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Vikas Khanna: A Boy With Misaligned Legs Who Crawled Up To Success With The Magic Of His Hands



On December 2nd, 2000, Vikas Khanna landed at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport with no job offer in hand but only a dream in his heart to make it big in life.

When he arrived there, a small restaurant had an opening for a dishwasher. Vikas took the job but he was thrown out in no time when he was asked to step in as a waiter. He says, “I couldn’t speak English at all. Who knew Wild Turkey was a drink and not a meat dish?” With no job in hand, he turned towards some odd jobs. He helped elderly people walk their pets and worked multiple part-time shifts at a small cafe in Tribeca, Manhattan. He remembers that one Christmas Eve, where he was left with only $3 in his pocket and had to choose between paying for food or travel.

Well this is not just the story of someone becoming one of the most well known chefs from India, but also of the pain and failures he had to go through in his childhood, the courage he showed irrespective of his disability, the determination in the struggle he chose for himself against all odds, the people who helped him achieve the impossible and the polite and empathetic nature that made him become a better and respectable human being.

Vikas says, “America mein toh yeh sab karte hai. Udher toh presidents bhi college ke time pe waiters thhe(Everybody faces hardships in America. Even presidents have waited tables during their college years.)

Vikas Khanna: A Boy With Misaligned Legs Who Crawled Up To Success With The Magic Of His Hands

© Vikas Khanna/Forbes

Vikas Khanna, the son of a video cassette library owner in Amritsar, who is today known as the global food icon from India, was born with a condition of misaligned legs and had to wear wooden shoes till his teens. His inability to walk or play like other children often made him a victim of being ridiculed by his peers. Despite the crushing sadness, there was one thing that interested Vikas in in his early days. Instead of playing outside with other children he used to stay home and watch his Biji cook different dishes at home. He says, “at that time, people thought it was crazy that I was being taught to cook and wash utensils. Biji was the only one supporting me in those early years.”

When he turned 13 his braces came off and the doctor said he was now fit to run. By now he had already developed an interest in developing a catering business of his own and one fine day the principal of a school got in touch with his mother and himself to make 580 sweaters to help them raise money for their catering business.

Vikas Khanna: A Boy With Misaligned Legs Who Crawled Up To Success With The Magic Of His Hands

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