Sonam Kapoor (3rd from r) with Indian Ambassador to France Mohan Kumar and Rajamannar, head of global marketing, MasterCard, and four-time Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna (2nd from r) at the launch of his cookbook “UTSAV” at the Cannes Film Festival, May 17. (Press Trust of India)
New York-based award-winning master chef of Junoon Restaurant, Vikas Khanna, launched his latest culinary epic, “UTSAV,” at the India Pavilion of the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival, the world’s epicenter for ground-breaking film, fashion and celebrity. A PTI report.
UTSAV represents Khanna’s 12-year cooking journey of more than 300 recipes compiled from Indian festivals and captured in a 1200-page, 33-pound book, which was unveiled by His Excellency Dr. Mohan Kumar, India’s Ambassador to France, Mr. Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard’s global CMO, Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor and the author, documentary filmmaker and philanthropist, Vikas Khanna, on the French Riviera.
“This is the first time in the history of Cannes that a cookbook has been launched at this festival … and that, too, by an Indian chef. This is a matter of great Indian pride,” said Khanna. “In the book, I have explored the India that we all love but have, somehow, forgotten over the years; the purpose is to expose the magnificent heritage and culture of my country, as I tell India’s story through the lens of several important religious and cultural festivals. UTSAV is my tribute to India, as a son of my Motherland.”
Khanna traveled extensively across India to write this book, capturing along the way sacred ingredients and recipes used in more than 100 lesser-known and renowned festivals including: Chapchar Kut Festival in Mizoram, Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, The Goa Shigmotsav, Losar in Ladakh, Pongal or Onam in South India, as well as Diwali, Eid, Teej and Durga Puja, to name a few.
Leading up to Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on November 11, 2016, Khanna will personally hand-deliver 12 copies of UTSAV, packaged in gold-foiled boxes that represent India’s varied art and culture, to world leaders across the globe. The first-time, limited edition of the book will contain hand-written notes from these global luminaries and be auctioned off to benefit the Smile Foundation’s “Nutrition for Education” campaign, for which Khanna is a goodwill ambassador.
In addition to his philanthropic personality, Khanna is also known for his boyish good looks. He was named in “India’s Sexiest Men Alive” list in People Magazine and coined “Man of the Year” by GQ India. His documentary series, “Holy Kitchens,” takes an in-depth look at the food-sharing traditions of the major religions of the world. He is the master chef at Junoon Restaurant in NYC, and he also hosts the Indian program “MasterChef,” which has the highest viewership of any cooking show in the world. His other books include: “Flavors First” and “Return to the Rivers,” which contains a foreword by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
Interested readers can get more information about Vikas Khanna at www.vkhanna.com.