Indian Cuisine Communicates Indian Culture: Chef Vikas Khanna
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Having taken Indian food to towering heights, chef Vikas Khanna always knew the power of the Indian cuisine. Though being pitted against international chefs, the Indian culinary expert with an infectious smile always believed Indian food to be much more complex and layered with a vast potential for worldwide appreciation.
"For me, food is an important journey. For somebody who lives in a foreign soil and works there, your food not only represents a cuisine or the menu, it becomes very much an expression of the culture. It impacts the culture and everything around it. I've always felt if you want to build an empire based on food, it cannot be just a product of food, it has to be a subtotal of the culture," he said, while talking to Entrepreneur India for the magazine's October 2020 digital cover.
Khanna has always strived for the perfect representation of the Indian culture through food and flavors that are now being increasingly appreciated across the globe. He has represented Indian pride in his food as something to discover rather than something rigid. His ideas for this representation have truly driven his underlying causes.
"You also find a way that separates you. Performing with mostly European or American chefs, sometimes I'm the only Indian on the covers with them, and you still find that people haven't found that love for Indian food in
America. Indian food is more complex, more diversified. It has much more to offer to the world than just a template menu that people see in restaurants. This was a daily evolution of understanding that I need the right equation for Indian food and I'm not going to settle for anything less," he said.
Giving back to the nation
Along with his massive success in the field of cooking, he has also ventured into other terrains. Writing is one territory he always knew he would tread.
"If you're putting culture forward, you should be able to communicate the culture. The hardest part was not the food cookbooks or the children's books; the hardest part was doing fiction," he said.
He is rightly recognized for being unpredictable and pleasantly so. His ambition for doing it all has been seen with his philanthropy the 'Feed India' movement that has fed millions during the coronavirus-induced
"My mother said when the country needs you, you need to stand in the middle and feed India. We did not stop and we crossed 42 million which is a big number. Thanks to the NDRF, which came on board, otherwise we could never have done this on such scale," he said.
A message for budding chefs
In addition to his actions of kindness and passion for food, he has many other ventures in store for the future. Three documentaries, a restaurant in progress and two movies are some of his works to be expected soon enough. After inspiring us with his candid and honest answers, he had one last message for young budding chefs who are just stepping into the professional arena.
"Any artist who is trying to rise against all the odds, first thing I'll always say is please read your contracts carefully. The markets are changing; they need to have the right contracts to move forward. Wait for it, do not rush it. And do not stop working hard-there is no substitute for working hard. Be yourself, do anything you wish to do. If anything inspires you, run after it, and don't stop learning," he said.
Check out Entrepreneur India's October 2020 digital cover-A Flavorful Chat with Chef Vikas Khanna. Get to know the amazing, and inspiring chef, author and entrepreneur in our exclusive video: