Michelin-starred chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna is among Gazette Review’s “10 Best Chefs in the World”, for becoming an international icon by opening restaurants and growing his brand. “These chefs spend their entire lives opening restaurants and building their brands,” the post said. “As a result, these chefs have become international icons and are respected even by those with an occasional interest in food.” The list includes celebrity chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck, among others.
Khanna took to her social media handles to acknowledge the honor. “I’m honored to be on the list of the top 10 chefs in the world,” he wrote. “Humbled to be in the company of some of my mentors.”
One of India’s first chefs to receive international acclaim, Khanna opened his first restaurant, Junoon, in New York in 2010, which earned his first Michelin star the following year and went on to earn many more. He has hosted events for former President Barack Obama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Narendra Modi and many other world leaders and celebrities. He is the goodwill ambassador of the Smile Foundation and supports the cause of the fight against malnutrition in India.
More recently, when India suffered a strict lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the New York-based chef took it upon himself to help the needy and poor in India through his Feed India initiative which has been a success.
In 2015, he became the first chef to launch his book “Utsav: A Culinary Epic of Indian Festivals” in Cannes. He also directed a documentary called “Kitchens of Gratitude” at the famous film festival and produced a documentary series “Holy Kitchens”, which explores the connection between faith and food. In his latest book titled “Barkat”, he shares his personal journey from growing up in Amritsar to becoming one of the world’s most beloved Indian chefs.
In 2020, Khanna made his directorial debut “The Last Color”. Set in the ancient Indian city of Varanasi, the film follows the life of a 70-year-old widow, Noor, played by actress Neena Gupta, and her special bond with Chhoti (Aqsa Siddiqui), a 9-year-old homeless girl. who yearns to go to school and make ends meet by performing stunts like the tightrope walker and selling flowers. Last year he made ‘Barefoot Empress’, about a 96-year-old woman in a village in Kerala, who was chasing her dream of going to school.