A few weeks ago, we got the opportunity to dine with and interview the most humble Celebrity Chef we’ve come across in our culinary journey – Vikas Khanna. Over the years, we’ve watched and admired him on TV as he explored cuisines from different parts of the world, and came to realize that he shares the same passion as we do, which is a pure and dedicated love for food.
Needless to say that when he paid a visit to his newest venture – Junoon Dubai, we seized the opportunity to dine with him.
Vikas Khanna was raised in a small town located in Amritsar, India where he discovered his passion for cooking. He grew up in a family that loved to produce Indian feasts using the seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab and had a deep interest in his grandmother’s traditional home cooking from whom he learnt the intricacies of indian cuisine. Eager to cook, he started his own small banquet and catering business called “Lawrence Gardens” at the age of 17 and turned it into a thriving business.
During our conversation with Vikas, there was one thing pretty evident : his love for Manhattan, New York. He told us about the difficult decisions he had to make; leaving his home and family, traveling to New York and engaging in a few part time jobs just so he could earn a living. He did that because he firmly believed that this city would definitely be his gateway to success (he was right). 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. 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 authored many books, including “The Spice Story of India” and “Modern Indian Cooking”.
Vikas Khanna’s venture in New York City that goes by the name of “Junoon” is one of his most prized achievements. He was humbled by the success of his restaurant and continuously reminds himself that he’s here for promoting good Indian food. He treats Junoon like his “baby”, that deserves his undivided attention and nurture.
We ended our conversation by sharing our culinary experiences in Dubai and how there is always something to look forward to in this city. We loved how he always visits small Lebanese cafeterias and restaurants when he’s in Dubai and wants to get a quick bite. We also loved the fact that in spite of his worldwide success and career growth, he never seems to forget his roots and where he came from. He is humble, kind and oh so affectionate. Not to forget, always having that smile on his face.