Michelin Star & his Endeavor: Chef Vikas Khanna feeds millions during the lockdown in India.

vikas khanna Feed India

He’s been chef for Obamas, hosted shows in TV partnering Gordon Ramsay, penned 25 books on culinary & made sumptuous meals which costed each around $40,000.

However for past 2 months, Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna, shifted his focus on to India’s starving, by providing meals to millions of deprived Indians who suffered enormously during coronavirus lockdown. 

As an Indian, he landed New York aspiring to be a chef 2 decades ago, Vikas Khanna first worked as dishwasher & delivery man. When some sections of India went into a crisis recent month, with millions without work folks frantic for food, he viewed news from the apartment at Manhattan & grew dejected. “We have entirely failed our folks,” he remarked in one interview he previous week. “I sought to express that solidarity does exist. 

Image Source : The New York Times

Khanna aged 48, is Hindu, however having grown up at Amritsar, which is a northern city in India with several Sikhs, he became inspired by huge community kitchens at Sikh Gurdwaras which served meals to anybody who was in need.

As a child who was disabled with club foot, exclaimed Khanna, “I did not  have any friends, just sympathizers. “And so he spent the hours away in his family kitchen along with grandmother, teaching himself to cook. Beginning of April, he forwarded an emotional plea on Twitter, requesting folks to direct him particulars of people who were anxious for food. In India Khanna has huge following, & within hours, replies flooded. However, he’d soon understand that it was not so easy to get to the hungry.

The first attempt that he undertook to make the food delivery to elder-care homes around Bengaluru, was a failure. The one who was supposed to deliver disappeared with rice of around 2000 pounds & lentils close to 900 pounds.

The search for trustworthy partner who can labour anywhere in India took him to National Disaster Relief Force, that’s deployed at emergencies.

Khanna made a call to head of relief department, Satya Narayan Pradhan, post knowing that they were helping provide food to needy. Pradhan said their venture commenced at New Delhi, where outreach was swelling every day.

Khanna opined his initiative provided more than seven million boxes of dry foods & cooked meals previous month in around 100 Indian cities. Rice firms India Gate & Daawat contributed food, & Technology tycoon Paytm became sponsor off late. Another food technology firm  HungerBox made offer to use its industrial kitchens at Mumbai & Noida to prepare 20000 meals each day.

Working through tight limitations in India proved challenging even after restriction of lockdown, & moving goods throughout the state borders & red zones also was logistical nightmare.

Mr Khanna coordinated this task from his house near United Nations.  Due to the variance of time zones he needs to be up at nights managing the operation.

Formerly an executive chef with Junoon, that was appreciated for its ingenious idea about traditional Indian cookery & was awarded Michelin star 7 years straight. Before coronavirus pandemic, plans was up to start a restaurant at New York.

Khanna’s struggle initially started by delivering ingredients to the organizations like — old-age centres, orphanages, leprosy centers & poor neighbourhoods. People across the country corresponded by email & Twitter of people with greatest need, & he tried out ways to obtain food for them.

Khanna, who’s unmarried, now receives several marriage proposals which he has asked that they mention in the subject line of the email to help them filter out. According to him, all the marriage proposals are slowing his efforts for relief.

He has also joined Bharat Petroleum, which’s one among India’s top gas companies to establish kitchens along freeways at several gas stations to help vulnerable groups like migrant workers those who’d been stuck by lockdowns and are walking several distances to reach home. 

For Eid celebration Khanna’s team disseminated feast kits in Mumbai for around 2 lakh people with lentils, rice etc. The festival occupies a special room for him. Having been stuck in Mumbai in 1992, one Muslim woman gave him a place in her residence. Ever since Khanna has been fasting for a day during the Ramzan period.

Khanna wants to keep going and evaluates that this relief effort is now feeding around 275000 individuals every day. 

He has now reached 2millions+meals. The drive which was initiated by just one tweet has now reached millions because of his dedication and support by various associations and companies in India.

Do let us know in the comments section, what do you think of his Nobel work done during the COVID times especially for the migrants!