New Indian cookbook on Canadian bestsellers list
Live Punjab News Service
Toronto -- A new Indian cookbook by a popular Indo-Canadian chef has made it to the bestseller list.
Launched two weeks ago, "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine" by Vikram Vij, who runs the Vij's restaurant in Vancouver, topped the non-fiction bestsellers list in Canada's British Columbia province last week.
Co-authored by Vij's wife Meeru Dhalwal, the book has set all of North America abuzz because of its beautiful flavoured Indian dishes, according to a report in the Province newspaper.
The author is now on a promotional tour across Canada.
States Vij in the preface to the book: "Our recipes... are as close to our hearts as our marriage. I don't know what other newlyweds talk about, argue about or discuss for hours on end, but Meeru and I built our relationship through our recipes."
Born in India in 1964, Vij grew up in Amritsar and Mumbai. His passion for food and cooking was there right from childhood.
"Instead of playing cricket with the boys, I used to hang out in the kitchen with my mother," Vij had said in an interview some years ago.
That passion turned into his career as he went to Salzburg in Austria to do a hotel management course.
Armed with the degree, he continued working at various fine dining restaurants in Austria and, in 1989, moved to Canada to work in the Banff Springs Hotel.
Five years later, in September 1994, he opened the original 14-seat Vij's restaurant in Vancouver.
The restaurant soon grew in popularity and within a year it was judged the best Asian restaurant by Vancouver magazine.
In 1996, Vij's moved to a larger location with Meeru taking over the kitchen and the recipes for the most part. Vij focussed on the overall running of the restaurant. The business has not looked back since.
"I don't want to be categorised as an `ethnic' restaurant," Vij told the Toronto Star in another interview.
According to the restaurant's website, the philosophy behind Vij's food has always been "to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian - from all regions of India - while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available".
According to the Hour.ca website, the restaurant is famous for its fresh outlook on Indian food.
"Instead of the standard butter chicken and tikka masala you'll eat gorgeously marinated mutton kebabs, halibut in tomato-ginger cream curry, jackfruit in black cardamom and cumin masala," a review in the site states.
"My focus was to bring (up) awareness of my cuisine, my culture and where I come from," Vij told the Star.
What also sets Vij's apart from other restaurants is that it does not have any fancy water menus or bottled water. Just plain water filtered in the restaurant and that comes for free.
"I have a bit of a socialist attitude," Vij said. "We don't need to bottle water, air and sun."