May 21, 2012
A Guest Blog From my Niece, Sophie Herbert
My niece, Sophie Herbert, went to a wonderful event last week that I was invited to and could not attend. I asked her to take photos and share the experience on this blog.
It is with immense gratitude that I attended the gala for President Obama at Manhattan’s fabulous Rubin Museum last Monday. I was there to help my dear friend, world-renowned Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna cater the event with Executive Chef of the Rubin Museum’s Café Serai.
Vikas is no stranger to the Himalayas. Over the past 7 years, he’s traveled extensively through the majestic mountain range and is gearing up to release a cookbook, Return to the Rivers, highlighting this journey in 2013. The work’s foreword is by His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Speaking of books, Vikas has 6 more upcoming releases in the works. His most recent book, Flavors First, was released in September of 2011.
In addition to cooking for the President, authoring cookbooks, and being the executive chef of New York’s prestigious Junoon restaurant, Vikas is the host of Master Chef India. Shortly before the show’s October 2011 premiere, I visited the Mumbai TV show set and blogged about it for Whole Living. Since then, as my Indian friends tell me, “Vikas has become a household name.” With all this going on and more, Vikas remains one of the humblest, calm, and hard working people I have ever met. He is a genuine doer who constantly reminds me that work can be love made visible. Please enjoy this collection of photos!
1 Here I am before the event with Vikas and his sister Radhika across from the Rubin Museum.
2 Chef Vikas Khanna with First Lady Michelle and President Obama in November of 2011.
3 Chef Vikas and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in February of 2012 - The Dalai Lama wrote the forward for Vikas's upcoming Himalaya cookbook, "Return to the River".
4 Prior to the Presidential gala, we enjoyed coffee at Le Pain Quotidien on 7th Avenue. This is Vikas with writer and fellow Chef Andrew Blackmore and publicist Niriti Nagpal (both friends of mine).
5 The police quickly blocked the streets off for President Obama's visit.
6 The exterior of the fabulous Rubin Museum - One of New York's newest museum, this nonprofit cultural and educational institution is dedicated to the art of the Himalayas.
7 Chef Vikas and Ali and their team - All the food served at this elegant event was inspired by the various cuisines of the Himalayas.
8 Chefs Vikas and Ali filling delicious chili crab salad cones.
9 Chef Mark Gagnon prepping spoons for the Kashmiri beet salad
10 Vikas and Ale made wonderful truffle edamame momos for the museum.
11 This is a photo from Vikas's upcoming Himalaya cookbook of shaping momo's (Tibetan style dumplings). All photos by Vikas. When I lived and volunteered in Dharamsala, North India in 2005, I used to eat momos regularly.
12 The very colorful Kashmiri pickled beet salad was delicious.
13 It was inspired by some of the pickled vegetables and chutneys of the Himalayas, such as this sweet green tomato chutney Vikas had in Tibet.
14 Another image from the upcoming Himalaya book - This is tingmo, a steamed Tibetan bread. This is another food I loved eating when I lived in North India.
15 A beautiful presentation for the crab salad with chili mayonnaise
16 The tamarind glazed boneless spareribs were superb!
17 Chef Ali finished them off with a torch.
18 Himalayan chat (chat is the Hindi word for "snack") dish of corn, tomato, cilantro, and spices. Vikas took this photo during his travels.
19 He and his team were inspired to set up chat stations in the reception area.
20 Delicious tschu-tagi curry from the Himalayas
21 This is a sweet savian kheer from the Himalayas. It's like a rice pudding made with vermicelli noodles. Delicious!
22 The face of a temple in Tibet
23 Another stunning photo of Vikas's - Tibetan butter lamps inside a temple
24 Another photo from his upcoming Himalaya cookbook, "Return to the River" - It's the only cookbook the Dalai Lama has ever written a foreword for. Here's Vikas with a family in Bhutan.
25 Another image from the upcoming book - Vikas drinking pur cha, or butter tea, with monks in Bhutan.
26 Presdient Obama gave a captivating speech at the Rubin Museum.
27 Afterwards, he shook hands with guests.
28 I was very grateful to have a chance to shake President Obama's hand and share a few words. This photo was taken right before that happened.
29 Chef Vikas with Donald Rubin - Donald and his wife Shelley founded the Rubin Museum and organized the Presidential gala.
30 Here I am with Andrew Blackmore, Vikas, and Scott Barnes, who is the director of marketing for Starr Event NYC, who did such an amazing job coordinating the event. More at http://www.starrevents.com
31 Vikas and his mother Bindu on the set of Master Chef India in the fall of 2011.
32 Behind the set of Master Chef India. I took this when I visited Vikas in October of 2011, right before the show premiered.
33 Vikas with the contestants of Master Chef India
34 During my visit to Mumbai, we celebrated a holiday called Navratri with these street children.
35 Vikas's most recent book, "Flavors First". Published by Lake Isle Press in September of 2011.
36 Vikas also has a series of documentaries entitled “Holy Kitchens” (LINK to http://www.holykitchens.com/), which explores the relationship between spirituality and food. 100% of the proceeds from these films go to the World Hunger Mission.