Indian food has infinite combinations and aromas, filled with several centuries of journeys of many dynasties and cultures. But, for me it's always been the great Indian culinary traditions.
Vikas Khanna was raised in Amritsar, India where he grew up surrounded by large family feasts, the seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab, and, of course, his Grandmother’s traditional home cooking. It was at his grandmother’s side that he began to learn the intricacies of Indian cuisine. He started his own banquet and catering business, Lawrence Gardens, at the age of 17 and the business is still thriving. His current restaurant work includes Junoon Restaurant, the Café at the Rubin Museum of Art, Flavors and Feasts Catering. Upon his graduation from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Vikas went on to train under renowned chefs of Taj Group of Hotels, Oberoi, Leela Group and many more. He made his way to the United States and studied at the Cornell University and New York University while getting his feet wet in the restaurant industry of New York City. He has also studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. He had the pleasure of working with some of the most honored chefs in America while he was the Executive Chef of Salaam Bombay Restaurant in New York. He has received glowing reviews from the press, his gastronomic peers and also recognition from the James Beard Foundation. He has authored several books including The Spice Story of India, Modern Indian Cooking and Flavors First, which will be published in August 2011. He is the founder of Cooking for Life and SAKIV, organizations which host gastronomic events around the world in support of various relief efforts and awareness issues. He is also supporting the work of Amma, the hugging saint of Kerala, India. Her work providing relief for the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti have been a model of human compassion and fiscal responsibility. The documentary series Holy Kitchens is based on his journey to discover the spiritual foods that give us a shared identity. The first part of the series is on the Langars of the Sikhs and is subtitled "The True Business." Karma to Nirvana is the second film in the series, which explores the food sharing traditions of Hinduism. Vikas has also been a guest judge and chef on Gordon Ramsay’s television shows for Fox, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. Food Network, the Martha Stewart Show among others. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and is also an honorary member of many foundations including the World Peace Society. He was also honored with the prestigious Access to Freedom Award in 2005 from SATH, previously awarded to George H.W. Bush and HRH Prince Charles and he has also received a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York for his outstanding contribution to the city, and was chosen New Yorker of the Week by NY1. Vikas is also the Host of MasterChef India and the author of acclaimed cookbook Flavors First.
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