‘Metaverse is an opportunity to spread Indian recipes beyond borders’

New Delhi

Indian chef and restaurateur, Vikas Khanna recently launched his book ‘Sacred Foods of India’ in NFT in collaboration with Ganesh Raju, CEO Akshaya.io. The Michelin star chef speaks to us about his phygital cover, NFTs, his love for Indian food and his advice to the younger generation.

1.Tell us a bit about your book “Sacred Foods of India.”

Sacred Foods of India is a coffee table book in honour of the people who have carried on the tradition of cooking. Food is an integral part of India. It is not just about restaurants, home cooked or street food. We talk about food from temples, gurudwaras and dargas. In the post pandemic world, it is very difficult to push coffee table books. We wanted to push avenues and reach out to people from across the globe, especially, to our next generation in diaspora. In the US, kids do not have the literature that celebrates India. We wanted to reach out to each and every person and bring Indian culture to the world.

2. What are the advantages of converting this book into NFTs?

NFT is the new language and culture of the world. Bringing the book to metaverse is an opportunity to spread Indian recipes, history and culture beyond borders. Digital is the new way of consuming content and we wanted to be at par with what’s happening. We wanted to celebrate Indian culture with a much bigger audience.

3. How will NFTs revolutionize the food industry?

Our generation is between digital and the physical. In the past, we had to travel to different cities and meet chefs to learn how to cook. I remember a European chef wanting to shoot a recipe on video and I was shocked. But now I see how it has been revolutionized. Most of the content is consumed online. Books have become very difficult to sell as the market is shrinking and evolving in a digital way. In a similar way, blockchains and NFTs are going to revolutionize the food world. In Metaverse, it’s almost as if you are cooking along with someone in your kitchen. This experience is truly amazing.

4. Is the book physical or digital?

The book is Phygital – a combination between digital and physical. We have a physical copy of the book with a chip of the NFT and a digital copy of the book that is an NFT. We want the advantage of having a magnum opus in your living room – a coffee table book, which is a tribute to Indian culture. This will open doors for home cooks, chefs and food writers who can promote cooking and witness a revolution in the food industry through this technology.

5. Any new books on the horizon?

I have a commitment of writing 50 books in my lifetime. I will launch a special book called ‘Ceremony of Aromas’ published by Bloomsbury very soon. That book is a visual delight, which talks about the evolution of spices, distinct flavours, and how it is used in cooking.

6. You have won many accolades. Any thoughts on it?

As a chef, I have a global voice and it is my responsibility to use my voice for the things I believe in and the causes I fight for. For me, accolades and criticism are all the same and I strive to keep working. But accolades are a short-lived moment and I am humbled by it. So, I generally don’t comment on accolades.

7.Tips for new and emerging chefs.

Indian food has arrived on a global scale with the huge burst of Indian chefs on the mainstream stages in America, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. I would advise them to be very true to their craft and culture. Failures are an opportunity. The new generation of chefs think with a broader perspective than we did. So, remember that closed doors are in fact, turns for you to turn towards much bigger gateways.

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