In this episode, I hear the story of self-professed “naughty child” Vikram Vij talk sitting on his grandfather’s knee at the age of 9, promising to one day open his own restaurant…something he’s done several times over by now, and more. Constantly in the kitchen as a young boy, he wanted to showcase Indian cuisine in a whole new way, and to bring the complexity of it and more awareness of the diversity of it to the wider world.
It’s about being a good human being…about relationships…about breaking down barriers and about building tolerances.
From his perspective as an enormously successful entrepreneur, chef, and now television celebrity, I ask him to share his thoughts on communication, on how he works with others, and on what advice he would share with someone just starting out. He loves people, and his responses exemplify that. He speaks of listening, of understanding what the other person is trying to communicate, he says “do not ever burn your bridges”, be sure you talk to each other and just express yourself.
Who is Vikram Vij?
Vikram Vij was born in India, went to Austria at the age of 20 and moved to Canada in 1989 to work at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. In September 1994 Vikram opened Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, BC. His wife, Meeru Dhalwala, joined him and the two began collaborating on the menu. 2014 will see the move of Vij’s Restaurant to a larger location on Cambie Street. As well, Vikram will be opening a new concept restaurant in South Surrey called My Shanti.
In 2004, Vikram and Meeru opened up a second restaurant and market called Vij’s Rangoli. Vikram launched his own range of frozen package meals, Vij’s At Home which are available in many major retailers across Canada.
Vikram was a guest judge on Top Chef Canada in 2011 and 2012 and he was the guest of honour in a 2013 Top Chef Canada episode dedicated to Indian cuisine. 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 of 2014.
October 2014 saw Vikram make his debut as a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. He took his place in the Den alongside esteemed entrepreneurs; Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickenson, David Chilton and Michael Wekerle. Together, they would decide the fate of aspiring businessmen and women, looking for investors to make their dream come true.
In 2013 Vikram’s Vancouver-based food truck, Vij’s Railway Express, won the inaugural People’s Choice Award from Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine for Canada’s Best New Restaurant. Vij’s Railway Express is a mobile truck selling fresh-cooking cuisine based on his travels through India.
Vikram and Meeru have published two award-winning cookbooks:
I’m cooking tonight!
Yes, I’ve got my Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey cookbook out and am going to whip up some coconut curry mung beans and some cauliflower steak…because on a much, MUCH smaller scale, I too love feeding people.
Let me know your thoughts on this or any other topic.
Until next time,