Vikram Vij

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Vikram Vij
Vikram Vij at book launch.jpg
Vikram Vij in 2010
Born1964 (age 50–51)
Amritsar, India
OccupationRestauranteur, chef, cookbook author
Known forVij's and Rangoli, Vancouver
Spouse(s)Meeru Dhalwala
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Vikram Vij
Vikram Vij at book launch.jpg
Vikram Vij in 2010
Born1964 (age 50–51)
Amritsar, India
OccupationRestauranteur, chef, cookbook author
Known forVij's and Rangoli, Vancouver
Spouse(s)Meeru Dhalwala

Vikram Vij (born 1964)[1] is a 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] Since 2014, Vij has been one of two new "dragon" investors on the Canadian reality show Dragon's Den for its ninth season.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[6] Vij later became a certified sommelier.[9]


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.[10][11]

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][12] By 2003, Mark Bittman of The New York Times was praising Vij's Restaurant as "easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world".[13] [14]

A decade later in 2004, Vij and Dhalwala opened a second restaurant and market, the casual-style Rangoli.[1][7][15] Rangoli sells their line of pre-packaged gourmet curries named "Vij's Inspired Indian Cuisine".[16] In 2011, Vij and Dhalwala completed and opened a food processing facility to better meet retailer interest in the product line.[15][17] The product line is sold in grocery stores across BC and other regions.[17]

Vij and Dhalwala have collaborated on two cookbooks,[9][18] with Dhalwala writing the text.[19][20] They published "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine" in 2006,[19] 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][21] In 2010, the pair published Vij's at Home: Relax Honey,[20] which placed second in the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.[22] Vij has been an ongoing contributor to The Globe and Mail since November 28, 2007.[23]

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".[16] 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.[9] Both of their restaurants are known to have an all female kitchen staff.[3][12]

Personal life[edit]

Vij married Dhalwala on December 24, 1994.[24] Dhalwala was born in India but grew up in Washington, D.C.[25] Vij and Dhalwala were introduced by their mothers who were old friends.[26] They have two daughters, and live in Vancouver, British Columbia.[8]

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.[11][27] In 2001, Vij was invited to be a member of the prestigious gastronomic society Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.[11] 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.[28]

Vij and Dhalwala's restaurants have received numerous local awards including those from Vancouver Magazine's restaurant awards.[9][11] In 1999, Vij's Restaurant was listed in the top five Vancouver restaurants in Gourmet magazine's annual restaurant awards.[11] Vij himself received an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific region in hospitality and tourism in 2011.[15]

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.[11] 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.[29] Vij was featured on At the Table With, a Food Network Canada series, in 2008.[30][31] The same year Vij's Rangoli was a subject of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.[32][33] 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.[34] Vij was a guest judge on Top Chef Canada in 2011, and was invited back for the 2012 season.[16]

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.[16] 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.[16] 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.[17][35] 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".[17][35][36] At the event he partnered with percussionist Ashwin Sood, blending the sounds and flavours of India.[35] In 2012, Vij again was featured in the festival, this time leading a "culinary tour of India" at the opening gala.[37] 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.[38] 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.[35]



  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". Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "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. ^ a b c d Scott, C.G. (July 2010). "The Authentic Vikram Vij". Darpan Magazine. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ "A Conversation with Chef Vikram Vij". enRoute. Air Canada enRoute. Oct 31, 2008. Retrieved Jul 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Scharien, Jessica. "Active Restaurateur: Vikram Vij". British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Flavours of Vij's excellent adventure", Vancouver Sun, September 20, 2006.
  13. ^ Bittman, Mark (Aug 8, 2003). "JOURNEYS; 36 Hours - Vancouver, British Columbia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  14. ^ 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. Retrieved Jul 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c "Pacific Region Entrepreneur of the Year". Financial Post. Feb 6, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Demontis, Rita (Mar 27, 2012). "Vij's Vision". Toronto Sun. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Celebrated chef gets cooking in Surrey". The Now, Surrey Now. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Nine Candid Minutes With Star Chef & Restaurateur Vikram Vij", Scout Magazine, April 6, 2011.
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "Indian Cuisine at the Top of the List". D & M Publishers Inc. Nov 5, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Vij's At Home Wins Silver at Gourmand World Cookbook Awards". D & M Publishers Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  23. ^ Vij, Vikram (Oct 28, 2007). "Vikram Vij: You say bastardization, I say evolution". Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "Meeru Dhalwala". D & M Publishers. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ Shivani, Vora (Apr 10, 2012). "At the Varli Food Festival, Andhra Shrimp and Halwa Cupcakes". New York Times Global Edition. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  29. ^ "A Day In The Life Of... Vij's". OMNI (documentary). Rogers Communications. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  30. ^ "At the Table With…Vikram Vij". (television series). Shaw Media Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ "At the Table with…Vikram Vij". IMDb (data base). Oct 21, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  32. ^ Hinkel, Joanne (Jan 23, 2008). "No Reservations: Bourdain's Vancouver is a Cool City". MTV Networks. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Vancouver". Travel Channel (television series). Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Giada's Weekend Getaways:Vancouver". (television series). Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  35. ^ 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. 
  36. ^ Murray, Laura. "Vikram Vij & Indian Summer Festival featured on Global BC - Weekend Morning News". Vimeo. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  37. ^ Tales from a Bar Stool (Jul 6, 2012). "Indian Summer Celebrations". The Province. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Vibc Society's Fundraising Gala To Be Hosted By Indian Cuisine Chef Vikram Vij". Asian Journal. Sep 23, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 

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