Born in India in 1964 and raised in New Delhi and Bombay for the next 20 years, Chef Vikram Vij is a transplanted native son. He began cooking when he was only 10 years old (for his mother and friends at tea), but Chef Vij took his chops pro when he studied Hotel Management in Austria. After working in Salzburg and Vienna for a few years, Vij made the trans-hemispheric move to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. In 1994, the then 30-year-old chef opened his namesake fine-dining restaurant, Vij’s, in Vancouver, and was soon joined by his wife, Meeru Dhalwala.
With the success of Vij’s, chef and wife felt confident enough to open their second outpost, the more informal, home-style, Rangoli, in 2004. A certified sommelier, Chef Vij has a very strong presence in the front of house at both establishments. And his forthcoming line of gourmet packaged curries has recently moved to an external facility in Surrey, British Columbia.
When he’s not overseeing these operations or writing award winning cookbooks (Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey), Vij is making bold wine choices (he likes to find culinary matches for big flavor, difficult-to-pair reds) and maintains active membership in the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia, which is dedicated to supporting innovative and sustainable food programs involving chefs, producers, and other local industry groups.
In addition to working with Meeru on menu planning for both restaurants, Vikram runs the “front of the house” at both Vij’s and Rangoli. Vikram’s recent big focus has been to set up a production facility in Surrey, BC to prepare Vij’s packaged gourmet curries, which are cooked by hand and are original popular recipes from Vij’s. Chef Vij’s curries will be available throughout Canada by winter 2011.