Utsav – Chatting to Vikas Khanna – FoodeMag dxb

A while ago, the FoodeMag team visited Junoon to taste some of the new items which were going to be launched as part of a new menu. New launches are always exciting and this one impressed us as usual. In typical tasting style, the team sent us out a few of their favourite dishes for us to try and give feedback.  Most dishes were a hit packed full of flavour, plated beautifully which made them as visually attractive as they were tasty.

Some of our favourite dishes were :

KANDHARI PANEER – spiced paneer, beetroot reduction , mint yogurt, beetroot crisp

PESHAWAR KHUMB – crimini mushroom, pistachio yogurt, crispy shiitake, enoki salad

SQUID PEPPER FRY – curry leaf, black pepper, fennel, semolina

LOBSTER KHICHDI – oven roasted lobster, khichdi, saffron chilli yogurt

A few dishes were misses for us, in particular nether of the two dessert dishes were to our taste and it’s interesting to note that only one of them made it to the final menu selection.

After lunch we had arranged to spend some time with Vikas Khanna who had just arrived in Dubai after a trip to Rome.  Vikas had just launched Utsav, a cookbook which he had told about on his last visit and we were excited to see.

This was no ordinary cookbook, and having met Vikas before, we expected it not to be.  Utsav is a 1,200 page cookbook, featuring dishes prepared during different festivals in India all of which Vikas had attended.

The book is a true labour of love by Vikas which he proudly showed to us. Vikas is bubbly and vibrant during our discussions and it’s difficult not to feel connected to the book and the stories that he’s telling as he flicks through.  Utsav took twelve years to complete and not only does it tell stories via recipes, but also it captures the culture and history behind many festivals.  It’s a beautiful book, the images are gorgeous and each tells their own story. Vikas took many of the photos himself and when he talks about the photos it’s with an immense amount of pride and passion which is contagious.

Vikas arrives full of energy, yesterday he was in Rome gifting a copy of Utsav to the Pope at the Vatican and today he’s going to deliver a copy to HH Sheik Mohammed.  In total he has gifted special copies of Utsav to twelve World Leaders including Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.  We feel extremely privileged to see a copy of his book, albeit it’s not one of the special versions as each book weighs 16kg, and is written in gold ink and is priced at a massive 8 lakh rupees (about 50,000/AED)

Junoon | Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai Tel :(971 4) 405 2717

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