'I am married to my restaurant'

STYLISH CHEF

He has become a household name and in no time. First because of his good looks and second because he knows how to whip up some mouth-watering food.

In action : Vikas Khanna shows off some cooking skills.

And last but not the least, he’s single. What’s more, he doesn’t expect his lady to cook. “There is no need for my wife-to-be to cook because she will be at Junoon every day,” says chef Vikas Khanna.

Metrolife indulges this 40-year-old in a candid tete-a-tete when he was in Delhi to promote a magazine.

A chef, restaurateur, food writer and film-maker, Vikas surely can give any Bollywood star a run for his money. Raised in Amritsar and now based in New York, he says, “I ventured into the kitchen for the first time when I was nine-year-old and cooked masoor ki dal. It was an absolute blunder, which I realised after tasting it and still wonder how my family liked it.”

The food industry has mostly been dominated by men, but what about men ousting their wives and mothers in home kitchens? Vikas says, “Even if men are taking over the kitchens in restaurants and hotels, women should be the leaders at home kitchens and men can lend a helping hand. It is important to maintain this tradition because the touch of a woman makes the dish complete.”

And his inspiration? He says, “My grandmother is my only mentor and I have learnt cooking from her. She used to cook when I was a kid and I started emulating her, so there wasn’t much space for my mother to try her hands in the kitchen because I took over immediately after my grandmother.”

He adds, “It is the secret of my grandmother’s cooking which we have tried to inculcate at Junoon.”
This proud owner of a New York restaurant, Junoon and one of the judges of Masterchef India 2 has no plans to settle down in life, says the Michelin star, “I am married to my restaurant. My sister acts like my mother and has tried to fix up dates for me but failed.”

When he was young, Vikas’ ambition was to run a chana bhatura stall in Amritsar. But he went on to open a small banquet hall by the name of Lawrence Garden in his hometown. It specially catered to ladies’ kitty parties and he offered only six food items: fried paneer, paneer pakora, chana bhatura, kulcha, aloo and spring rolls.

He survived on the business for five years. Creator of The Holy Kitchens film series, Vikas reveals his favourite dish, “Although I am not a huge meat eater but my favourite dish is the kakori kebab, which we fondly cook at Junoon too.”

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