India’s very own “soup” or “khichdi kitchen” just fed over 7 million poor and helpless souls across India. All this because of the relentless efforts of an Indian Michelin-starred chef who was pained by the images of migrants left without food and shelter. Covid-19 has roused many to help the needy. Masterchef, author of 37 books, filmmaker and hospitality investor with a double PhD, Vikas Khanna is feeding millions with his ini-tiative #FEEDINDIA.
It all started as a click on a relief site to donate to helpless and needy Indians, which turned out to be suspect. It made the New York-based chef want to start his own relief efforts.Today, #FEEDINDIA has crossed over 7 million meals with the help of National Disaster Relief Force as its logistics partner with head Satya Narayan Pradhan and his team helming efforts on the ground. #FEEDINDIA has a satellite kitchen spread across roads and highways to cater to those heading back home or left stranded during the lockdown.
“I had first tweeted and asked everyone to check if their neighbourhood needs anything, and even started an open email where I would get thousands of messages. Yesterday morning (May 26), we crossed seven million meals. I dedicated the seven millionth meal to Chef José Andrés whose World Central Kitchen is now active in dozens of US cities, providing over 250,000 fresh meals every day. #FEEDINDIA started at gas stations in India and transformed into food stations on highways, for anyone who wanted a meal,” says Vikas.
Vikas recalls how his first attempt to help in April was directed towards inhabitants of leprosy and old age homes. He wondered how they were all surviving under stringent lockdown. The first was an old age home near Bengaluru where the logistics man disappeared with the large amount of rice and lentils! Khanna was disheartened and as he complained to his mother in Amritsar about the failed attempt, and his constant battle with deadlines, she told him not to lose heart. “I decided to help those who need it most as,” he says. “We have two kitchens in Noida and Mumbai and mobile kitchens that move across 135 cities in India,” says the chef who works on his deadlines in NY by day and on food relief for India by night.The food consists of khichdi and juice which Khanna now hopes to improvise upon.