Vikram Vij is a Vancouver chef, restaurateur, author and television personality has written several cookbooks as well as his autobiography. Photo: Courtesy of Vikram Vij

> Shelf Life

Vancouver chef Vikram Vij on His Favourite Book of All Time and What He’s Reading Next

The Vancouver chef's all-time favourite book is A Fine Balance by Rohinston Mistry / BY Athena McKenzie

> What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why?

The book is called Flame, and it is the story of a woman named Shahnaz Husain, who built an empire of beauty salons in India. She is the flame: through all the storms life brought her, not one could douse her spark of free spirit.

A Fine Balance

> What book can’t you wait to dive into?

I want to read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts again. It is such a fun read, and I love the incredibly vivid portrait it paints of Bombay.

> What’s your favourite book of all time?

Without a shadow of a doubt, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

> What book completely changed your perspective?

You might think an autobiography wouldn’t change your own perspective, but my own book – Vij: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada With Indian Spices in His Suitcase – did just that. It made me stop and realize what I’d achieved; it made me take time to look over my mistakes and failures and to recognize the journey I had come on. It completely changed my own view of myself, even though I’d already lived it. Sometimes you really do need to take time to smell the roses.

Martin Luther King
Photography: Getty Images: Dinodia Photos (Gandhi); Bettmann (MLK Jr.); BET Awards 2020 (Obama); Gideon Mendel (Mandela)

> If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be?

Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Michelle Obama. And I’d just cook and let them all do the talking. I think listening to everything they would say would absolutely change the world!

More Shelf Life: 

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on What She’s Reading Next

Molly Johnson on James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Candacy Taylor





Our Book Club Newsletter Will Keep You in the Know