Michelin-starred celebrity chef and co-host of India’s third edition of Master Chef India is wating for a cosmic break to bring his culinary skills to Dubai.
"I have always believed in a cosmic schedule. If I have to expand beyond New York City, the Universe will make space for it to happen. I will just follow what comes my way with full passion and honour," says Khanna in an exclusive interview with Emirates 24|7.
It’s the kind of sweeping, mystical, entertaining, interesting quote that is quite representational of the food that Khanna is famous for.
The restaurants that currently Khanna’s cosmos accounts for are Flavors & Feasts, Tandoor Palace and Lawrence Gardens.
Khanna’s Wikipedia page covers the many, many titles and awards he has won, not least the Obama connection.
While co-host Sanjeev Kapoor already has his outlets in Dubai – Signature, Options and Khazana - and appeals to the more traditional type of Indian cooking, Khanna on Master Chef clearly adds zing, zip and sex appeal to a dish that perhaps needed some re-invention in its third avatar.
After all, being on People's magazine's list of the ' Sexiest Man Alive' and then lugging the moniker 'The Hottest Chef in the World' cannot possibly be bad for the channel Star's ratings.
Khanna is polite (and politically correct) to a fault: "It has been a great learning experience. I love to see the many colours of India represented by the contestants. The dreams, hopes and flavours that they bring… so much to learn from them. I’m loving every second of it," he tells us.
Master Chef has moved away from leaning on Bollywood (the first season saw actor Akshay Kumar host the show) to being a TV event that focuses more on culinary skills.
However, Vikas believes that it is not his presence that has ensured some star value, but people's dreams that kept the show top.
He says: "I think it is India's love for food that we all respond to. I don't think that the show is about the judges, it's about the contestants."
Now down to the cooking. What he looks for while selecting dish is: ""Soch’ (thought), ‘Surat’ (presentation) and ‘Swad’ (taste); the thought behind the food, the presentation of the dish and of course the flavours of the dish."
What makes the selection process difficult is the handling of the emotions of contestants.
"It's truly a very hard job. It is very difficult for us to criticise something that is cooked with so much passion and love. In the end, this is a competition and someone has to lose," he says. As for his co-judges - Sanjeev Kapoor and Kunal Kapoor - Khanna enjoys every moment with them.
He says, "We are on a laugh riot during the shoots. We are always cooking and having fun on the show. They are both very precious to me and I look to both of them for inspiration."
Watch Vikas Khanna as he guides the the budding chefs from Monday to Friday at 8pm on Star Plus
(All pictures courtesy: Vikas Khanna)