for ISKCON News on Aug. 8, 2012
Mumbai, August 7, 2012:
Annamrita, ISKCON Food Relief Foundation’s Midday Meal program has announced Michelin-starred Chef Vikas Khanna as its ‘Goodwill Ambassador. The Midday Meal program is a project of the Government of India, and is being implemented by ISKCON Food Relief Foundation under the brand name of ‘Annamrita’ in schools in Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Assam.
World renowned Chef Vikas Khanna’s love for food and children comes together with his association with Annamrita. As a goodwill ambassador Chef Vikas Khanna has pledged his support and shall play a pivotal role in propagating Annamrita’s mid-day meal scheme, undertaking various activities to complement the awareness and fund raising efforts. Chef Vikas Khanna wears multiple hats i.e. author, restaurateur, humanitarian and host of the TV Show MasterChef India.
Elaborating on his personal connect with Annamrita, Chef Vikas Khanna said, ‘My association to this noble cause goes back to my days working with ISKCON in New Delhi and serving free meals to children in schools. It was my Ghandian philosophy that compelled me to explore the symbiotic intersection of food and religion and through this association I am able to feed the hungry, which is no less than the worship of God.”
Annamrita works towards liberating the underprivileged children from the scourge of hunger and malnutrition. Each day Annamrita serves over 1.2 million (12 lacs) Municipal and Government-aided schools across the country.
Taking this association further, Chef Vikas Khanna spoke about his latest documentary ‘Holy Kitchens’. “In this documentary I have tried to capture the spiritual nature of food and the joy of serving people. I am committed to Annamrita and to this effect I announce 20% of the sales revenues of each DVD will be donated towards Annamrita,” said Chef Vikas Khanna.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Radha Krishna Das, Managing Program Director, ISKCON Food Relief Foundation said, “We are grateful to have Chef Vikas Khanna as the goodwill ambassador for Annamrita. His commitment to the cause and the institution is truly commendable. We hope to garner attention towards the cause through this association with a talented, dedicated follower who’s standing in the community not only in India but worldwide will help address the most pressing issues in the country, hunger and illiteracy”
About Annamrita & IFRF:
Midday Meal is a strategic program to liberate the underprivileged children from scourge of hunger and malnutrition, this program is a project of the Government of India, and is being implemented by ISKCON Food Relief Foundation under the Brand name of “ANNAMRITA‘ in select schools in Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Assam.
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation is a non-profit, non-religious, non-sectarian charitable trust. This project is being implemented in Government aided and Municipal schools for the benefit of underprivileged children, it is done without any commercial motive and the benefits will be available to students at large without any discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, creed or sex.
Since the launch in 2004, Annamrita has set up state-of-the-art kitchens where they cater to approximately 12,00,000 children every day from our centres in Mira Bhayander, Palghar, Nigdi, Tardeo, Juhu, Wada, Pune, Aurangabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Kurukshetra, Palwal, Tirupati, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Kadapa, Ranga Nara Gadda, Vishakhapatnam, Jaipur, Guwahati, Panipat, Haridwar, Jamshedpur and Ujjain. Most of these children come from slums and tribal areas. The purpose of implementing this scheme is to facilitate the Government in increasing the enrolment in these schools, reducing the drop out rate and improving the attendance. Also as these are the formative years for the future adult, nutrition is of prime importance.
About Chef Vikas Khanna:
Vikas Khanna was raised in Amritsar, India, where he grew up surrounded by large family feasts, the seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab, and of course, his grandmother’s traditional home cooking. It was at his grandmother’s side that he began to learn the intricacies of Indian cuisine. He started his own catering business, Lawrence Gardens, at the age of 17. Vikas has received rave reviews for his cooking in The New York Times and many other publications. His current restaurant work includes Junoon Restaurant, the Café at the Rubin Museum of Art, and Flavors and Feasts Catering. Upon his graduation from the Welcomegroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Vikas went on to train under renowned chefs of Taj Group of Hotels, Oberoi, Leela Group, and many more. He has authored several books including “The Spice Story of India” and “Modern Indian Cooking.” His book, “Flavors First,” published in 2011 by Lake Isle Press. His following book is titled “Return to the Rivers: A Culinary Pilgrimage Through the Himalayas” with a foreword by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. Vikas has also been a guest judge and chef on Gordon Ramsay’s television shows for Fox, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, Food Network and the Martha Stewart Show among others. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and is also an honorary member of many foundations, including the World Peace Society. The full scope of Khanna’s activities can be found on www.vkhanna.com.