A Chef's One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase
“Everything we do is about a love and passion for Indian food,” says Vikram Vij. But how did one of Canada’s most successful restaurateurs take that passion and turn it into a thriving business? In funny, heartfelt talks, Vij shares his journey from New Delhi to Dragons’ Den, and what we can all learn about entrepreneurship, vision, and how business and love can—and should—go together.
Vikram Vij is the owner of award-winning restaurants Vij’s Restaurant, Vij’s Rangoli, and My Shanti, and food truck Vij’s Railway Express. Vij’s Restaurant is world-renowned, described by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” Vij is also the creator of Vij’s At Home, a line of prepackaged gourmet curries that are cooked by hand in Surrey, BC, and sold in over 300 locations across Canada. And this year, he released his first memoir: Vij: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase (Random House), which Anthony Bourdain calls “a terrific and deeply personal culinary journey from a great chef.”
Vij was the first Indo-Canadian Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. He appeared as a judge on CBC’s Recipe to Riches and a guest judge on Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada. In March 2013, he hosted the world’s first ever live-streamed cook-along, Cook Live With Vikram Vij.
Vij has been involved with the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia, Farm Folk City Folk Organization, Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood, UBC Farm fundraisers, and the Green Table Society. Vij and his wife Meeru’s dedication to the work done at the University of British Columbia resulted in the funding and opening of Vij’s Kitchen, a state-of-the-art culinary learning facility dedicated to teaching the chefs and nutritionists of the future about ethnic food and cuisine. Vij is a recipient of the BC Food Processors Association Rising Star Award and The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He is the co-author (with Meeru) of two award-winning cookbooks: Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine (which won the Cordon d’Or Gold Ribbon International Cookbook Award) and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey.