We recently had a chance to meet him in Mumbai for lunch, here is the detailed interview we took of his.
Q1. The 3 Hungry Men: How come you decided to go to America this time Vikas?
A1. Vikas Khanna: Oh I think it was an obvious choice, we knew it. We were going to do it. I’d just started shooting Master Chef, and I could only do this while I was in America. Hum log ne decide karli ki America mein hi shoot karte hain (we had decided that we were going to shoot in America itself). It traces back his journey as a chef, as a person. He grew up in the U.S., he lived there for almost twenty years.
Q2. T3HM: What is the itinerary of the coming series? Can you please elaborate a little on the kind of things we will get to see on the show?
A2. Vikas Khanna: Iska schedule bohot simple hein (The schedule is very simple) I think the most interesting part of this journey is that, we will trace the iconic American cities- America’s most iconic restaurants which have given the world some amazing dishes, we will be meeting some amazing iconic chefs. Some destinations where people wait all their lives to get into- New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC. There will be non-stop travel in all the episodes. You will also see the beauty in the innocence of trying things for the first time.
There is a beautiful place on Broadway, Manhattan, called Ellen Stardust. The waiters, as they’re serving a table, are all singing, it is almost like witnessing a singing audition! One of my old managers, Scott manages the place there. He says that he is going to serve me his favourite dish if I sing. So you’ll see me do unusual things, but it is because I was very comfortable doing them. I think it is beautiful- just strolling those streets and re-living your old experiences and sometimes discovering new things.
Q3. T3HM: How according to you was the response of the previous seasons?
A3. Vikas Khanna: Mere paas toh number nahi aaya, aaj tak bhi. Na kahi puche hai (I don’t have the figures to the day, nor have I asked anyone about it) My job is just to do it to the best of my ability. I only do two shows- Twist of Taste and Master Chef. I don’t want to do a third show. I am dedicated to these two shows, these are my babies! Offers toh roz aate hain. Aur ek show toh karta hu hindi mein aur ek show karta hu English. Naa meri hindi teek hai, naa english meri teek hai (I get offers everyday- I do one show in Hindi and one in English, but neither my Hindi nor my English is perfect) Actually I’m happy about this.
Q4. T3HM: What is your take on the food critics of the day?
A4. Vikas Khanna: Food critics are very important. Food critics are very crucial. Agar aapko ek cheez banna hai (if you want to stand out as someone)- I think, food critics work as amplifiers, if you’re doing something in your own space, in your kitchen, own dining room- within your own walls. The thing is, for your voice to be heard, food critics are extremely important.
I still remember, it was March the 29th -how can I forget that, ever! March the 29th, exactly at 1:20, Sam Seftina tweeted the review of Junoon, this was in 2011. The phone started ringing after a minute the tweet was published. It was very important because it was like a report card in so many ways.
Q5. T3HM: You recently opened up Junoon in Dubai. How’s it going? How’s the response there?
A5. Vikas Khanna: It is a themed restaurant. It is a beautiful place in a beautiful city. I think it is just one step away from India. I love it! I love Junoon in New York. You know, it’s always your favourite, and your heart flutters when you just say the name. It is amazing, we’ve got good response. It already has a good following in the U.S., transcends in the Middle-East or anywhere else for that matter.
Q6. T3HM: What are your future plans? What do you plan on doing next?
A6. Vikas Khanna: Maine toh apni zindagi mein kal ka plan kiya nahi ab tak (I have never once in life, made plans for the future) I just feel that things will happen to you and you should be able to choose, and when things don’t happen to you, you create opportunities for yourself.Ye meri sense aapne aap banayi hui hai. Kafi logon ko samajh nahi aati (I have drawn sense out of this for myself, and not many people understand it). Once you start doing something right, you start getting too many opportunities and then, you should be able to choose. Like I choose to stand by two shows I do, and as long as I’m able to do it, to the best of my ability, manage my time and schedule, I will stay dedicated and continue to do it.
T3HM: Alright, Thank You.