THE CULINARY MUSEUM OF SECOND CHANCES
CHEF VIKAS KHANNA TAKES YOU ON A PRIVATE TOUR OF HIS NEW MUSEUM IN MANIPAL, THROUGH WHICH HE CELEBRATES INDIAN TRADITIONS AND HIS OWN OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE
A fter a beautiful drive from Mangalore to Manipal, chef Vikas Khanna, in a cream kurta pyjama, is exhausted because of his tiring schedule. As I try directing the driver towards the museum that we’ve come to explore, Vikas interrupts, and directs him to The Udupi Shri Krishna Matha, about a 20-minute drive from Manipal. I wonder why, at 5am, we are doing a detour. Vikas senses my curiosity, and smiles, “I find solace here.”
Starting the day on a spiritual note, Vikas basks in the purity and sense of peace that Sri Krishna Matha offers. He mentions, “People said I had found my Golden Temple here.”
Going down the memory lane of his college days, Khanna insists we have breakfast at the Mitra Samaj eatery within the Matha complex. “It is really the best breakfast you can have!” he says, and we indulge in some idli with sambar and kesari halwa. He was clearly right about the delicious meal!
We feel sluggish after the meal, but as exhausted as he may be, Khanna’s eyes light up as our Innova stops in front of the Museum of Culinary Arts. He beckons me to listen to his first anecdote and I’m just as excited as he is when he gets out of the car and, all energised, and ready to take us for an exclu- sive tour to show off the fruit of his five years of dedication to put together this culinary wonder.
I follow Khanna as we walk into the museum that is designed to look like a pot from the Harappa Civilisation era. I gape when he informs me that the museum has 1,600 culinary items, offering insights into the way grains were stored, food was cooked, and the metals that were used to make the vessels in India.
Khanna shows me a 32-piece metallic picnic set that he got from
“PEOPLE SAY ‘I HAVE AN ANTIQUE FRENCH POT’. BUT IN INDIA, WE THINK OF UTENSILS AS MERE ‘ BARTANS’!”