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India's first culinary museum

Friday, April 13, 2018

Chef Vikas Khanna inaugurates India’s first culinary museum in Manipal

Michelin-starred Chef Vikas Khanna inaugurated India’s first Culinary and Kitchen Arts Museum in Manipal recently. The Museum, spread over 25000 sq.ft, has been curated with over 10,000 objects and collectibles.

The first of its kind, the Culinary Museum boasts of hundreds of pans, plates, an exquisite  100-year-old ladle used to serve food at temples, vessels from the Konkan, Udupi and Chettinad regions, old seed sprinklers, eclectic bowls dating to the Harappan era, rolling pins, ancient Samovars, a variety of tea strainers, chakli/murukku makers, hand-press fruit juicers, pickle bottles, beautiful earthenware, an array of artistic spoons and serving spoons from various parts of India—Kochi, Jammu, Pune, Hyderabad, Gujarat, Rajasthan to the Northeastern states amongst many others.

In his pursuit of preserving our rich cultural heritage, Chef Khanna, over the last 10 years, has been travelling around the country, exploring the length and breadth of the country, and has personally built this massive repository of Indian kitchens across regions, geographies, religions, and cultures. Chef Khanna has also been able to restore some pieces of kitchen tools and vessels that have been lost over time, e.g., from the Dutch and Portuguese era.  

On the launch of the culinary museum, Chef Vikas Khanna said, “The Culinary Museum has been created to preserve and showcase our rich food and cultural heritage through the lens of the kitchen. A unique blend of cultural artifacts—the utensils, kitchen tools and other collectibles tell the story of our diverse culinary heritage.”

He added, “The museum is one of its kind in the country and it is a treasure trove of antique culinary collections of hundreds of years ago. I am grateful to my Alma Mater, Welcome Group Graduate School of Hotel Administration, for giving me a home to set up India’s first culinary museum.”

Some of the oldest collections include collectibles that are 600 and 700 years old, as carbon dating indicates. One of these is an iron vessel used to draw water from the well while the other is made of wood and was used to extract oil with the help of cows and oxen in the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan. Huge pots, water flasks and artistically handcrafted jars, ice-cream churners also find a unique place in the museum and add beauty, contradicting the current era of automated machines while proving their origins and roots from Indian regions. Ladles, colourful rolling pins for making chapattis, measuring cups and weights all designed with scientific precision date back to more than 1,000 years. French and Turkish dinnerware and the silverware, showcasing intricate designs and creative patterns also form part of this wonderful collection.

All the 10000 plus valuables have been aesthetically displayed in the museum, which forms part of the new Department of Culinary Arts building which has been designed in the shape of a giant pot.

Vikas Khanna is a five times Michelin-starred Chef who started his journey from rolling breads at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and is today said to be among the Top 10 Chefs in the world. Over the last few years, he has carved a niche for himself as an artist, humanitarian and documentary film- maker.
Chef Khanna is the host of MasterChef India, Twist of Taste on FOX Life and Mega Kitchens on National Geographic. A prolific writer and a poet, Chef Khanna has written 30 books and has won prestigious international awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award for his book Flavors First as well as the James Beard nomination for his widely acclaimed Return to Rivers.

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