Vikram Vij

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Vikram Vij
Born December 1964 (age 52)
Amritsar, Punjab, India
Occupation Restaurateur, chef, cookbook author
Known for Vij's and Rangoli, Vancouver and My Shanti South Surrey
Spouse(s) Meeru Dhalwala

Vikram Vij (born 1964)[1] is an Indian-born Canadian chef, cookbook author, and television personality. He is co-owner, with his wife Meeru Dhalwala, of the Indian cuisine restaurants Vij's Restaurant and Rangoli Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia.[2][3][4] He also owns My Shanti, a restaurant in South Surrey BC. In 2014, Vij was announced as a new "dragon" investor on the Canadian reality show Dragons' Den for its ninth season and departed at the end of the season.[5]

Vikram Vij grew up in India in Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai.[6] In 1983, he left India to study Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria.[7][8] While there he received his chef's training.[9] Vij later became a certified sommelier.[10]

Career[edit]

After working in Salzburg and Vienna for a few years, Vij moved to Canada in 1989, when he joined the Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada. From 1992 until 1994, Vij worked at Bishop's restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, for prominent Canadian chef John Bishop.[11][12]

Eventually in 1994, at the age of 30 he opened a fine-dining restaurant, Vij's, in Vancouver, soon to be joined in business by his wife Meeru Dhalwala.[1][7] In the early days his parents would make the curry at their home and deliver it by bus to the restaurant.[6][13] By 2003, Mark Bittman of The New York Times was praising Vij's Restaurant as "easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world".[14] [15]

A decade later in 2004, Vij and Dhalwala opened a second restaurant and market, the casual-style Rangoli.[1][7][16] Rangoli sells their line of pre-packaged gourmet curries named "Vij's Inspired Indian Cuisine".[17] In 2011, Vij and Dhalwala completed and opened a food processing facility to better meet retailer interest in the product line.[16][18] The product line is sold in grocery stores across Canada.[18] Foods produced at the facility are also sold at food service sites at BC Place, Whistler Mountain, Loblaws City Markets and more.

Vij and Dhalwala have collaborated on two cookbooks,[10][19] with Dhalwala writing the text.[20][21] They published Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine in 2006,[20] which won several awards in 2007, including Cuisine Canada's Gold Award for Best Cookbook and Cordon d'Or Gold Ribbon International Cookbook Award.[8][22] In 2010, the pair published Vij's at Home: Relax Honey,[21] which placed second in the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.[23] Vij has been an ongoing contributor to The Globe and Mail since November 28, 2007.[24]

In 2012, Vij's Railway Express was launched onto the streets of Vancouver.[25] It is a mobile food truck serving up top quality Indian curries to people in downtown Vancouver for weekday lunch and at private catering events.[26]

Vij opened his first solo restaurant, My Shanti, based in South Surrey, in 2014.[27] My Shanti means "my peace" and the menu is based on Vij's culinary travels, and includes flavours, ingredients and influences from all over the world.[28] My Shanti won Vancouver Magazine's Best Indian Restaurant in 2016.

Culinary philosophy[edit]

Vij and Dhalwala's culinary philosophy has been described as "keeping spices and cooking techniques Indian, while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available."[17] Vij has asserted that their cuisine should not be labeled fusion cuisine as the techniques and spices used are traditional to India. Vij and Dhalwala advocate sustainability in their kitchen practices and ingredient selection.[10] Two of their restaurants are known to have an all female kitchen staff.[3][13]

Personal life[edit]

Vij married Dhalwala on December 24, 1994.[29] Dhalwala was born in India but grew up in Washington, D.C.[30] Vij and Dhalwala were introduced by their mothers who were old friends.[31] They have two daughters, and live in Vancouver, British Columbia.[8] Vij and Dhalwala are now divorced.[32]

Notable career milestones[edit]

Vij's Restaurant was one of the twenty featured restaurants at the James Beard Annual Gala Awards 1998, in New York City, and was invited to prepare dinner at the James Beard House.[12][33] In 2001, Vij was invited to be a member of the prestigious gastronomic society Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.[12] In April 2012, Vij participated in the second annual Varli Food Festival at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, which was hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi and Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor. More than 2,000 attended the festival to sample cuisine from the 60 high-profile Indian chefs including Vij.[34]

Vij and Dhalwala's restaurants have received numerous local awards including those from Vancouver Magazine's restaurant awards.[10][12] In 1999, Vij's Restaurant was listed in the top five Vancouver restaurants in Gourmet magazine's annual restaurant awards, as well as receiving Chef of the Year from Vancouver Magazine in 2015.[12] Vij himself received an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific region in hospitality and tourism in 2011.[16]

Vij's Restaurant has been featured in a variety of North American television broadcasts and publications, including Food Network Canada, CNN, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Sunset magazine, and Art Culinaire.[12] Omni Television made a documentary titled A Day In The Life of… Vij's, giving an intimate portrait of Vij and Dhalwala, and a behind the scene look at Vij's Restaurant.[35] Vij was featured on At the Table With, a Food Network Canada series, in 2008.[36][37] The same year Vij's Rangoli was a subject of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.[38][39] Vij made his famous lamb popsicles for Giada De Laurentiis when she visited Vij's Restaurant on her Food Network series Giada's Weekend Getaways.[40] Vij was a guest judge on Top Chef Canada in 2011, and was invited back for the 2012 season.[17] He was also the guest of honour in a 2013 Top Chef Canada episode dedicated to Indian cuisine.[41] That episode also featured the Vij's At Home packaged foods, which were sampled by the contestants. He was also a judge on the first ever Chopped Canada show, which premiered on Food Network Canada in January 2014 and he appeared weekly on CBC's Recipe to Riches, which began in February 2014.[42]

In June 2011, the BC Food Processors Association honoured Vij with the Rising Star Award.[43] Vij's Railway Express, based on the chef's travels by rail throughout India, was awarded the inaugural People's Choice Award from Air Canada's enRoute Magazine, as Canada's Best New Restaurant in 2013.[44]

In March 2013, Vij hosted the world's first ever live-streamed cook-along, Cook Live With Vikram Vij.As part of Vij's goal, to make Indian cuisine accessible to all, people were encouraged to join him live online and cook a family meal at the same time, taking instruction from an award-winning chef. They were able to Tweet questions and photos as the curry was being prepared.[45]

My Shanti was listed as number one in the Globe and Mail's Top 10 New Vancouver Restaurants of 2014[46] and one of the Vancouver Sun's Best New Restaurants for 2014.[47] My Shanti also won Vancouver Magazine's Best Indian Restaurant in 2016.

Within weeks of opening, My Shanti received a nomination from Air Canada's enRoute Magazine as one of Canada's Best New Restaurants.[48] It is the second year in a row a Vij's establishment has been nominated, having won the People's Choice award in 2013 with Vij's Railway Express.[44]

In October 2014, Vij made his debut as a Dragon on CBC's Dragons' Den and departed at the end of the season. He took his place in the Den alongside entrepreneurs Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson, David Chilton and Michael Wekerle.[49]

In June 2015, Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala were both awarded honorary Doctorates of Law by Simon Fraser University and in May 2016 they were honoured to receive honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of British Columbia.[50]

Advocacy and industry contribution[edit]

Vij is a passionate supporter of the sustainable food industry. He has championed many causes such as the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Program.[17] He has been involved with Farm Folk City Folk and was past president and active member of The Chef's Table Society of British Columbia. He is also part of the Green Table Society[17] and is involved in UBC Farm fundraisers. Vij and Dhalwala's dedication to the work done at UBC resulted in the funding and opening of Vij's Kitchen, a state-of-the-art culinary learning facility at the University of British Columbia, dedicated to teaching the chefs and nutritionists of the future about ethnic food and cuisine.[51] In 2010, Vij and fellow British Columbian chef, Robert Clark, spearheaded the 2nd Canadian Chefs' Congress on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with the theme of "Oceans for Tomorrow".[8]

Vij is active in the Vancouver, Indo-Canadian arts and cultural community. He was a special guest and host at the 2011 Indian Summer Festival.[18][52] The festival was a celebration of the Indian community's cultural contributions, the 125th anniversary of Vancouver, and the federal government's declaration of 2011 as "The Year of India in Canada".[18][52][53] At the event he partnered with percussionist Ashwin Sood, blending the sounds and flavours of India.[52] In 2012, Vij again was featured in the festival, this time leading a "culinary tour of India" at the opening gala.[54] In addition, Vij supports the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society. He hosted the organization's "Storyteller's Gala", held at the Museum of Vancouver in 2010.[55] Vij has twice led small groups on educational food trips to India, which involved visiting homes of local cooks and chefs. He led the tour in northern India the first year, southern India the second.[52]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Vikram Vij of Vij's - Biography Vancouver, BC starchefs, June 2011.
  2. ^ "The Insider's Guide: Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala take you through Vancouver", National Post, June 12, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "The Cheat: The Greens Party", New York Times, November 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "Bug Appetit! Insects as Ingredients", Nightline, July 23, 2008.
  5. ^ Bitti, Mary Teresa (March 14, 2014). "Dragons' Den's Bruce Croxon on his favourite deals, why he's leaving the Den and what's next". business.financialpost.com. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Vancouver chef reinvents Indian food", Toronto Star, September 3, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c "Cooking Indian? Ask Chef Vikram Vij". The Globe and Mail. Jun 25, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Vikram Vij". D & M Publishers. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ Rita DeMontis ,Toronto Sun. "Vij's vision | Eat | Life". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  10. ^ a b c d Scott, C.G. (July 2010). "The Authentic Vikram Vij". Darpan Magazine. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ "A Conversation with Chef Vikram Vij". enRoute. Air Canada enRoute. Oct 31, 2008. Retrieved Jul 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Scharien, Jessica. "Active Restaurateur: Vikram Vij". British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Flavours of Vij's excellent adventure"[permanent dead link], Vancouver Sun, September 20, 2006.
  14. ^ Bittman, Mark (Aug 8, 2003). "JOURNEYS; 36 Hours - Vancouver, British Columbia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  15. ^ Suen, Renée (Mar 11, 2011). "Q&A with Vikram Vij: the celebrated Vancouver chef on his successes and why he won't open a restaurant in Toronto". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved Jul 26, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "Pacific Region Entrepreneur of the Year". Financial Post. Feb 6, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Demontis, Rita (Mar 27, 2012). "Vij's Vision". Toronto Sun. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Celebrated chef gets cooking in Surrey". The Now, Surrey Now. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Nine Candid Minutes With Star Chef & Restaurateur Vikram Vij", Scout Magazine, April 6, 2011.
  20. ^ a b Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2006). Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-1-55365-184-0. 
  21. ^ a b Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2010). Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey. Vancouver, Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-1-55365-572-5. 
  22. ^ "Indian Cuisine at the Top of the List". D & M Publishers Inc. Nov 5, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Vij's At Home Wins Silver at Gourmand World Cookbook Awards". D & M Publishers Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  24. ^ Vij, Vikram (Oct 28, 2007). "Vikram Vij: You say bastardization, I say evolution". Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ Sheridan, Mary. "Vancouver Food Trucks: Vij's Railway Express". www.VancityBuzz.com. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  26. ^ Vikram, Vij. "Vijs Railway Express". www.vijsrailwayexpress.com. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "OmniTV". June 24, 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  28. ^ "Vikram Vij To Open Surrey Restaurant, My Shanti". Vancity Buzz. June 15, 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2006). "Preface". Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55365-184-0. 
  30. ^ "Meeru Dhalwala". D & M Publishers. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2006). "Preface". Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-55365-184-0. 
  32. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/restaurant-reviews/vijs-patio-is-casual-yet-excellent-if-only-its-namesake-was-around-too/article31089978/
  33. ^ Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2006). Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. p. book back coverlet: Vikram Vij. ISBN 978-1-55365-184-0. 
  34. ^ Shivani, Vora (Apr 10, 2012). "At the Varli Food Festival, Andhra Shrimp and Halwa Cupcakes". New York Times Global Edition. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  35. ^ "A Day In The Life Of... Vij's". OMNI (documentary). Rogers Communications. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  36. ^ "At the Table With…Vikram Vij". FoodNetwork.ca (television series). Shaw Media Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  37. ^ "At the Table with…Vikram Vij". IMDb (data base). Oct 21, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  38. ^ Hinkel, Joanne (Jan 23, 2008). "No Reservations: Bourdain's Vancouver is a Cool City". Film.com. MTV Networks. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Vancouver". Travel Channel (television series). Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Giada's Weekend Getaways:Vancouver". FoodNetwork.com (television series). Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Top Chef Canada to Feature Vikram Vij & Indian Cuisine". Curve Communications. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  42. ^ Jermyn, Diane (March 21, 2014). "Vikram Vij: 'I have to learn to calm down if something isn't perfect'". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  43. ^ "Competitor Awarded BC Food Processors Association Rising Star Award". New Ventures BC. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  44. ^ a b "The People's Choice Awards". Enroute Air Canada. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  45. ^ "Cook Live with Vikram Vij". Food Junkie Chronicles.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  46. ^ Gill, Alexandra (Dec 12, 2014). "Top 10 new Vancouver restaurants of 2014". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  47. ^ Stainsby, Mia (January 9, 2015). "Weekend extra: Surrey's My Shanti sparkles among new restaurants for 2014". Vancovuer Sun. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  48. ^ Eat and Vote http://eatandvote.com/. Retrieved 30 January 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  49. ^ Lederman, Marsha (Oct 14, 2014). "Out of the kitchen and into the Dragons' Den for Vikram Vij". The Glove and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  50. ^ [1]
  51. ^ "Vikram Vij launches 'Vij's Kitchen' at University of British Columbia". Restaurant Central. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  52. ^ a b c d Stainsby, Mia (Jul 5, 2011). "Vikram Vij ready to share the flavours of India at Indian Summer festival". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  53. ^ Murray, Laura. "Vikram Vij & Indian Summer Festival featured on Global BC - Weekend Morning News". Vimeo. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  54. ^ Tales from a Bar Stool (Jul 6, 2012). "Indian Summer Celebrations". The Province. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Vibc Society's Fundraising Gala To Be Hosted By Indian Cuisine Chef Vikram Vij". Asian Journal. Sep 23, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]