you don't know him, don't worry you will soon. Right here Right now !
He is the HOT
looking chef from New York who is already making waves in
the Industry. His home was Amritsar in India. He came to this country
just 5 years ago and has made quite a gathering of friends and
His dedicated team along with his passion for cooking,
creating, sharing and most importantly giving back to the community has gained
him admiration by his peers and a huge fan base.
His brand new NYC restaurant
"JUNOON" is fast becoming
a foodie favorite. He presents a menu that reflects the diversity of
India and yet brings a classy twist to some traditional favorites.
and his team treats every spice with respect and adheres to the
traditions of Indian cooking. They blend their spices daily. Check out
this video tour inside Junoon’s
Spice Room led by Vikas himself.
He loves to keep fit and runs
every morning. When I spoke to him he said that he want to show the
world that Indian food is healthy and not fattening ! :)
with his busy schedule he finds the time
to give back to the community. SAKIV is a non-profit foundation founded
by Vikas. SAKIV sponsors eye camps: which include educational lectures
by some of the most accomplished eye doctors, free vision tests, and
More about Vikas
all about him. Here are the categories.
Tell us how your interest in cooking started and at what age?
My interest in cooking began at the age of 6 when I was in the kitchen learning everything that my grandmother cooked right from making tadkas, rotis and creating my own version of every recipe.
Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
Chef Imtiaz Qureshi from Maurya Sheraton in 1994 gave me a new insight into Indian cuisine and its global potential. Now, working in New York with chefs from around the world has broadened my cooking techniques and usage of ingredients.
What do you enjoy most about being recognized as gifted Indian culinary artist?
Expressing myself with food, representing our vast culture and introducing people to it.
What has been your greatest success?
Using food as a central force for bringing people together from all around the world in an effort to raise awareness and funds for many global issues.
What was - if ever your biggest setback?
My eye accident which made me even more aware of the existence of aromas and taste of food, which helped me create “Vision of Palate – classes educating visually impaired people about the flavors of food”
What have you done right that has made your career such a success and brought you recognition, media attention, and awards?
Its very important to find your passion and then follow it with your heart, creativity, and persistence.
What are the tools of the trade you use most?
Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Cook's Knife
My favorite WÜSHTOF knife that
was awarded to me by James Beard Foundation.
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Why?
I still love using traditional stone mortar and pestle. It really brings out the deeper flavors of blends.
What are some of the skills that help all cooks/chefs succeed?
I always say this in my cooking classes that 3 things I learnt from Chef Alain Ducasse for chefs to succeed are Timing, Temperature and Passion.
Do you taste your recipe before you serve it?
I have a test kitchen in which we generally have classes for free tasting before I use the recipes in restaurants or books.
Which cuisine do you enjoy the most?
I have the privilege of being in New York and having the opportunity to enjoy almost every cuisine, I love them all.
Which Indian festival inspires you to cook up a storm? And why?
Eid. They are celebrated during the time of the year when there is so much flavor and abundance in the local produce.
If there was one tip that you would like to share with our audience - what is your tip for home cooks?
Never let the fear of creation and mistakes stop you. Most of the popular dishes were created by mistakes.
What are three of your all time favorite dishes / recipes?
Missi Roti (Chickpea flour flat bread), Amritsari Maachi (Batter-fried spicy fish), and Masala Idlis.
Please submit one
of your favorite and easy recipe for our audience. Top
- “The Spice Story of
Cookbook” Serves 6
4 skinless salmon fillets (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total) each about 1 inch thick, cut into cubes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons non-fat yogurt
1tablespoon garam masala
Salt to taste
4 fresh edible orchids for garnish
Season the fish with salt and lemon juice. Mix oil, cumin seeds, flour, garlic, ginger, yogurt, garam masala and salt .
Marinate the fish with the mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven at 350˚. Cook uncovered in the oven, until fish flakes in the oven, about 25 minutes.
Serve it with tamarind chutney, garnished with fresh orchids.
from the Expert
Is there anything
else you can tell us about yourself, your career, or the profession that
would be interesting or helpful to others aspiring to enter and succeed
as a chef?
outside the kitchen walls sometimes to understand the power of food”.
A quotation from my workshops at The Culinary Institute of America.
What advice can you
give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in
the culinary arts?
It a timeless
profession and a very neutral force, just like music. Extremely time and
energy demanding, but divine at every level.
What advice can you
give to busy working moms as far as cooking a nutritious meal is
Use good quality
ingredients to begin with. Add vegetables in every meal. Steamed
vegetables are quick and easy to make and very nutritious.
Do you encourage
cooking for all – boys and girls and at what age should they get
started? And why?
Yes, everyone should
be able to cook in any capacity. I think age is a perception, sometimes
it helps to let a child be a kitchen helper under the supervision of
favorite food quote is ……..
empty belly is the best cook. ~ Estonian Proverb