Fusion Chef Interview

One of the Sexiest Men Alive Keeps the ‘Flavors First’!
All Indians who have followed Master Chef India would agree Chef Vikas Khanna to be charming without doubt. Named as one of the sexiest men alive by international magazines, Chef Khanna is much-admired for creating delicious dishes combining distinct Indian traditional techniques and revolutionising the global culinary scene in the West. His restaurant ‘Junoon’ situated in New York is acclaimed as a culinary temple which serves sophisticated Indian cuisines. This Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker and humanitarian had hosted dinner at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011. In conversation with Dipti. P, learn more about this fascinating man and his new book Flavors First.
FL: From a young Amritsar chap to an eager student in the USA and now a renowned celebrity, how has the journey been so far?
Chef Vikas: I have known Chef Gordon for many years and have we’ve worked together many times. He is a super talented and a down-to-earth man. He loves food, and those who respect them. Rest is all TV.

Fusion Chef Interview

Chef Vikas: I think it’s very important to make journeys, find destinations but very important to be rooted. I think that celebrity status is also a responsibility to express the truth about your trips.

Chef Vikas: I grew up in Amritsar and food is everything for us. Going out to eat pooris everyday made some people assume so much so that I worked there (Gurudwara, shops and nearby markets) as a child.

FL: Tell us something about your new book the ‘Flavors First’.

FL: How are your foundations ‘SAVIK’ and ‘Cooking for Life’ doing? How did you come up with them? Give our readers a brief on them.

FL: Apart from being a successful chef, you are a sculptor and a film-maker. Give us a peek into this side of your persona.

Chef Vikas: The book Flavors First celebrates my life in 2 worlds, India and America. A place that is my spiritual home and another is my stage to represent my country. As I live in the West, I’ve adapted to a lot of new techniques and have become aspired by new ingredients and continue to learn more to expand my kitchens and pantries. This book celebrates that expansion of my kitchens and it’s always about Flavors First.

Chef Vikas: SAKIV is my foundation in which we raise funds for organizations that need awareness, donation and services even during emergencies. We have hosted several events at many places in the world and are very proud that we can use food to bring people together and connect for a higher cause.

Chef Vikas: I have a natural gift of sculpting. I can carve anything,create gods and any figures. I apply these gifts very much to my food presentation. I love to make documentary films for my series on ‘Holy Kitchens’. They are based on combining foods and gods in every faith. We just released one on Islam called ‘Moon of Eid’. They are created to educate children to respect cultures and food.

FL: How was the experience of judging and working with the amateur cooks at Master Chef India?

Chef Vikas: It’s been a great move in my life. I thank god every day for giving me this opportunity to connect to my soul. I think that I learnt more from the cooks at the show than I taught them. I am so proud of them.

Chef Vikas: She is an angel as she not only taught me about tadkas and curries, she taught me about the power of food. She taught me that a civilization is based on the beliefs of sharing. She taught me that comfort, care and unity are most important ingredients that a kitchen can deliver.

FL: It is now well known that you were highly influenced by your grandma’s cooking. Share with us a few cherished memories of the times spent with her.

Chef Vikas: To write more books with deeper meanings. Create more international films to generate bonding of varied people and interfaith relationships.

FL: What are you up to next? Future plans, projects etc.

FL: What you would advise the new emerging breed of aspiring chefs across the globe?

FL: Tell us something about your experience with Chef Gordon Ramsay.

FL: Chef, give us a glimpse of your relished food memory if you have any.

Chef Vikas: Follow your heart. Express yourself with food. It’s important to grow as you work, both experience-wise and spiritually. n
June 2012 |

56

| June 2012

57

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