Story of kitchen utensils marks India's history, says celebrity chef Vikas Khan

Story of kitchen utensils marks India's history, says celebrity chef Vikas Khan

Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna said world peace begins with kitchen.

Speaking to mediapersons after laying foundation stone for the construction of Culinary Arts and Culinary Museum here on Thursday, he said India is a country wherein several faiths culminate in a diversified culture. It is unique that the Indian civilisation has contributed to the cultural custom, which is totally priceless.

 Utensils have a long history in India. The story of kitchen utensils marks the history of the country, he added.

Khanna said the present generation has lost touch with the bygone era. 

He said he developed passion for the collection of utensils 15 years ago. “I initially had plans to set up the museum in the US. But I changed my mind as I felt India is the only destination wherein the remnants of the ancient civilisation can be conserved,” he remarked.

He said the museum is a form of ‘Guru Dakshina’ to Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA).  

The master chef said he had to struggle to get a wooden scoop from an Arab who had taken it from Udupi.  

Khanna said the museum would be housed in a building worth Rs 10 crore and it would be the first-of-its-kind in the country. Its construction would be completed by August 2017. It would house antique utensils collected from several parts of the world. He said he already has an impressive collection of utensils and more would be added as and when he gets them. 

At the temporary museum, where the kitchen paraphernalia have been kept, he showed a beautiful jug from Kashmir and a rolling pin used generations ago.

A visibly excited Vikas explained at length about some utensils and how they were used traditionally. He spoke  about their origin, like the first ‘Thaal’ on which Mysore Pak was made. A family donated the ‘Thaal’, which has nearly 300 years history, to the museum, he said. 

He also said that the museum would have traditional utensils. 

He described his experiences on the collection of utensils from Dubai, China and parts of India like Pondicherry, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Karnataka etc. The Turkish utensils, like the post water mug, are really wonderful, he added.

‘Udupi is second home’
He also said he was deeply connected to Udupi with his Guru who taught him several unique skills in sculpture, stone and wood carving etc. “Udupi is my second home, Amritsar the first,” he said. 

He thanked WGSHA for admitting him though his knowledge of English was almost nil. “But, there was something the then Principal saw in me and asked me to join and prove myself”. The museum is a living museum as anyone interested can donate the age-old utensils, he added.

He said he the first step in realising a dream of a museum with a huge collection of pots and pans of bygone times when he laid the foundation stone for a culinary arts building which would also have the museum at WGSHA hostel. His Guru and Mentor Gangadhar Rao was specially invited to the ceremony.  

Khanna’s documentary ‘Kitchen of Gratitude’ would be screened at Cannes on May 15. He has plans to carry out ‘Twist of Taste’ in the US later this year.

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