'There's something sacred about scarcity'

'There's something  sacred about scarcity'

He has cooked for the who’s who of the world, from the Dalai Lama to Barack Obama and wowed them with his kitchen skills.

Vikas Khanna has, in fact, become the face of Indian cuisine and chefs in the international food arena.

Vikas was in the City for the launch of KitchenAid and his first vegetarian cookbook ‘Hymns From The Soil’.

But behind those sturdy hands is a story of determination and hardship.

“I started cooking due to a disability and developed an interest in it. I have spent 25 years of my life in the kitchen and there have been ups and downs, but I have never regretted anything I have done,” he says.

The Masterchef has a natal connection with Bangalore and says that his journey started from the City.

Vikas studied in Manipal University and often came to Bangalore for his assignments.

“I am very emotional about Bangalore as it has been a very important part of my transition. There was something very strange about Bangalore. We always knew that it would be the IT hub of the country even when the technological revolution had not started here. The City has done so well because of the power of its youth,” he notes.

So what does it take to impress someone who has dished out some of the most delicious cuisines?

Vikas almost instantly replies, “I relish my daal and sukhi roti the most. I don’t want anything else. I feel that there is something sacred about scarcity. Back in
Amritsar, when the Operation Bluestar had been declared in the City, we had nothing to eat at home for days together. The only thing available was a sack of potatoes and we had to manage with that. My grandmother cooked for all of us and now when I have everything that I want, I want my grandmother back,” notes a nostalgic Vikas.

The chef feels that Indian cookbooks need to up their game and be at a par with the international cookbooks.

“The Indian food industry is what the American food industry was 10 years ago. Anyone who has new ideas and is innovative is being asked to step up,” he notes.

“Today, one can’t fool the Indian foodies, they are well-travelled and are open to trying out new dishes. People are accepting the new cuisine and culture and that is a great sign,” he adds.

For now, Vikas is all set to conquer new flavours and is gearing up for a cook off with the President of the USA, Barack Obama.

“He has invited me for a cook off with him as he feels that he makes better kheema. Let’s see when that happens,” he signs off with a grin.

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