Vikas Khanna’s ‘Utsav’ – The Cool Cookbook That You Can’t Have


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Vikas Khanna with President Barack Obama, VP Joe Biden, Pope Francis, The Dalai Lama, Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon, President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lata Mangeshkar, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

In this montage, Vikas Khanna with VIPS: his mother, Pope Francis,  President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton,  Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, VP Joe Biden, The Dalai Lama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amitabh Bachchan, Queen Elizabeth II, Shahrukh Khan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Lata Mangeshkar, and Rasesh Kanakia.

Vikas Khanna’s ‘Utsav’ – The Cool Cookbook That You Can’t Have!

The Obamas have it. So do the Pope and the Dalai Lama. And Queen Elizabeth too. As does Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan. But unless you’re world-famous or have loads of moolah you probably won’t get your hands on ‘Utsav’ – Vikas Khanna’s beautiful book of Indian celebrations and festivals.  That’s because he’s made only 12 customized editions and over 12 years has presented it to some of the world’s movers and shakers.

What was the idea of presenting the book to global dignitaries?

“I wanted to do something totally different. We launched the book at Cannes Festival 2015 and then at Harvard University. We began presenting ‘Utsav’ to the global leaders who inspire us and are the greatest ambassadors-friends of India,” he says. The list included President Obama and vice President Biden, the Pope, Dalai Lama, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon and Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg. From India it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bollywood icons Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Lata Mangeshkar.

Utsav by Vikas Khanna

Utsav by Vikas Khanna

The copy that he made for  the late Steve Jobs was finally sold in auction for a whopping 3 million rupees.  So is the book made of gold?  It is indeed made of gold leaf and is probably the most expensive cookbook – the money  raised went toward feeding 200,000  children through the Smile Foundation.

So what are the strengths of ‘Utsav’ and what can we learn from it?

Well, we did more than get a peek – here are some of the best images from the book which show what really needs to be celebrated about India – its many religions and its diversity, its humanity and its traditions. India has its difficulties but by and large India is a synonym for oneness and unity where many cultures and religions live – for the most – peacefully together.

Jain worshippers

Jain worshippers

The Holy River

Shivratri celebrated on the Holy River

Amaria Parsi Priests

Amaria Parsi Priests


Sikhs at the Golden Temple

Sikhs at the Golden Temple

In the book Khanna shares the varied religious spots and celebrations and the many dishes that Indians share on their big religious days. I remember how Hindu and Muslim friends would celebrate together on Diwali or Eid and the delicious tastes of mixed celebrations. Indian food is varied and wonderful, with each community sharing its own flavors and methods and dishes.

“We inherit festivals from our ancestors.
They define how we share, our history, ceremonies, rituals, celebrations and our civilizations,” writes Khanna.

Khanna, who is the chef at the Michelin rated Junoon Restaurant in New York and the celebrity host of the TV show MasterChef India, is on to ever more adventures. He is currently involved in the making of Buried Seeds, a documentary about his life by filmmaker Andrei Severny.

Since you can’t buy ‘Utsav’ yet – you can do the next best thing – cook without the cookbook! Vikas has graciously shared some of his best recipes and the photos with us in the accompanying post, so you can celebrate all the big Indian festivals at home with authentic regional dishes! Bon appetit!!

Recipes from the Major Festivals of India – Check them out here!

Celebrating the Festivals of India

Sawan Festival

Sawan Festival

Sharing a meal at Eid

Sharing a meal at Eid


Holi celebrations

Holi celebrations


About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!


  1. via Twitter
    Vikas Khanna‏Verified account @TheVikasKhanna

    Vikas Khanna Retweeted Lavina Melwani

    Thank @lavinamelwani ji.

    Vikas Khanna added,
    Lavina Melwani @lavinamelwani
    The cool cookbook you can’t have!

    Sukanya Nanda
    Mehri Afroz
    Seema Hakhu Kachru
    D Apoorva
    Soumya Khatri
    Madhavi kumari#Madhu

  2. Mamini sahoo‏ @MaminiSahoo Mar 27

    @TheVikasKhanna @lavinamelwani wow

    via Twitter

    🚀‏ @SpaceCoastGal Mar 27

    @TheVikasKhanna This looks absolutely incredible!

    Sonia‏ @Sonia26369264 Mar 27

    @TheVikasKhanna U valued the Incredible India; its divine culture through food that’s bind everyone. Binding the rainbow of religions in one

  3. Via Twitter
    Mehri Afroz and 20 others liked a Tweet you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: Thank @lavinamelwani ji.

    Mehri Afroz Seema Hakhu Kachru D Apoorva Soumya Khatri Kochuthresya Rony Juli Rajput Garima Verma Harsha PRIYANKAツ Mohini masih rjammwal Mamini sahoo Babita Bera

    Mar 28
    PRIYANKAツ and Nancy mehra Retweeted a Tweet you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: Thank @lavinamelwani ji.

    PRIYANKAツ Nancy mehra

    Nvashi0323‏ @nishavashi23 Mar 27

    @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna yes so true d cool cookbook everyone can’t have!!
    0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes
    Mamini sahoo‏ @MaminiSahoo Mar 27

    @TheVikasKhanna @lavinamelwani wow
    0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes
    Mar 27
    Hinal liked some Tweets you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna That’s true

    Mar 27
    Payal Upadhyay liked a Tweet you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna This very unfortunate for us we couldn’t have this legendary cookbook.

    Payal Upadhyay

    Suresh Kumar‏ @Unique_Suresh02 Mar 27

    @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna utshav is the best combination of India 😘😘😍😍
    0 replies 0 retweets 1 like
    Ojaswani Bhalla‏ @bhalla_ojaswani Mar 27

    @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna That’s true
    0 replies 0 retweets 1 like
    Sonia‏ @Sonia26369264 Mar 27

    @lavinamelwani @TheVikasKhanna This very unfortunate for us we couldn’t have this legendary cookbook.

    Mar 27
    Bhoomika Agarwal and 19 others liked your Tweet
    Mar 26: The cool cookbook you can’t have!

    Bhoomika Agarwal Archana Mohammed Elyaas [email protected] Vandana Tiwari Arnab Pal Sahil Khan Daksha Watts Nrusinh bigsrkfan Jasmin Sisodiya Ananda Valli Komalmohapatra PRIVIKAS

    Mar 27
    Komalmohapatra and 3 others Retweeted your Tweet
    Mar 26: The cool cookbook you can’t have!

    Komalmohapatra Vikas Khanna Dana Pancakes………⚡🍪

    Mar 27
    Swati Panigrahi and 69 others liked a Tweet you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: Thank @lavinamelwani ji.

    Swati Panigrahi Hinal sonia abbott🇮🇳 Mehak Kapila Praful Barbudhe Sulagna Das Mandita Paul PRIVIKAS FAISAL JUTT Kinjal Oza Ketasivakumar Dana Hardee C. K. Sreeja B S

    Mar 27
    Nancy mehra and 15 others Retweeted a Tweet you were mentioned in
    Mar 27: Thank @lavinamelwani ji.

    Nancy mehra Hinal Mehak Kapila PRIVIKAS Dana Vikas Khanna FanPage Vikashiny Madhavi kumari#Madhu Ritika Singh Akash Rai Am’s love Mashup😍 Pancakes………⚡🍪 Dimple farheen (AK’S) QUEEN

  4. Via Instagram
    vikaskhannagroupThe cool cookbook you can’t have!
    Thank you @lassi_with_lavina for being a support and a great ambassador of India forever. ❤

    marish_eulalinLucky mann!!!
    tanvithakerGreat sir keep it up😃
    falu_parmar16Oh my god… Its really dreamy,,,(this post)
    jaiinsuman16Amazing,,, wonderful.. Unbelievable..Keep it up..
    thasneem_salihaWell done chef 👏hats off chef 👌👌
    meeta.v.mistryWowwwwww amazing👌👌👌👍
    pallavi_mahakalkarSo Achievement Sir..
    nayeemmohammad50Excellent vikas nd lovvvvv uu uuummaahhhhh
    my_insta_storyAwesome!! You are truly blessed..
    101.princess.xWell done for your achievement vikasji. 👏👏👌🏼👌🏼👍👍
    ariba_sidd028You yourself is an #UTSAV for me…!!!💕💕😘😘
    monikaarya2473Great UTSAV for me
    [email protected] you are the super chef 😄 you have made we Indians soo proud of you n we Indians can proudly say that we have the world’s best chef
    navneeta_14I hv a dream to hold #UTSAV, I hv a bliss to celebrate #UTSAV, I hv You in my life as an #UTSAV. So no regrets. More glories Ur ways Vikas ji ❤💕❤💕❤
    raidah.noorO my dream to

    lassi_with_lavinaThank you Vikas – do tell your fans to visit and enjoy your interview too over there along with all the recipes!
    ruchip14Cool title 😂 yes, sadly, we cant hv it😫
    bediinderpalsinghVery proud of you Vikas…