Chef Vikas Khanna of Junoon - Biography

New York, NY

July 2011

2011 New York Rising Star Chef Vikas Khanna was raised in Amritsar, India, where he grew up amidst a succession of large family feasts, seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab, and, of course, his grandmother’s cooking. In fact, it was at his grandmother’s side that Khanna began his lifelong apprenticeship to learn the intricacies of Indian cuisine—and the true depth of the experience of food in daily life.

It wasn’t a major leap for Khanna from his grandmother’s side to his own catering business, Lawrence Gardens, which he started at a mere 17 years old. And after graduating from the Welcomegroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Khanna pursued further study under many renowned chefs in India and beyond. Khanna continued his training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. And, eventually landing in the United States, he studied at Cornell, New York University, and the Culinary Institute of America.

Khanna’s extensive (multi-continent, multi-institutional) training and deep-seated passion for the power of cuisine coalesce at New York City’s Junoon, where Khanna prepares soulful, elegant Indian cuisine that takes the experience of dining to another level of appreciation. Khanna also acts as consulting chef at the Rubin Museum of Art, and he’s as the founder of Cooking for Life and SAKIV, organizations which host gastronomic events around the word in support of various relief efforts and awareness issues. With several cookbooks under his belt, most recently Flavors First, Khanna is also the creator of “Holy Kitchens,” a series of documentary films on the crossroads of religion, cuisine, and culture. The films have been shown at Oxford University, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia, as well as at various film festivals. In 2011, Khanna was selected to host the highly successful TV series "Master Chef India."