Let's plate up!

Let's plate up!

Tele talk

Let's plate up!

The poster boy of Indian cuisine, Vikas Khanna has had a phenomenal year. From the launch of his new book Utsav to cooking for some iconic international personalities, the masterchef has been in the limelight and has introduced bold Indian flavours to the global palate.

Having recently made it to the list of World’s Most Influential Chefs, alongside the likes of Julia Child, Jamie Oliver and Massimo Bottura, Vikas remains humbler than ever, crediting his success to the versatility and simplicity of Indian food. The chef is also out with National Geographic’s latest season of India’s Megakitchens. Here are the excerpts from the conversation with Michelin-star chef:

Tell us a little about the new season of India’s Megakitchens. How different is it from the last one?

I am delighted to be associated again with India’s Megakitchens. This is an amazing concept. This season will throw light on some of India’s biggest and most iconic cooking spaces, with a focus on their scale, volume, process and technology. The series highlights the sheer pressure, precision and purpose of feeding the many thousands of people on a daily basis. The new season will also salute the efforts of the heroes who work tirelessly in these mega-kitchens. It is their hard work, love and devotion that helps feed the mind-boggling number of people on a daily basis. The new season will explore the kitchens of Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, Iskcon Yatra, Annapurna and Kalinga Institute.

Which was your favourite kitchen this time around?

I believe all the kitchens are unique in their own way and it is quite difficult to pick just one. All these kitchens operate for one purpose — to feed millions of people. Having said that, if I have to pick one as my favourite, it would be Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara kitchen. It feeds millions during the Holla Mohalla festival, and it brings back my childhood memories of visiting the holy place.

In India, temples kitchens are considered the original mega-kitchens. What is your take on the temple cuisine in India?

I am just amazed to see the work that goes into preparing temple food or prasad for a massive number of people daily. In this new season, the programme will showcase some of India’s biggest temple kitchens including Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara and Iskcon Yatra. I’m personally in awe of the temporary mega-kitchens set up for an annual pilgrimage in Vrindavan and Govardhan that span over 10 days.

What is your take on the phenomenal rise in the number of food shows on TV?

I am glad to see that people are keen on watching food shows. It is wonderful that the art of cooking has gone a notch higher, and chef-style cooking has entered domestic cooking spaces.

With so many food blogs and talented home-cooks coming up, what is your take on the food scene in India?

Food space is ever growing, and we have always had talented home-cooks. However, it is wonderful see them finding their way to mainstream. Sharing a recipe is no longer restricted to books, but there are so many food blogs, and aggregators providing a platform that brings recognition and helps them make some money out of their cooking skills. Food has a special place in our hearts and it is worth spreading the joy of cooking through different mediums.

You have made it to the list of World’s Most Influential Chefs. What is the feeling like?

I am humbled and gratified because it is Indian food that is becoming influential. I am happy being the messenger taking India to the world, with its unique culture and food history.

You have cooked for some of the most popular celebrities including US President Barack Obama and the Pope. What was the experience like and who is your favourite among the lot?

All of these influential people that I have cooked for are legends and global luminaries, and it is truly humbling and a proud moment for Indian cuisine. For me, every experience has been about learning, and I keep looking forward to these moments.

You have had a spectacular year so far, with the launch of your book Utsav, and the documentary Kitchens of Gratitude (showcased at Cannes this year). So what’s next on your agenda?

I look forward to creating more art and many more proud moments for Indian cuisine, culture and our heritage. Keep watching this space for more. Miles to go!

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