Vikram Vij's hotly-anticipated My Shanti (which means 'my peace') restaurant is on track to open
this Sunday NEXT SUNDAY at Morgan's Crossing in South Surrey. Vikram took us through the new menu and talked India, travel and authenticity of Indian cuisine.
Tell us about the menu.
I wanted to do things differently, to make it an introduction to India, so the cities first; Goan oyster pakoras, Bombay squid...
But there's a Peruvian dish here too!
This menu is based on my travels, so yes, I have a Peruvian ceviche on the menu that's because they do a beautiful ceviche and I learned it from there.
How is this different from Vij's?
Vij's is more of a modern cuisine style; still using local ingredients and using our backgrounds but we're creating modern Indian food, which was about taking tradition and pushing the limits a little bit. My Shanti is coming back to the tradition and saying these are the things that when I went to India I absolutely loved; there's no buttered chicken on the menu still, not because of anything other than there were things that I tasted that were better so I'm bringing the best of India - or Peru to Surrey.
Will people be confused?
That's OK, but people will have to understand that this is My Shanti. Mine. My peace. I get my peace when I go away for a month to India or anywhere else and travel. I'm incorporating that one month that I go away every year on to these menus. The menus will change probably three or four times a year. I'll say, 'hey - we've done Delhi, let's go to Bombay or so-and-so's house. I've always written down all the recipes from my travels, my goal one day is to actually have a beautiful photo book of all my travels to India - with the people I travelled with and what we ate.
What will reaction be from Indian community in Surrey, do you think? Are they on board with modern Indian cuisine?
I've never cooked for food for any demographic; I just cook food that I enjoy in the style that I want, if they don't think it will be possible then I will have to respect their palettes but I think most people will understand - if you go to someone's house and they make you a delicious curry; made with love and passion, who cares what it's called and how traditional it is as long as someone can taste that love and passion. Surrey has a huge Indian population that's where I draw my inspiration as far as my cooks are concerned, they are my backbone, they live in Surrey proper. This is South Surrey, closer to White Rock, with a huge educated, affluent population who love great food, they're not going to have to go all the way to Vancouver now, they can enjoy a really delicious meal here; inexpensive but really well done and well served.
How will you spread yourself around all your restaurants?
I'll be at the production facility at 9am, then I'll be here from around 2-7p.m. and then I'll drive to Vij's and Rangoli and spend time there till around 9.30p.m. and then go home. I like to work around 12 -14 hours a day.
How will you balance this with the TV career too?
I'll do it! I love people, I love working hard, I'll make it work.
· My Shanti [Official Site]
· All Previous Vikram Vij Coverage [EVAN]
· All Previous My Shanti Coverage [EVAN]