Travel and Food: Two sides of a coin

Chef Vikas Khanna - Master of many talents

Chef Vikas Khanna – Master of many talents

One man, many talents. That is Chef Vikas Khanna for us. He is an award winning Michelin starred Indian chef, restaurateur, cookbook writer, filmmaker and a humanitarian. He launched his latest culinary epic, ‘Utsav’ at the India Pavilion of the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Based in New York, food is what makes him travel around the world.

How was your journey from Amritsar to New York like?

I have always felt that life works like a lottery.  You’ve got to buy the ticket. And by that I mean that you have to play hard and continuously and never stop. This has been the core of starting a kitty party house in 1990 to 2010 – the beginning of the Junoon era. I think most of fame and name disappears very soon, during this time you have to create some art that might exist a little longer.

Which is your favourite cuisine and your favourite restaurant?

My favourite cuisine is Bhutanese and French. They both have inspired me in many different ways. Indian cuisine is a part of my breath, so it’s always with me. One of my favourite restaurants is Veselka in NY. It’s a 24 hours place in East Village and I have written many books and concepts there while I was studying at New York University.

Besides cooking what else keeps you busy?

I love running, swimming, writing and reading. I am a person who has done a lot of backpacking in my life and am proud of it.

That means you like to travel?

The only way to know the world and love it is to travel. Most of my research is travel based.

What kind of a traveller are you?

I am a local traveller. I try not to visit the typical touristy places and enjoy what is a part of heritage of towns and try to discover the food scene there.

Chef Vikas Khanna with actress Sonam Kapoor in Cannes at the launch of his latest culinary journey 'Utsav'

Chef Vikas Khanna with actress Sonam Kapoor in Cannes at the launch of his latest culinary journey ‘Utsav’

Share with our readers one cherished memory of your travel experience as a child.

My trip to Delhi, when we were very young was truly amazing. We came to Delhi for a cousins’ wedding. It was truly an eye opener. The city, the vibe and the velocity was unmatched from where I grew up. Being the capital of the nation, there is such a history and new streams of influences that I fell in love with.

What is your bucket list like?

Spain. Morocco. Cambodia.

Do you explore the cuisine of a region whenever you are travelling?

My most important reason to travel is always food. It could be festivals, food expos, food safaris or just street walking for food. My luggage bag says, ‘Will travel for food’.

Rapid fire

a) Love is  – Eating together

b) Food on a rainy day – Pakoras

c) Sunny day – Burgers with salads

d) And a cold winter day – Stews with lentils

e) One thing you can’t live without – My phone

f) If you had to give up all your fame for one thing what would that be- Becoming a monk

g) One thing you want to change in the world – Nothing, it exists as it has evolved. One thing if I have to choose would be less traffic.

Utsav - the latest book by chef Vikas Khanna

Utsav – the latest book by chef Vikas Khanna

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