‘Sexiest man alive,’ ‘Hottest chef in the world’, ‘Face of Indian cooking’ – these are just few of the titles Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna has been given. But amidst all the accomplishments and accolades is a humble man from Punjab who does it all for the simple and sole love for food and cooking.
Restaurants, books, TV shows, awards – he’s done it all! And now he serves you with his latest book, Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love, published by Om Books International, where Khanna promises to invoke passion through the innovative use of different aphrodisiacs.
He chats with us about his new book, his numerous achievements and the very reason food became his calling and life. Read on.
What do you love most about food/cooking?
The power of food is unlimited. The comfort of cooking and serving someone is unmatched. This is the only profession where you get compared to your loved ones. Everything about food is lovable.
What is your earliest memory of cooking/being in the kitchen?
A small Punjabi kitchen at home, and a large communal kitchen at the Golden Temple. Both were the foundation of my food. Learning tadkas from my grandmother and learning the power of food at the Golden Temple.
Can you name a recipe that inspired you to take up a career in the food industry?
Yes, a simple humble roti. Understanding that the power of the Universe is in the food (Ann Brahman) and seeing the farms as the wheat was harvested, dried, ground and made to dough, from dough to the rolling and cooking into rotis. I would fall in love with this process again and again. It inspired me to be a part of this cycle in any capacity.
When did you know food was your calling?
When I saw that the whole family was scattered everywhere during the day and when it was time to eat, everyone came together on the same table. It was humbling to see that a simple dish would give all of us so much comfort. I knew it that the food was my calling.
Your favourite childhood recipe/dish:
There used to be a tradition in our homes that during the peak of peach season, my grandmother would stew them in huge batches. In my latest book Khanna Sutra, I have used the same inspiration and created my own modern version of that dish.
Your favourite cuisine and restaurant:
I, you, love food then your reverence of cuisines is very high. But, I have been intrigued by Bhutanese cuisine for many years. Restaurants that would be my favourite? That is the hardest questions, I love it all, from the flagships of Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu's to the street foods of the world.
‘Sexiest man alive,’ ‘Hottest chef in the world’, ‘Face of Indian cooking’ - how do these titles make you feel?
I think these titles do not belong to me. It’s about Indian food and culture that most of the people are referring to.
Tell us about your new book?
Khanna Sutra is my latest project published by OM Books International. It’s a beautiful book combining to major forces of our existences- Love and Food. These are simple love stories of food with amazing flavors. The pantry to the new combinations, the new tastes and aromas are all a part of this book. This started from my Valentine’s Day Dinners I had cooked in New York for so many years and the guests would be in awe of little sensitive touches to the cuisines.
If not a chef, then what would you be?
Of course, a farmer. I hope and pray that I could be a part of the chain of this profession more closely.
Restaurants, books, TV shows, awards, international acclaim. What’s next for Vikas Khanna?
I feel that if you can represent your culture, your roots more honestly and with pride; you have achieved a much bigger title. Anything I can do begins from love, every project I take, any cultural story I write, is because of love. So, let the Universe give new inspirations and I will just follow them.