Chefs Ranveer Brar, Vikas Khanna: We don’t compete with each other
Chefs Ranveer Brar and Vikas Khanna share an unbreakable bond and admiration for each other's talents. They have a strong friendship that transcends their work in the same industry. They enjoy long drives and have a friendly competition. Vikas admires Ranveer's love for his family, while Ranveer admires Vikas's quiet resolve and people skills. They both appreciate each other's cooking, with Vikas wanting to try Ranveer's Lucknowi cuisine and Ranveer praising Vikas's desserts and spice usage.
It’s bros before everything for chefs Ranveer Brar (45) and Vikas Khanna (51). When the two come together, there is never a dull moment or a dry eye around, as they make each other laugh and get along as a house on fire. In an exclusive chat on Friendship Day today, we speak to the self-proclaimed “back-benchers” about their seemingly unbreakable bond.
Q: How did you become friends?
Vikas: A friend of mine, Chef Yogesh, was organizing an event at a college. That is where I spoke to Ranveer for the first time. His passion for Indian food, cooking and its history was so evident. I had not worked with him till then. When he joined Masterchef India in 2015 as a judge, that was when we really became friends. It was amazing what he brought to the table - His sensibility and his humour. I was just in awe of his persona.
Ranveer: The first time I met Vikas was when I was at a catering College event and he had a session. When we crossed paths, the way he met and spoke to me was like hae had known me forever. And then we stayed in touch.
Q: What do you admire in each other?
Vikas: The one thing I really admire about our friendship and also respect about Ranveer is his love for his family. I really just like that. His love for his parents, his son, Ishaan and wife Pallavi. This is what makes him a true gentleman.
Ranveer: There are two things I admire about Vikas: One is his quiet resolve, he does not speak much, but he’s an extremely strong individual, who is very resolute and very sure [of himself and his work]. And the other thing is how much of a people’s person he is. He is as much of an introvert as he is an extrovert. It doesn’t take him a microsecond to turn it around. It’s amazing how he’s able to flip that button in a second.
Q: What is your best memory?
Vikas: I have come to the conclusion that you need friends where even if you don’t speak to them for years, the friendship doesn’t fade away. The moment you speak to each other, it’s fresh and green. And that only happens when you have loyalty towards each other. We might not see each other for a while but whenever we meet, it’s like everything is back as we had left it.
Ranveer: The best memory I share with Vikas is listening to music together on long drives. It’s uncanny how similar our choice of music is. There are a lot of times when have long drives because of shoots or we’re going on off-sites and are in the same car for five to six hours. I think that has to be the best memory that I share with him.
Q: Being in the same industry, does it affect your friendship?
Vikas: While we work in the same industry, we work in totally different aspects. It is only in the show that we work together but there’s no competition in that because our main purpose is much bigger than ourselves. We are standing there day in and day out, tasting, judging, creating, and helping support a new generation of master chefs. So it is much beyond us. There is no point of jealousy. I also work primarily in the US and in fact, for me, Ranveer is a big mental support in the country.
Ranveer: It’s a very childish competition that we have. We compete on the silliest of things - who’s looking taller, who hasn’t cut their nails, how much weight can one lift in the gym? And so on, so forth. Consciously, for both of us, whenever we are together we try to keep work out of it because we understand that works work and that doesn’t define us. And we actually hardly ever discuss work. Another thing, in terms of healthy competition, is that whenever we share pictures on our social media, we only share the ones in which we look the best and the other person looks extremely bad. That is an unsaid rule between us.
Q: As a chef, what is the one dish you love that the other person makes?
Vikas: Ranveer comes from Lucknow and I come from Amritsar. We come from two different ways of cooking yet have the same passion, dedication and heritage of Punjabi cooking. I am very respectful of his dedication towards the Lucknowi cuisine and I think he feels the same when I talk about my Punjabi roots. He hasn’t cooked it for me as yet but I think I’m gonna have to say tundey kebab and I know he will start smiling. He knows that one day I’m gonna make him cook it for me and it will be a special day when he does that.
Ranveer: Not many people know this but he is amazing at desserts. He doesn’t get enough credit for it. I love his desserts. Also, his sense of using spices is outstanding. But he hasn’t cooked a proper meal for me, that’s a different conversation though. (laughs)