If you ask Vancouver's Vikram Vij what he really thinks of Indian food, he'd tell you it tastes better when you eat it with others.
The celebrated chef, who co-owns two award-winning Indian restaurants Vij’s and Rangoli with his wife and fellow chef Meeru Dhalwala, says he's all about getting families to cook and eat together — while experimenting with local ingredients and India's finest spices.
That family touch has earned Vij's praise from around the world. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman once gushed about the cooking duo, and Vij's is still considered one of the best restaurants in Canada.
A familiar face to Canadian cuisine, Vij has been featured on "Top Chef Canada" and Anthony Bourdain’s "No Reservations," and when he's not co-writing cookbooks with his wife, he also teaches.
Vij will be hosting an online cooking show at the University of British Columbia on Thursday, and talked to The Huffington Post Canada about some of his favourite greasy snacks, his love for all-things Canadian and the time he put chicken feet in his classmate's pockets.
What does 'Canadian' food mean to you?
Canadian food means to me a great democracy of different cultures and cuisines.
What is one of the first things you crave to eat when you return to your hometown?
I love a nice bottle of B.C. wine and some homemade chicken curry.
What’s your favorite food to make for yourself at home after a boozy night out?
I love some great sausages and a nice cup of coffee.
What's your favourite poison?
Everything in life is poison if consumed in large quantities, hence, I have no poison because I do not consume anything in excess.
If you could prepare only one last meal, what would it be?
My bone-in goat meat curry with some chapati (Indian flatbread).
What would be in your emergency "survival pantry"?
A bottle of scotch and my own homemade curries.
What is the wildest thing you’ve done in a kitchen, culinary or otherwise?
I did do one thing and got suspended for it. I was butchering a chicken and I took the feet of the chicken and put it in the pockets of some girls who were cooking with me. When they put their hands in the pockets, they freaked out and I got suspended from the class.
What would you be doing if you couldn't be a chef?
I would be a Bollywood actor.
What is your favourite cheap food thrill?
A bag of Indian snacks that are greasy and tasty.
What is the most memorable food city in the world?
Which Canadian restaurants have you been to and would recommend?
Each and every chef in this country has done a great job of representing the cuisine and culture. I recommend to go out and explore the love and passion of the chefs.
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