Chef Vikas Khanna wows Queen Elizabeth with rare book
Chef Vikas Khanna presented Britain's Queen Elizabeth with a copy of his limited-edition 1200-page, 16-kg tome 'Utsav' which celebrates the history and diversity of Indian cuisine. "Majestic work of art that celebrates the beauty of India," the Queen reportedly remarked about the tome. Khanna had a private audience with the Queen and Prince Philip as part of the "Indo-UK 70 Years of Culture" celebrations.
Queen Elizabeth spent nearly 15 minutes going through the book. "She was most interested in the multi-cultural diversity of India and how Utsav represents the rich heritage and beauty of India through the lens of the common man," a statement said. "She instantly instructed her team to have Utsav placed in her private library at Windsor," it added.
On February 11, 2017, Chef Khanna auctioned of a copy of 'Utsav' for Rs. 30 lakh. The proceeds from the auction went to feed 200,000 underprivileged children through the Smile Foundation, an NGO Chef Khanna supports.
Chef Khanna took 12 years to compile 'Utsav'. Only 12 copies have been made. He has presented the book to former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton; the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan; among others. One copy was to be presented to Apple founder Steve Jobs who sadly passed away before this could happen.
"(Designer) Suvigya Sharma has created some covers out of 24-karat gold and used vegetables and natural colors to paint. Each of the 12 copies is different from the other and they have gold-crusted work on the cover as well as the box containing the book."