Vikram Vij

Vikram Vij is a talented, award-winning chef with Indian roots, now proudly calling Canada home. He has not only mastered the art of cooking but is also known as a celebrity chef, cookbook author, and television personality. Together with his ex-wife Meeru Dhalwala, he co-owns the highly acclaimed Indian cuisine restaurants Vij’s Restaurant and Rangoli Restaurant, both nestled in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Vikram’s culinary empire doesn’t end there; he delights diners with delightful offerings at his restaurant, My Shanti, in South Surrey, BC.

This Indian-Born Canadian chef’s journey in the world of gastronomy began in the vibrant cities of India – Amritsar, Delhi, and Bombay – where he spent his formative years. In pursuit of his passion for the culinary arts, he embarked on an exciting adventure in 1983, leaving his homeland to pursue studies in Hotel/Motel Management in the picturesque city of Salzburg, Austria. During this time, Vikram received comprehensive chef’s training, honing his skills and expanding his culinary horizons.

Vij’s Restaurant: A Culinary Sensation

At 30, Vikram Vij embarked on a remarkable culinary venture, opening the doors of his fine-dining restaurant, Vij’s, in the vibrant city of Vancouver. Joining him in this exciting endeavour was his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, making it a beautiful fusion of passion and partnership. As the years passed, Vij’s Restaurant became a culinary sensation, gaining international acclaim and recognition. In 2003, renowned food critic Mark Bittman of The New York Times lauded the restaurant, hailing it as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.”

In 2004, Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala expanded their culinary empire by launching a second restaurant and market, the charming and laid-back Rangoli. Alongside its inviting ambience, Rangoli also became the platform to showcase its pre-packaged gourmet curries, aptly named “Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine.”

Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala have joined forces to create two exceptional cookbooks, with Meeru taking charge of the captivating text. Their first masterpiece, “Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine,” graced bookshelves in 2006 and quickly became a sensation in the culinary world. The cookbook’s brilliance earned it numerous prestigious awards in 2007, including the esteemed Cuisine Canada’s Gold Award for Best Cookbook and the coveted Cordon d’Or Gold Ribbon International Cookbook Award.

In 2010, they unveiled their second cookbook, “Vij’s at Home: Relax Honey,” a delightful collection of recipes for home cooks to enjoy easily. This gem of a book achieved recognition at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, securing the second spot in the highly competitive Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category.

In 2011, they completed and inaugurated the facility, equipped to meet the growing interest from retailers in their product line. This strategic move allowed them to reach even more households with their delightful culinary creations.

In 2012, Vikram Vij’s culinary ventures expanded to the streets of Vancouver with the launch of “Vij’s Railway Express,” a vibrant mobile food truck that catered to private events, sharing the magic of Indian cuisine with a broader audience.

In 2014, during its ninth season, Vikram Vij took on an exciting new venture as a “dragon” investor on the popular Canadian reality show Dragons’ Den. Throughout the season, he brought his expertise and passion to the table, captivating entrepreneurs and viewers alike. As the season ended, Vikram gracefully bid farewell to his role as a dragon, leaving a lasting impact on the show’s legacy.

In the same year, Vikram Vij took a bold step, opening his first solo restaurant, “My Shanti,” in the charming South Surrey locale. The name “My Shanti” translates to “my peace,” which perfectly embodies the serene ambience and the global culinary journey that awaits diners within its walls. This culinary symphony has won the hearts and taste buds of diners. In 2016, the restaurant was honoured with the prestigious title of “Best Indian Restaurant” by Vancouver Magazine.

In May 2020, the Rangoli location on South Granville was closed, and its menu was consolidated with Vij’s on Cambie. This decision was driven by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing Vikram’s resilience and adaptability in navigating challenging times while continuing to serve his culinary delights to the Vancouver community.

Personal Life

Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala’s love story began on December 24, 1994, when they tied the knot in a joyous celebration of their union. Meeru, born in India but raised in Washington, D.C., crossed paths with Vikram through an extraordinary twist of fate.

Vikram and Meeru built a beautiful family in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they were blessed with two daughters.

While Vikram and Meeru embarked on many culinary adventures and business ventures together, life’s journey eventually led them in different directions. Despite their loving journey together, they decided to part ways, and Vikram and Meeru are now divorced.

Career Milestones: Recognitions and Awards

  • In 1999, it earned a spot in Gourmet magazine’s prestigious annual restaurant awards, placing among the top five restaurants in the city.
  • In 2001, Vikram Vij received a coveted invitation to join the esteemed gastronomic society, Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. This prestigious recognition further cemented his status as a culinary maestro, acknowledged and celebrated by his peers in the culinary world.
  • As Vikram Vij continued to make waves in the culinary world, his talent and dedication were acknowledged by Vancouver Magazine in 2015 when he was bestowed with the coveted “Chef of the Year” award.
  • In 2008, Vikram Vij graced the screens of Food Network Canada’s series “At the Table With,” where he shared his culinary expertise and stories, captivating audiences with his infectious enthusiasm and culinary brilliance.
  • He received recognition as The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient for the Pacific region in 2011, specifically in the hospitality and tourism sector.
  • In April 2012, Vikram Vij had the honour of participating in the second annual Varli Food Festival, a grand celebration of Indian cuisine, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood along with 60 high-profile Indian chefs.
  • Inspired by the chef’s extensive journeys across India by rail, his Railway Express received the prestigious inaugural People’s Choice Award from Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine in 2013, recognizing it as Canada’s Best New Restaurant.
  • Vij’s restaurant’s outstanding reputation has earned it numerous features in various television broadcasts and prestigious publications. Food Network Canada, CNN, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Sunset magazine, and Art Culinaire are just a few of the prominent platforms that have showcased the culinary excellence of Vij’s Restaurant.
  • Vikram Vij was one of the recipients of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards presented by Canadian Immigrant Magazine in 2015. 

Vikram Vij on Television: A Culinary Authority in the Limelight

  • In 2011, he was invited to be a guest judge on the show, where he brought his discerning palate and insightful feedback to the aspiring chefs competing on the culinary platform. His appearances on the show left a lasting impression, and he was invited back as a guest judge for the 2012 season, further solidifying his reputation as a respected culinary authority.
  • Vikram Vij made history in March 2013 by hosting the world’s first-ever live-streamed cook-along, aptly named “Cook Live With Vikram Vij.” This innovative concept allowed food enthusiasts worldwide to join Vikram virtually in their kitchens as he demonstrated his cooking expertise in real-time.
  • Vikram’s culinary journey again took centre stage in a special episode of Top Chef Canada in 2013. In this dedicated episode, the spotlight was on Indian food, and Vikram Vij was the guest of honour. He also appeared as a judge in “Chopped Canada.”
  • In October 2014, Vikram Vij ventured into the world of entrepreneurship on the hit TV show CBC’s Dragons’ Den, making his debut as a Dragon. Taking his seat alongside esteemed entrepreneurs Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson, David Chilton, and Michael Wekerle, Vikram brought his unique perspective and expertise to the Den.