.
Chef Vikas Khanna Books
Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna has penned down many cookbooks. To name a few popular Vikas Khanna cookbooks - Indian Harvest: Classic and Contemporary Vegetarian Dishes, Flavors First: An Indian Chef's Culinary Journey, Ayurveda: The Science of Food & Life, Khanna Sutra, Everyone Can Cook, etc. In the year 2015, MasterChef Vikas Khanna launched a 1200-page cookbook, Utsav, that features Indian dishes made during festivals. It took him 12 years to complete the cookbook. Chef Vikas Khanna even gifted this cookbook to several world leaders and famous personalities as well. Chef Vikas Khanna’s book, The Last Color, was adapted into a movie, starring Neena Gupta.
MasterChef Vikas Khanna TV Appearances
Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna earned a lot of recognition as a judge in MasterChef India. He has even made appearances in many international TV shows. Chef Vikas Khanna appeared as a judge in Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay and Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. He appeared as a judge again and as a Indian-cuisine specialist in Hell’s Kitchen. Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna made an appearance as a guest chef on The Martha Stewart Show.
Chef Vikas Khanna As A Philanthropist
Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna is associated with many foundations and has also set up several foundations himself. His foundation ‘South Asian Kid's Infinite Vision’ (SAKIV) focuses on supporting different eye foundations to help prevent blindness in underprivileged children in South Asia. He established ‘Cooking For Life’ in 2001 along with the world’s top chefs to raise money for various relief efforts such as Tsunami Relief, Hurricane Relief, Earthquake Relief, etc. He also had the honour of cooking for a fundraiser hosted for the former US President, Barack Obama. Chef Vikas Khanna’s Feed India initiative established during the COVID-19 pandemic delivers food and supplies to those in need in India.