It is a tough act to get me out of my personal space on a weekend. But when the subjects are ‘Kings of Kitchen’ and sources of inspiration, it is certainly worth the trouble. And so, on a weekend, 4 boys met up whose lives are ruled by the “F-word” – FOOD.
My colleague and I were delighted to welcome master chefs Ranveer Brar and Michelin-starred Vikas Khanna. Both, tall, dark and handsome with brooding looks. Do not be fooled by that tough, stern exterior; for lurking behind those piercing eyes, bubbles some serious wit and Punjabi humour. Greeting everybody with a Cheshire cat grin was Chef Ranveer Brar, looking very dapper in his ochre trousers and jacket.
Vikas walked in clutching his Macbook, almost as if we would confiscate it. He confessed his commitments on both sides of the Atlantic. A stickler for deadlines, Vikas is known to spend a lot of time on his laptop so that he can stay connected with his team, publishers and others that matter.
Of his myriad projects, Vikas is working on 2 books. One, he claims to be the costliest book ever that encapsulates 12 years of his work. And the other is a book that is dedicated to his inspiration, His Holiness The Dalai Lama. As the world leader of peace turns 80, Vikas has posed 80 questions to The Dalai Lama that his fans routed through the chef. Vikas has met His Holiness 16 times.
Chef Vikas Khanna is extremely popular on social media. Blame it on his meteoric rise, being labelled the ‘sexiest man’ or the ‘hottest chef’ or the fact that at 43, he still retains his boyish charms and can be called a ‘beeba munda’ in Punjabi. Women swoon at the mere mention of Vikas Khanna. His colleague, Chef Ranveer Brar was quick to point out that the
number of women on Twitter with Vikas as their display picture is perhaps more than that of Brad Pitt. And their staunch following can only be believed when you try it. Write out a tweet @TheVikasKhanna and watch it go viral! While Ranveer took jabs, Vikas only kept smiling coyly! Here are some quick takes:
Chef Ranveer Brar started a Franco-Asian restaurant in Boston called ‘Banq’. A clever name, if you ask me! Ranveer’s only regret is that he could not cook for his grandmother. As a boy, Ranveer used to ask his sister to hold a make-believe microphone as he would practice ‘hosting’ his TV show watching Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s TV shows.
Vikas Khanna was once asked to smile several times by a 70-year-old woman who thought his smile was similar to her deceased son’s. She lost her son in a car crash. Vikas, thereafter, promised to always smile. If possible, Vikas would love to open up a Tibetan food stall in Dubai. His obvious inspiration comes the land and people that gave him refuge when he lost all his restaurants. Vikas always wanted to open a restaurant in Paris but the process is rather back-breaking. Now with his NY restaurant Junoon opening a branch in Dubai, he seems to have happily settled for ‘marhaba’ than ‘merci’!
Vikas and Ranveer are happy that a chef is now readily accepted as a profession. Otherwise, people only cared to ask for the chef on 2 occasions – either to complain of excessive salt or to ask where the bathroom is!