Restaurant magnate, celebrity chef and entrepreneur Vikram Vij is hungry for deals and eager to bring his flair for risk-taking ventures to Dragons' Den.
Born in India, Vikram left home at the age of 20 to start his culinary journey abroad. The talented young chef was working in Austria when a Canadian hotelier tasted his creations and immediately invited him to savor Canada's culinary possibilities. Vikram immigrated to Alberta in 1989 and started work at the Banff Springs Hotel.
A certified sommelier, Vikram opened his first restaurant, Vij's, in Vancouver in 1994 to great success. A strict no reservations policy has led to a nightly never-ending lineup outside Vij's doors. Vikram's no reso philosophy is taken from the teachings of his hero Mahatma Ghandi, "Even Gandhi said that we are all equal, that is why I want everybody to be equal." Celebrities who've lined up for a seat in his uber-popular eatery include Martha Stewart, Harrison Ford and the late Pierre Trudeau. New York Times food writer Mark Bittman said Vij's was "easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world."
In 2004, Vikram and his wife Meeru opened a second restaurant called Rangoli, serving a more casual dining experience. His third concept My Shanti by Vikram Vij opened March 2014 in White Rock, B.C. and Vikram is busy planning a re-launch of the original Vij's in a massive new space later this year. Vikram's delectable dishes are also available in a gourmet food truck servicing the Greater Vancouver Area.
After dominating the West Coast restaurant scene for over a decade, Vikram launched his own line of gourmet prepackaged curries, which are based on the restaurants' most popular dishes. In order to keep up with the growing demand for the packaged meals in Canada and the US, Vikram constructed a 28 thousand square foot food processing plant in Surrey, B.C. His ready-to-eat meals are now available across Canada in national grocery chains. In between launching his restaurants and raising two children, Vikram and wife Meeru have also published award winning best-selling cookbooks Vij's: Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine
and Vij's at Home: Relax,Honey
. His branding and entrepreneurial skills were rewarded in 2011 when he won the Ernst and Young
Entrepreneur of the Year award. Vikram is familiar to Canadian foodies already as he acts as a judge on Food Network's Top Chef Canada
and Chopped Canada
as well as CBC's Recipes to Riches