Happy Fall / Winter days great foodie friends,
I wanted to share with you my experience at the latest Edible Canada’s Guest Chef Market dinner – all of their events bring you closer to a great array of talented culinary masters within their respective field, but some guest chefs are so popular that in order to fairly allow for the best opportunity for you to attend the event, Edible Canada is forced to put the ticket purchase process to a lottery style.
Chef Vikram Vij is absolutely one of those highly popular draws and rightly so. I was lucky enough to win one of the coveted tickets for 2 and had the pleasure of attending this wonderful event.
Our city has become a veritable cultural melting pot of culinary offerings from around the world.
The Market dinners are done “just right” with a warm welcome, almost like they are inviting you into their kitchen or living room. You are greeted with a nice house developed sip to start your event.
One can’t fully describe the wonderful blend of complex flavors and textures as they unfold with each bite but let’s just say that these two appetizers were both different in the flavor profile but at the same time made you want another please!
What you see unfold right away is the true passion and personality that Chef Vikram has and what a storyteller / entertainer he is.
I have always maintained that you eat with your eyes and your nose before it crosses the lips, but you cook with your heart and your soul (Basically or actually a love and passion for what you are doing) and it will show through your food. Vikram definitely believes this theory and trust me it showed all night!
After we had time to settle in, Vikram introduced himself and laid out how the evening was going to unfold. Then he says “Come cook with me” and invites us all around the kitchen island.
One thing I must tell you is that I have never met such a bright personality who displays a total humility and thankfulness for what has graced his life. He was very complimentary of his two sous chefs that assisted (actually Guided Vikram somewhat…shhhhh) him through the night and complimented his whole team as they are the ones that makes the magic happen for the Vij’s and Rangoli restaurant family everyday.
To say that the room started to fill with aromas beyond “wow” is an understatement. Chef Vikram did mention that true Indian cooking is full of personal nuance differences but is mostly “In your face” with powerful and delectable flavors.
First up was Coconut Masala Prawns
As the bountiful flavours danced across your taste buds you could only hear a silence except for the veiled “mmmm” sound from many.
Vikram used local spot prawns along with his house-made spices and herbs to create a winner for our first dish.
Edible Canada has some great knowledge in how to pair wines with the guest chefs dishes, and Joiefarm. Noble Blend was paired perfectly with the prawns.
Next up Vikram says “Come cook my family chicken with me” – as a side note Chef Vikram tells us of his upbringing and trips back home. Another belief surrounding great chefs is that your dish should be a reflection of you. To explain further, everyone has their own style and it will show in a slight difference in your dish. Vikram would explain that within family and friends that you will always have an auntie or friend that makes the “best” traditional curry chicken but as it should be, it will be their “own” no measurements, no recipe, just passed on through tribal knowledge and made uniquely your way. “This is a good thing and how it should be”
You might try Vikrams family masala or curried chicken and say that it wasn’t like the one that you tried before at another eatery, and that’s just how he likes it ! You will note that when you visit Vij’s or Rangoli that you won’t see the cliché dishes that are at almost all Indian restaurants, but rather signature family dishes that scream Vij. Vikram still takes trips back home and visits as many different homes and restaurants as possible to see and learn about the different twists on traditional dishes, he embraces the uniqueness with open arms.
Our final savour dish was Cinnamon Stewed Lamb Curry – the flavors that Vikram and his team were able to develop from scratch in a few short hours were “Out of this world! The depth of colour and flavor in each dish with fantastic and delectable.
The lamb dish was served with fresh naan bread for over the top dipping fun! Vikram invited guests to try their hand and proclaimed that this very technique was how they made naan in his restaurants.
After all of our deep rich flavoured dishes, a perfect dessert was served to cleanse the palat, Rice pudding with silver leaf
A great fresh dish that slowed your palate down to clean finish.
Who is Vikram?:
Vikram Vij – Born in India and raised in New Dlehi & Bombay. Vikram moved to Canada in 1984 to work at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. (Chef Vikram culinary training is from Salzburg, Austria where he took hotel management, chefs training and became a certified sommelier) in 1994 Vikram and his wife Meeru opened their first restaurant -Vij’s in Vancouver BC. And then in 2002 Meeru and Vikram opened their second restaurant and market called Rangoli. In 2010 Vikram began selling Vij’s gourmet curries now selling across Canada including at Edible Canada!
Vikram has co-written 2 cookbooks and has just received the Enroute people’s choice award for his Latest successful venture – Vij’s Railway Express food truck – awarded as “Best new restaurant”. Vikram has also been a guest judge on Top Chef Canada as well as recently named as one of the judges on Recipe to Riches.
The accolades are countless and certainly there are so many more to come.
Vikram will not tell you about his accolades but if you ask him you will get a humble and warm smile for mentioning it!
Edible Canada Guest Market chef dinners are over the top fun and full of great food. The Chef line up is amazing and diverse so there will sure to be a dinner that you would want to sign up for!
This is my 4th market dinner and surely not my last!
You can find the market dinner listing through Edible Canada’s web site by clicking the link below.
Thank you Edible Canada for the continued support of Local products and for finding unique and heartwarming culinary journeys for your foodie friends.
You Gotta Try This!