One of the highest honors in the culinary world, a Michelin star is given only to those restaurants and chefs who have proven themselves to be truly exceptional in their field. The Michelin Guide is widely considered to be the gold standard among restaurant guides worldwide. The best restaurants are given stars based on the overall quality of the dining experience, including the food, the service, the ambiance, and the presentation. In most areas, three-star restaurants are the best you can get, but even two- and one-star establishments are exceptional.
First Indian Chef to be awarded a Michelin Star
Junoon, the New York City restaurant owned by Chef Vikas Khanna, was awarded a Michelin star. Indian-born chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, filmmaker, and humanitarian Vikas Khanna is one of the few Indian chefs in the world to have earned a Michelin star for his exceptional cuisine.
Background and Journey to Success
He was born on November 14 – 1971, and currently serves as a judge on MasterChef India. He maintains an office in the Big Apple. The lessons he learned in his Biji’s (grandmother) kitchen, where she excelled as a cook, became an integral part of his upbringing. When he was only 17, he opened Lawrence Gardens Banquets to host weddings and family functions, and he had already started coming up with original recipes.
In addition, Vikas Khanna was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the fields of culinary art, philanthropy, and humanitarianism, as well as his global reach in the capacity of a chef. While in India, Khanna worked for Taj Hotels, Oberoi Group, Welcome Group, and Leela Group of Hotels.
Prior to his tenure at Junoon, Khanna had garnered professional experience at esteemed culinary establishments such as Salaam Bombay and The Café at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. In its inaugural year, Junoon garnered a favorable review from esteemed critic Sam Sifton in The New York Times. Additionally, the Michelin Guide has bestowed upon Junoon the coveted honor of a Michelin star for six consecutive years, beginning in 2011.
He has collaborated with top chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Bobby Flay, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
In 2019, he opened a restaurant called Kinara in Dubai and in 2020, he opened a restaurant called Ellora in Dubai.
From 2011, Khanna hosted six seasons of MasterChef India, a series based on the original British version.
Khanna was invited as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia in Season 6.
He has hosted four seasons of the show Twist of Taste on Fox Life.
On Gordon Ramsay’s TV show Kitchen Nightmares, Khanna appeared as a Consultant Chef to assist a failing Indian restaurant named Purnima.
Khanna appeared as a judge and an Indian-cuisine specialist on the two-part season finale of Hell’s Kitchen.
He has appeared on Throwdown! with Bobby Flay as a judge and as a guest chef on The Martha Stewart
His documentary Kitchens of Gratitude was featured at Marche du Film at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
Khanna’s new documentary series, Holy Kitchens, explores the fascinating connection between faith and food. The series has had the amazing opportunity to be showcased at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford, as well as various film festivals.
Khanna has initiated the establishment of the “South Asian Kid’s Infinite Vision” (SAKIV) foundation, which aims to address pressing global concerns such as Tsunami Relief, Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast, and Haiti. The foundation has orchestrated numerous global events in partnership with philanthropic organizations, including Save the Children. These events have taken place in various locations, ranging from the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the majestic Taj Mahal in India.
Indian cuisine is a timeless and globally renowned culinary phenomenon, and Chef Vikas Khanna has elevated it to new heights. His inspiring story is a great reminder that with hard work and belief, anything is possible. Modern Indian cooking offers an unforgettable experience with its delicious and flavorful recipes.
– Chef Dodda Joseph, CAIIHM – Hyderabad