|Vikas Khanna Quick Info|
|Date of Birth||November 14, 1971|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
Vikas Khanna is an Indian chef, restaurateur, author, TV personality, and filmmaker who is arguably the most well-known global face of the Indian culinary fraternity. He had started his career in India by working for several renowned luxury hotel groups including the Taj Hotels, the Oberoi Group, the Welcom Group, and the Leela Group of Hotels. He later worked at Salaam Bombay and The Café at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. In 2009, he set up Junoon (translates to Passion), an upscale Indian restaurant in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, New York. The outlet became so popular and so acclaimed that waiting lists for reservations there could run up to 3 months. The restaurant was awarded a ‘Michelin Star’ for 6 consecutive years since 2011 by the Michelin Guide, a series of guide books that have been published by the French tire company Michelin since 1904. The Michelin Guide awards up to 3 ‘Michelin Stars’ for excellence to a select few establishments in the world. In 2019, he opened a restaurant called Kinara (translates to Shore) in Dubai. The following year, he launched another restaurant in Dubai called Ellora (named after the Ellora Caves, a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India). In May 2022, Vikas was ranked 6th among ‘The Top 10 Global Chefs’, a list compiled by The Gazette Review, a media company based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. He is the first Indian chef ever to have been named on this list.
Amritsar, Punjab, India
He splits his time between Amritsar, Punjab, India, and New York City, New York, United States.
Vikas had attended the St. Francis School in his hometown of Amritsar. After his high school graduation, he joined the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), a constituent unit of the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), a private deemed university in Manipal, Karnataka, India. He had graduated from there in 1991.
In the United States, he had furthered his education at The Culinary Institute of America, a private culinary school in Hyde Park, New York. He had also attended New York University, a private research university in New York City.
Chef, Restaurateur, Author, TV Personality, Filmmaker
- Father – Davinder Khanna (d. February 2015)
- Mother – Bindu Khanna
- Siblings – Radhika ‘Radha’ Khanna (Younger Sister) (Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur, Author) (d. February 2022), Nishant Khanna (Older Brother)
6 ft or 183 cm
76 kg or 167.5 lbs
Race / Ethnicity
- Slender frame
- Center-parted, wavy hair
- Affable smile
- Clean-shaven look
Vikas Khanna Facts
- Vikas was born with ‘club foot’ (a birth defect where one or both feet are rotated inward and downward) due to which he was unable to run until the age of 13.
- His love for food was inspired by his grandmother who was an avid cook. Her kitchen was a key component of his basic training in culinary art. He began developing recipes in his teenage years and had opened a facility called Lawrence Gardens Banquets to host weddings and family functions at the age of just 17.
- He has served as a co-judge of MasterChef India, the Indian version of the globally popular competitive cooking game show franchise MasterChef Australia, from the show’s 2nd to 6th seasons (2011–2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019–2020). He has also hosted 4 seasons of the cooking/travel TV show called Twist of Taste.
- He has been featured as a guest judge on several globally popular cooking-based TV shows such as MasterChef Australia (Season 6), Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, and The Martha Stewart Show.
- A documentary series produced by Vikas, entitled Holy Kitchens, that explores the bond between faith and food, was showcased at numerous film festivals around the world and several renowned universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford.
- In November 2011, he was featured in the list of the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ by People magazine. In 2012, he was named the ‘GQ India Man of the Year’ by GQ magazine.
- His 2013 book, titled Return to the Rivers – Recipes and Memories of the Himalayan River Valleys, was nominated in 2014 for the James Beard Foundation Award, an annual award ceremony that recognizes the work of culinary professionals in the United States.
- He runs a highly-acclaimed workshop called Vision of Palate that educates people with visual disabilities about the sense of taste, flavor, and aromas.
- Another documentary film of his, titled Kitchens of Gratitude (2016), was featured at Marche du Film, the business counterpart of the renowned Cannes Film Festival.
- In 2018, in recognition of his outstanding work in culinary art and philanthropy, he had received a Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris causa) degree from the G D Goenka University, a private university in Gurugram, Haryana, India; and a Doctorate in Literature (Honoris causa) degree from the D Y Patil University in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- The same year, he had created the first culinary museum of India at his alma mater, the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA).
- He actively supports the fight against malnutrition in India and has pledged to raise USD 1 million for this cause.
- His feature film directorial debut, titled The Last Color, was released in January 2019 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film made it to the final list of Oscar 2020 Eligibility in the category of ‘Best Film’.
- In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he started the ‘Feed India’ initiative to deliver food and supplies to those in urgent need.
- As of May 2022, he has published more than 35 books including Ayurveda: The Science of Food & Life (2005), The Spice Story of India (2006), Flavors First: An Indian Chef’s Culinary Journey (2011), Savour Mumbai: A Culinary Journey Through India’s Melting Pot (2013), Amritsar – Flavours of the Golden City (2014), UTSAV – A Culinary Epic of Indian Festivals (2017), and Ceremony of Aromas (2022).
Featured Image by Vikas Khanna / Instagram