To the common man,the name might not be familiar,but for those keeping a tab on the international culinary scene,chef Vikas Khanna is someone they have heard of,appreciated and perhaps even looked up to. Soon television viewers in India will also get acquainted with Khanna,when he appears on Star Plus as the host and judge of season two of MasterChef India. Chefs Ajay Chopra and Kunal Kapoor,the resident chefs from the first season,will also join him.
Interestingly,Khanna will step into the role essayed by actor Akshay Kumar in the first season. Currently in New York,Khanna says,I am honoured,surprised,nervous and tense. Its absolutely the happiest moment of my life.
Khanna started his own catering business,Lawrence Gardens,at the age of 17,in Amritsar. He has studied at the Culinary Institute of America,Cornell University,and the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. Hes now the executive chef of the acclaimed Junoon restaurant,a multi-million dollar project in New York.
The culinary expert is well aware of the Indian edition of the reality series. I loved season one of MasterChef India. Housewives cooking for us are appreciated and acknowledged at this platform. Its superb for the nation and great for our culture, says Khanna,who is all praise for his predecessor. I think Akshay is one of the most accomplished people in India. I salute him for bringing Indian cooking to light with his star power, says Khanna,who has authored several books on Indian fare. Hes also the creator of The Holy Kitchens,a series of documentary films that explore sharing food in different faiths. The langars at the Golden Temple have influenced my life and career, admits Khanna,who has fond memories of the city,including the dhabas and his grandmothers cooking,which he calls soul food. For me,food means nothing if its not dedicated to someone. It is a shraddhanjali to the divine, says the chef,who has been recognised as one of New Yorks Rising Star Chefs 2011.
Though season one of MasterChef India drew flak for showcasing less food and more drama,Khanna has some serious plans up his sleeve. There is a very fine line between judging food and judging a contestant. I will make sure that its the food that we are judging. Every step is crucial,as this is a competition and only the best will win. I want to make sure that this spirit remains intact and so does the passion for cooking, asserts the chef.
MasterChef India 2,titled Ab Badlo India Apne Khaane ka Andaaz,will see multiple celebrity guests and the episodes will be shot at glamourous locations. Bon Appetit.