After cooking for celebrities like Madonna, Tom Cruise, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and after launching one of the most expensive cookbooks in the world, Vikas Khanna has donned the director’s hat. The Michelin-starred chef has now made a documentary, which he plans to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
The documentary explores the idea of how breaking bread together helps break walls that divide people. It will feature personalities like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Mata Amritanandmayi (spiritual leader) and Pastor Craig Mayes of the New York Mission, among others.
“According to me, no faith talks about barriers. Whether it is Judaism or Jainism, every faith talks about people coming to the same table. I am fortunate to have been given a platform. So, it is my duty to share my knowledge about the subject,” says Vikas.
The chef reveals that he understood the importance of eating together when he was doing some research work at Harappa in Pakistan, a few years ago. “While researching, I couldn’t find a single small pot there, which was a clear indication that food in those times was cooked in a communal way. This means that everyone came together to cook, and to be fed. Unifying forces were stronger even before religion came into being,” says the chef.
His initial years in the US further strengthened his belief in the unifying power of food. “When I came to the US, I didn’t know anyone. On December 24, I landed up at a homeless shelter. They were preparing a Christmas meal there, and they shared their food with me; that made me feel like home. Food not only builds relations, but it also builds hope,” he adds.