Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, who discovered his passion for cooking in his grandmother's kitchen as a child, has revealed in an emotional Facebook post his struggles in the early days of his career to get a toehold in the competitive culinary world.
Khanna, who grew up in Amritsar in Punjab, is an award winning chef who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Junoon in New York City, known for its Indian dishes innovatively modified to fit the global palate. He's appeared as host and judge of the cooking challenge MasterChef India.
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He has worked with the towering icons of global culinary industry, including Gordon Ramsey and Bobby Flay and hosted a dinner for US President Barack Obama. In 2011, he was also named the 'Sexiest Man Alive' by People Magazine.
But all that fame had not come easily.
Khanna said that almost 25 years ago he sat in front of the principal of a prestigious hotel administration school in Manipal and described to him his struggles of delivering food to the private parties of Amritsari women who paid Rs 20 for three courses. He had already failed two rounds of tests and the interview would decide his fate.
He spoke about how sometimes rains would put out his tandoor. At other times when the bhaturas (a type of fried Indian bread) he served failed to puff, he would not be paid.
"I ended up by saying that, one day we will have fully covered kitchen and then all problems will be "Tata". They kept asking and I kept honestly replying. They kept laughing and I kept talking in Punj-indi. Suddenly one person interrupted and said 'beta, try again next year'," he wrote.
But Khanna had already told everyone back home that he would be opening an "Air-Conditioned hotel" in Manipal so when his pleas fell on deaf ears and he failed to get admission he was devastated. But Khanna had not lost either his passion for cooking or his spunk.
As he was pondering his next course of action, the principal of the school told him something that would change the course of his life and years later would give direction to the 'AC hotel' he wanted to open.
Here, read the post.
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