INDIA’S BIGGEST COOKBOOK EVER
Celebrity chef, Cannes, transgenders… phrases that usually would not have made sense in a sentence, until now. Chef Vikas Khanna tells us more…
So, what exactly is an Indianorigin chef doing at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival if not acting as a fashion icon or promoting a brand?
Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna is making history after he was invited to launch his cookbook Utsav at the film fest. Not only is this launch a first-ofits kind, but the book in question is priced at a staggering `8 lakh, weighs 15 kg, comprises 1,400 pages and took 12 years in the making. The first 15 copies will be signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself in June.
“I understand why people might be surprised. You don’t see some of the best cook books as part of the syllabus in Indian colleges, then what is this guy doing at this glam event launching his book?” says Vikas, who further adds to the mystery by stating that the book is dedicated to the transgender community. “Growing up, every time I heard the sound of hijras clapping their hands down the street, I knew it was an occasion of celebration — be it a wedding, Diwali or childbirth. Even though my book is titled Utsav, to me it’s spelled backwards — ‘Vastu’ and that’s what the transgender community symbolises, a source of great blessings to us all,” says Vikas.
Even though he is all geared up for the big launch, Vikas hasn’t yet decided what he will be wearing. “I have never bothered about what I wear or whether my hair has been combed or not,” says Vikas, who is the previous titleholder of the “Sexiest Man Alive” and also the “Hottest Chef in America”. “I know people are going to be checking out what I wear, but I am the kind of person who has to be constantly instructed to open their coat button when I sit down.”
From knowing how to make just paneer-bhurji and chole bhature in his parent’s humble house in ‘90s to chronicling recipes that are used in over 63 festivals all over the country, Vikas has undoubtedly come a long way. “For this book, I even turned photographer. I couldn’t always have a professional tagging along with me. This book is a piece of art, my 21st book, one that reflects Indian heritage and culture and that’s why PM Modi has shown interest in the book,” says Vikas.
But one question still remains — why does the book weigh 15 kg? “The book is encased in a golden box and that’s what makes it so heavy,” he says.
The cookbook is priced at a
` 8 lakh and weighs 15 kg. First 15 copies will be signed
by the PM