Chef Vikas Khanna Biography & Life Story
Vikas Khanna is an Indian chef, restauranteur, film maker, cookbook writer & humanitarian. He is one of the judges of cooking show MasterChef India on Star Plus. Khanna is based on New York City US.
Early & Personal life:
Vikas Khanna was born on 14th November 1971 in Amritsar, Punjab, India. Late Davinder & Bindu Khanna are his parents. He had two siblings Nishant Khanna & Late Radhika Khanna.
He completed his schooling from St. Francis School, Amritsar. He got degree in Hospitality Management.
He obtained his higher education from Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipur, India, Cormell University New York USA & New York University New York USA.
Vikas Khanna was born with club foot (a leg deformity). Until 13 years, he was not able to run. He was inspired by his grandmother (Biji). His grandmother loved to cook & her kitchen became a part of Vikas’s foundational training.
He began new recipes at very young age. At the age of 17, he started Lawrence Gardens Banquets to host weddings and family functions. Inspired by his brother he decided to take up engineering but later he dropped it due to poor mathematical skills.
In 1991, he graduated from Welcomgroup graduate school of hotel administration a constituent of Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
Vikas Khanna owned an honorary doctorate at GD Goenka University for his outstanding work in culinary art philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism and his global reach as a chef. He also studied at Culinary Institute of America.
He worked with Taj Hotels, Oberoi group, Welcom group, and Leela Group of Hotels. He also worked at Salaam Bombay and The Café at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York before he joined Junoon.
Junoon is an upscale Indian restaurant in Flatiron district of Manhattan. It received favorable review from Sam Sifton in The New York Times in its inaugural year. Since 2011, it was awarded a Michelin star by the Michelin Guide for six consecutive years.
Vikas Khanna worked with top chefs named Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Bobby Flay and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
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He started a restaurant named Ellora in Dubai in 2020. He co-hosted the second season of MasterChef India in 2011. This cooking show is based on the original British version.
Since then he hosted all the seasons of that show. In MasterChef Australia season 6, he was invited as a guest judge. On Fox Life, he hosted four seasons of the show Twist of Test.
For the Indian restaurant named Purnima on the Gordon Ramsay TV series Kitchen Nightmares, he was featured as a Consultant Chef to help failing Indian restaurant Purnima.
For the 2-part season finale of Hell’s Kitchen, he was appointed as a judge & an Indian-cuisine specialist.
On The Martha Stewart Show, he appeared as a guest chef & for Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, he appeared as a judge.
Vikas Khanna authored some books like ‘The Spice Story of India’, ‘Modern India Cooking’, Flavors First’, & ‘Utsav’ etc.
A documentary series named Holy Kitchen has produced by Vikas. That documentary explores the bond between faith & food. It showcased at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Oxford Universities and Film Festivals.
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At 69th Cannes Film Festival, his documentary Kitchens of Gratitude was featured at Marche du Film.
He made his directorial debut with The Last Color.
It is a film about daily struggles for survival on the streets of the ancient city of Banaras, India. The seduction of the film featuring veteran Indian actress Neena Gupta.
The movie was released at the 71st Cannes Film Festival. It made it to the final list of Oscar 2020 Eligibility for Best Film.
Once he turned down a role offered by Karan Johar, as culinary field was his priority. Vikas Khanna was featured as a sexiest man alive list of People’s Magazine. In 2011, The New York eater blog voted him as a New York’s hottest chef.
He launched the foundation “South Asian Kid’s Infinite Vision” (SAKIV). It was launched to focus on worldwide issues that demand urgent action such as Tsunami Relief, Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast, Haiti.
The foundation has hosted many events worldwide – from The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the Taj Mahal in India, in collaboration with charitable institutions, named Save the Children.
Vikas Khanna built the first Culinary museum of India at his alma mater Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal in 2018.
In 2001, he founded “Cooking for Life” in New York along with the world’s top chefs to support several social causes.
Vision of Palate is Khanna’s award-winning workshop. It was developed to educate people with visual disabilities about the sense of taste, flavor and aromas.
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He cooked for a fundraiser hosted for President Obama at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on 14th May 2012.
Vikas Khanna is a goodwill ambassador of Smile Foundation. It supports the cause of malnutrition in India. For that foundation, he pledged to raise 1 million US dollars.
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, in April 2020, he started a “Feed India” initiative. It was backed by Pepsi, India Gate, Quaker Oats, Hyatt Regency and Global Funds for Widows and delivers food and supplies to those in need in India.
In September 2015, he became a part of controversy. He asked PM Narendra Modi to autograph National Flag. PM obliged gladly. Actually, writing anything on national flag is considered as a violation of the Indian Flag code.
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For that an official statement was released by the government that it was a piece of art crafted by Vikas Khanna’s physically challenged adopted daughter. It was not the Indian Flag.
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Vikas Khanna on Instagram