Vikram Vij: What Took So Long?

Beloved innovator of Indian cuisine named Chef of the Year—finally!

April 22, 2015

By Michael White / Photo: Carlo Ricci

Vikram Vij was named Chef of the Year at the 26th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, held yesterday (Apr. 21) at the Sheraton Wall Centre.

The honour likely neither surprised nor displeased anyone—indeed, the only reasonable questions anyone might have asked was, “Why not before now, and why—finally—now?” Maybe it was because Vij had never felt so present as he did in 2014—which is saying a hell of a lot.

While his long-running Vij’s and Rangoli continued to uphold their shared reputation for offering the most transcendent Indian food in the, he opened a third, My Shanti, last June. Shortly thereafter, he debuted as the newest juror on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, thus becoming familiar to millions. And almost simultaneously, it was announced that finally, after endless speculation, Vij’s would move in 2015 from its current home to that long-dormant space on Cambie Street, while the vacated West 11th room would transform into Mian Bawarchi. (As a result, in March he announced his departure from Dragons’ Den, so as to fully concentrate on the restaurants.)

In the end, it would appear that sheer busyness finally netted Vij (and, let’s not forget, partner Meeru Dhalwala) this accolade. It was undoubtedly a contributing factor. But it only served to underline years upon years of culinary inventiveness that make us feel, frankly, rather silly for not honouring him sooner.

Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.