!~*Vikas Khanna Official Appreciation Thread*~!

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Posted: 09 November 2011 at 10:15am | IP Logged

                                             


                      









Biography Vikas Khanna (born November 14, 1971) is an award winning Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City.
Life and caree: Born in Amritsar, India to Davinder and Bindu Khanna, Vikas Khanna began his culinary experience as a helper in his grandmother's kitchen, and learned the art of cooking and the use of spices from her. At the age of 12, he was supplying kitchenware to Amritsar Club.

He began developing recipes at a very young age and opened Lawrence Gardens Banquets to host weddings and family functions when he was 16. He graduated from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration in 1994, and established SAANCH, a cultural festival gala, to bring together various foods and traditions from different parts of India. This festival has been an important event in the college's calendar. He also learned the art of sculpting stone and wood in Jaipur, Mysore, Udipi, and Sagar (Karnataka). He has worked for the Taj, Oberoi, Welcomgroup, and Leela Group of Hotels, with some of the most influential chefs of India.

Khanna moved to New York in December, 2000. He worked his way up and soon became the Executive Chef of Salaam Bombay Restaurant in New York. He is a consultant to many restaurants in the United States, and has his own line of packaged foods, Gourmetgurus. He is currently the executive chef of Junoon[1] in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.

He has studied at Cornell University, Culinary Institute of America, and New York University. He frequently lectures at many universities around the country. He resides across the United Nations in Manhattan.

SakivVikas Khanna launched the small company SAKIV (South Asian Kid's Infinite Vision) to reach out to eye foundations around the world in an effort to create awareness about vision disorders in children.

Vision of Palate is his award winning workshop developed to educate people with visual disbilities about the sense of taste, flavor and aromas.

BooksAyurveda - The Science of Food and Life
Mango Mia - Celebrating the tropical world of Mangoes
The Cuisine of Gandhi - Based on the beliefs of the Legend
The Spice Story of India
New York Chefs Cooking for Life - Cookbook
Modern Indian Cooking

Holy KitchensVikas Khanna's Holy Kitchens film series explores the food sharing traditions in a spiritual context. The first film in the series True Business, is based on the Sikh community kitchens, known as Langars, with introduction by Deepak Chopra. The film will premiere at the Sikh International Film Festival in October 2010. Other films in the Holy Kitchens series are based upon the food traditions of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

In 2011, Vikas was honored with the Rising Star Chef Award by Star Chefs for his role in shaping the future of American Cuisine.
On March 29, 2011, Vikas received a raving review from Sam Sifton in The New York Times.
Vikas was voted "New York's Hottest Chef" in a poll conducted by Eater.
On July 29, 2011, Vikas hosted dinner for the Hindu American Seva Charities Conference held at the White House organized by Anju Bhargava, who is a member of President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership.
Vikas was featured in the Top Sexy and Successful list of Anokhi Magazine in their 5th Anniversary Issue. Metro New York featured Khanna as Hottest Chef Around.
Khanna has received acclaim for his cooking style from the James Beard Foundation, and received several awards, including the "Access to Freedom Award" in 2005 from SATH, previously awarded to George W. Bush and HRH Prince Charles, and The Shining Star Award from Just One Break, Inc. previously received by Christopher Reeve and Ray Charles.
He has also received a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York[8] for his outstanding contribution to the city, and was chosen New Yorker of the Week by NY1.

In 2011, Vikas will host the TV Show MasterChef India, an Indian competitive cooking game show based on the original British version of MasterChef, to be telecast on Star Plus.
In September 2007, Vikas Khanna was featured as the consultant chef on the Gordon Ramsay TV show Kitchen Nightmares on Fox. On October 13, 2009, Khanna appeared as a judge and Indian-cuisine specialist on the two-part season finale of Hell's Kitchen. On June 23, 2010, Khanna appeared on Throwdown! with Bobby Flay as a judge. Vikas Khanna was guest chef in the episode "The India Show" on The Martha Stewart Show telecast on March 4, 2011.


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    Posted: 09 November 2011 at 10:17am | IP Logged

    *~VIDEO CORNER~*


    In Junoon's Spice Room with Vikas Khanna


    Holy Kitchens Premiere - Sikh Film Festival


    Holy Kitchens Series - Karma to Nirvana

     (HINDUISM)


    Vikas Khanna


    Holy Kitchens Series - True Business

    (SIKHISM)



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    Edited by --nIdHi-- - 19 November 2011 at 12:18am

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    Posted: 09 November 2011 at 10:28am | IP Logged

    Vikas Khanna is an award winning,
    Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City.

    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.

    During his graduation from the prestigious Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Vikas went on to train under renowned chefs of Taj Group of Hotels, Oberois, Leela Group, and many more.

    He has studied at the Culinary Institute of America, Cornell University and New York University and the prestigeous Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.

    He has worked with some of the most honored chefs in the world 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" and "Modern Indian Cooking". His next book, "Flavors First", published in 2011 by Lake Isle Press. 

    He is the founder of Cooking for Life and SAKIV Organizations which hosts gastronomic events around the world in support of different relief efforts and awareness issues.

    The documentary series Holy Kitchens will be releasing in September 2010; based on his journey to discover the spiritual foods that give us shared identity. The first part of the seies is based on Sikhism (True Business)


    Vikas was awarded a Michelin Star for his restaurant Junoon byMichelin Guide.

    In 2011, Vikas was honored with the Rising Star Chef Award by Star Chefs for his role in shaping the future of American Cuisine.

    On March 29, 2011, Vikas received a raving review from Sam Sifton in The New York Times.

    Vikas was also voted "New York's Hottest Chef" in a poll conducted by Eater.


    On July 29, 2011, Vikas hosted dinner for the Hindu American Seva Charities Conference held at the White House organized by Anju Bhargava, who is a member of President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership.


    Vikas was featured in the Top Sexy and Successful list of Anokhi Magazine in their 5th Anniversary Issue. Metro New York featured Khanna as Hottest Chef Around.


    Khanna has received several awards, including the "Access to Freedom Award" in 2005 from SATH, previously awarded to George W. Bush and HRH Prince Charles, and The Shining Star Award from Just One Break, Inc. previously received by Christopher Reeve and Ray Charles.


    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.


    In September 2007, Vikas Khanna was featured as the consultant chef on the Gordon Ramsay TV show Kitchen Nightmares on Fox. On October 13, 2009, Khanna appeared as a judge and Indian-cuisine specialist on the two-part season finale of Hell's Kitchen.

    On June 23, 2010, Khanna appeared on Throwdown! with Bobby Flay as a judge. Vikas Khanna was guest chef in the episode "The India Show" on The Martha Stewart Show telecast on March 4, 2011.

    In 2011, Vikas will host the TV Show MasterChef India, an Indian competitive cooking game show based on the original British version of MasterChef, to be telecast on Star Plus.

    ___________________

    Indian chef invited at White House


    The White House will eat out of an Indian chef's cooking pot on July 29. India-born Vikas Khanna, who has also been voted New York's hottest chef, has been invited to whip up some 'spiritual food' at the Hindu American Seva Conference to be held at the US President's home.

    Khanna, who's chef, writer, film maker and humanitarian, has chosen temple fare to present at the White House Dinner. "It is a great honor for my family, my city and my mother land India," says the dishy chef who learnt cooking in his grandmother's kitchen in Amtitsar.

    About his choice of Iskon inspired food for the White House Dinner, he says, "I just released my second film- Karma to Nirvana, a part Holy Kitchens film series. The film focuses on sharing food in Hinduism, essentials of 'Atithi Devo Bhavo' and life of Krishna. Working in the ISKCON in New Delhi and serving free meals to children in schools made me realize the power and purity of temple food."

    The chef plans to make a very simple meal for the dinner. "I have been asked several times in my career about the person I would love to cook for, my answer is always "Mahatma Gandhi", so to keep that inspiration alive, I will be cooking a simple meal. It will include Vada Pao from the streets of Mumbai, Sookhi Yellow Daal from ISKCON, Aloo Tamatar from the Langar at the Golden Temple, Tawa Roti - to honor my grandmother Biji, who taught me how to cook and Seviyan - to honor Ramadan," shares Khanna.

    The chef grew up in Amritsar, started his own catering business at 17, graduated from Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, and trained with Taj, Oberoi, and Leela. He later went abroad to study at the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. He has some great memories of Delhi. "The vibrancy of the food of Delhi is legendary. Paratha Wali Gali, Bengali market, Canaught Place, Street Vendors, - the simplicity of the foods have helped inspire my restaurants, events, books, foundations and lots more," says the chef who's favorite food is the Langar at the Golden Temple.  Given his looks and six-pack abs, you're not surprised when he tells you he's lots of Hollywood directors coming to him with film offers. But Khanna is not very keen.  "My kitchens are my stage", he tells them with a smile.

    Khanna has worked with the most celebrated chefs in New York and is also the recipient of Access to Freedom Award from SATH (The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality), that was also awarded to George W. Bush and Prince Charles. His documentary series Holy Kitchens frame his journey to discover spiritual foods. He is also the founder of Sakiv foundation that supports relief efforts across the world.  And does he plan to open any restaurant in India?  "It will be a dream come true for my team and me," he says.


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    Junoon - Restaurant Reviewed

    JUNOON Dining room II.jpgWow, they must have sunk a fortune into this place. That's the first thing that comes to mind when you step foot inside Junoon and find yourself standing in front of a tranquil reflecting pool. This new Indian restaurant, located on the outskirts of Madison Square Park, literally looks like a palace. The bar room alone is bigger than most restaurants, ornamented with antique teak swings, glossy marble floors and high ceilings. While the cocktails at  ethnic restaurants tend to be gimmicky, these are both elegant and creative -- a martini with a splash of vermouth and garam masala or a beautifully balanced "Agave Thyme" cocktail with rum and a fresh sprig of thyme. A long walkway leading to the dining room is trimmed with 200-year old arched gates and hand-carved sculptures from India.  There's a glassed-in spice room just downstairs  where you can watch chefs ground spice blends.  And how many restaurants have you been to with a meditation room for employees?  You can't help but feel like you're dining in a museum, except for the Indian music playing in the background and bewitching aromas wafting from the open kitchen in the main dining room.   

    Junoon is a looker. It's also a very big gamble. Sure, it seem small (or at least smaller) compared to neighboring Eataly (which is right across the street), but it's lofty and so is the menu.  Truth be told, you can't help but worry for them and pray the food's worth the high price tag.  While many of the flavors and spices are from traditional Indian palette, the cooking is modern and refined.  It's also phenomenal.  The chef, Vikas Khanna, cooked atSalaam Bombay before taking over Junoon's kitchen. The menu features regional Indian dishes, using classic techniques, which include the tandoor oven, hot stones, cast iron, fire pit, and curry cooking.  The result is bubbly, beautifully charred naan, housemade paneer spiced with garam masala (ground in-house) with cashew nuts and cream, and monkfish tikka with yogurt, chiles and mustard seed.  

    spice room.jpgOne of my favorite dishes on the menu was the lobster tandoori, an wondrously moist lobster tail, served in its shell, and spiced with a fragrant blend of cumin, cayenne and lemon. The crowning touch is a fennel glaze, which lends the lobster meat a sweet, aromatic flavor that plants itself firmly in your memory for days.  And the piri-piri shrimp is nearly as delicious.  The shrimp are bathed in a hot chile sauce, flavored with parsley, lemon, garlic and cilantro, which on its own is undeniably spicy, but here is tempered by a delicately sweet, meyer lemon vinaigrette that they should sell by the bottle.  The flavors are all clean and sharp, and yet, beautifully balanced by each other.

    The cooking is slightly reminiscent of Floyd Cardoz' work at the newly and sadly shutteredTabla.  But while Cardoz' cooking is whimsical and often interpretative Indian food, Khannas seems more rooted in tradition with a focus on simplicity.  If you're craving family-style portions with lots of gravy, you won't find it at Junoon.  Instead, you get artfully plated lamb chops, spiced with pepper, green cardamom and ginger, a perfectly molded tower of mango chutney, or homemade lamb sausage with a snappy casing and moist, finely spiced interior. There's paneer drizzled with mint sauce, garam masala-crusted cauliflower and an outstanding rendition of saag, the Indian answer to creamed spinach, except this version is mixed with cauliflower, coriander, fenugreek and gobs of garlic. Oh, and the table agreed that the five-lentil daal was the best daal we'd ever had -- creamy and luxurious, and yet earthy and comforting.  

    Really, my only complaint was the halibut in a coconut curry, which was a tad overcooked, and the "seasonal chutneys," a trio of sesame, tamarind... and tomato?  Since when are tomatoes in season in December?  The sweet & sour tamarind and nutty sesame with fresh baked paratha easily made up for the tomato chutney.  
    dessert.jpgFor dessert, we shared shared the date pudding cake (pictured right), a moist, yet surprisingly light cake with a tart cranberry reduction and a luscious orange buttermilk ice cream with bright citrus undertones.  

    So maybe Junoon wasn't such a big gamble.  After all, every great chef needs a proper stage.  With its rising star chef, Vikas Khannas, this justmay just be the next best Indian restaurant.       
      
    Junoon
    Address: 27 West 24th St., btwn 6th & Broadway
    Phone: (212)490-2100

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    'Golden Temple kitchen busiest'


    CHANDIGARH: Food is said to be a great unifier, and a documentary film appears to second this. According to Holy Kitchens production— an initiative of an Indian-American Chef Vikas Khanna, who is rolling out a series of films to tie together the metaphysical meaning of food in religion with the real world experience of sharing food in a spiritual context — Golden Temple has the busiest kitchen in the world.

    Khanna is an award winning chef, author TV personality and restaurateur based in New YorkCity.

    The first in the series is a documentary 'True Business', which takes its inspiration from first Sikh master Guru Nanak's message of Sacha Sauda, from where the concept of 'langar' or common kitchen originated.

    As the story, Guru Nanak's father had given him Rs 20 to start a business but was surprised to see his son distributing food to the poor, bought with the money meant to start an enterprise. On being asked that why did he do this, Guru Nanak is supposed to have replied that this was ''Sacha Sauda, True Business''.

    "Food is the single most joining factor for all humans," says 38-year-old Khanna, who belongs to Amritsar, where Golden Temple is located.

    Filmed in the Harmandir Sahib, the documentary captures images of how shared food elevates human consciousness cutting across all caste, religion, class barriers.

    The movie, according to Khanna is composed of three parts, starting with tracing the evolution of the langar tradition. "One of the gurus famously said, ''Even enemies need to be fed. I have been raised in Amritsar and I have seen this unification happen in front of my eyes day in and day out," says Khanna. He claims that each time he returns home, his first meal is at the Golden Temple.

    According to the chef, Holy Kitchen aims to make people aware of this commonality of the world's religious traditions and to illuminate the differences in a way that will engender mutual tolerance and respect.

    The other documentaries in the pipeline are Karma to Nirvana (Hinduism) to be premiered next year in November; The moon of Eid (Islam); The wheel of Dharma (Buddhism); The Lord's Supper (Christianity); Celebrating Nowruz (Zoroastrianism); Feats of unleavened bread (Judaism).

    While, True Business was telecast at the Sikh International Film Festival held in New York, in October, it will be screened in Columbia University on Monday followed by Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Oxford and many other universities.


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    Junoon Chef Vikas Khanna On Peppers and Patience


    It's difficult to define Vikas Khanna. Sure, he's a chef, whose new gold-hued restaurant Junoon recently earned two stars from The New York Times. But he's also an activist as the founder of a non-profit dedicated to improving eye care in South Asia. He's also a movie producer whose film Chef Vikas Khanna of Junoonseries "Holy Kitchens" is based on his belief that food has the power to bring the world together. He's an author six times over and -- lest we leave anything out -- he's quite a looker. He's got the credentials to prove that, too: In February, readers of Eater voted Khanna, 38, New York's hottest chef. Here, the India-born talent gets personal about peppers, patience and piri piri shrimp.

    What inspired you to make the film series "Holy Kitchens"?
    I could never be satisfied with just cooking if I didn't give something back for the great life I am privileged to have. "Holy Kitchens" is my attempt to tell the stories of people sharing food in a spiritual context and tying that to a sense of meaning and community. Sharing food is one of the basic building blocks of civilization.

    Does this idea of sharing food carry over into Junoon?
    Junoon is an expression of Indian hospitality. In Hindi we say, "Atithi devo bhava," which means the guest is God. Its meaning is that we believe that our highest expression of faith is in sharing what we have with others. I love to feed people... and I love to see people enjoying themselves while eating my food.

    What was the biggest challenge you faced opening the restaurant?
    We hired a number of people for our service staff based exclusively on their great service abilities rather than their knowledge of Indian cuisine, so we had to spend a great deal of time talking about the ingredients and methods of Indian food. It was great fun, but I forget sometimes how complex our cooking is.

    What are some of the menu's most distinctive dishes?
    The duck breast with Tellicherry is not like anything on any other Indian restaurant menu. The sauce is made with Tellicherry peppercorns, curry leaf and coconut milk, with a little tamarind for tartness. We did it on Martha Stewart's show and she really liked it.

    Besides Junoon, what are your favorite spots for Indian food in New York?
    I love to go to East 6th Street and try the great everyday Indian food they make there.
    I still love to try everyone's rendition of chicken tikka masala because we don't have that in India.

    What is one of your favorite ingredients?
    Pippali (sometimes called the Indian long pepper). This pepper has a magically ethereal bouquet and mild heat. We use it in entres, desserts and cocktails.

    What about your secret non-ingredient weapon in the kitchen?
    Patience

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    Shakahari bhojan served fresh to the Obamas


    Punjabi munda Vikas Khanna's claim to fame is not the fact that he was voted the hottest (looking) chef in the US or that he owns a multi-million dollar Indian restaurant in New York, but his films that explore the link between religion and food. Next up on his agenda? Teaching White House guests and the Obamas a thing or two about seva

    Chef, author and restaurateur Vikas Khanna was recently in Mumbai for a short but important visit  -- he was researching for the third part of his seven-part film series, Holy Kitchen. The series explores the link between food and Indian religions. The first part, True Business, on Sikhism and the langar, a free food service premised on the notion of seva, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim; the second was on Hinduism (Karma to Nirvana) and released in May 2011.



    In fact, the 39 year-old owner of 12-million dollar New York restaurant, Junoon, holds the concept of seva in high regard, seeing it as one that can spread love, peace and health. Which probably explains why the dinner he is throwing at the White House on July 29 as part of a fund-raising activity is called Seva Dinner.

    You will be hosting a dinner at the White House next month. Why are you calling it the Seva Dinner?
    I have an obsession with the word seva. It signifies humility. I am organising an essay competition for students in the White House, which will be followed by dinner for 200 people that I will cook with my team. US President Barack Obama and his family are expected to be part of the dinner. I decided to call the event Seva Dinner, as a way to thank the country where I now live. We will open the event with videos of powerful leaders and their notions of seva, including Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mata Amritanandmayi, Dr Deepak Chopra, and Bill Clinton.

    What do you plan to feed the students and probably, the Obamas?
    I am going to cook vegetarian food. 
    I will cook dishes that I would have cooked for my hero, Mahatma Gandhi, if he was alive. I will be using goat cheese. There is an entire course on goat cheese. There will also be Gujarati food and some Punjabi dishes.

    Your film series Holy Kitchens is quite popular in the United States. What prompted you to create a film that combines faith and food?
    The concept took birth years ago. 
    I landed in America in December 2000, and 9/11 happened a year later. There was a lot of discrimination against Sikhs. Talking about religion is not healthy because people associate it with fanaticism. However, everybody loves to talk about food. In my films, I talk about food of a certain religion and through that talk, about the people who belong to that religion.

    Tell us a bit about True Business, that was released at the Sikh International Film Festival in 2010. Has the movie managed to convey your thoughts?
    It is a 37-minute film, and by the end of it you will know everything you need to know about Sikhism. We talk about the langar and how it laid the foundation of Sikhism. The system is like a democracy. There is no caste system since anybody can go and eat. Within four days of the first film's release, I got a call from Bill Clinton's office saying, 'this is genius'. 

    You have cooked with some illustrious chefs, including Gordon Ramsay. What is your favourite food?
    When I was studying at Le Cordon Bleu in France, we would have the world's best chef cooking for us but after every two days, I would get this mad craving for dal. Once, I had mentioned in an interview that dal is my favourite dish. After that, every dinner I attended, I was fed dal.

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