World’s most expensive gold-gilded, handcrafted cookbook auctioned by Vikas Khanna

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It’s a 1,200-page love of labour that’s taken 12 years to compile and on Tuesday, the 12th copy of Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna’s limited edition “Utsav – A Culinary Epic” was auctioned for Rs 30 lakh that will go to feed 200,000 underpriveleged children through an NGO he supports.

“Today is my beloved late father’s birthday and I am proud that this has become more significant for me. I am very proud to share that the 12th copy was sold to (realtor) Rasesh Kanakia at an auction. The bidding opened at Rs 800,000 and the book was finally sold for Rs 3 million (About $45,000.

“It is very heartwarming to see how a book is so treasured to reach this benchmark. This will be the highest in the history of cookbooks and most importantly, the funds raised will feed 200,000 meals to kids through (NGO) Smile Foundation. It feeds the future of our nation,” added Khanna, who also wears the hats of restaurateur, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the judge of MasterChef India Seasons 2-5 and Masterchef Junior.

Describing the book as the “world’s largest compilation of festivals, ceremonies, rituals and foods that symbolise India and its resplendent heritage”, he said it explores the counry through a ‘festival and food lens’ and weaves the old world charm and traditions into the rich tapestry of the nation’s culture and history.

“The food across regions and communities is the jewel that sparkles and makes ‘Utsav’ a precious collection of India’s unique yet diverse and magnificent inheritance. The magnum opus is a kaleidoscope of colors and delightful imagery with each picture telling a story of celebrations — some that continue to thrive while some have got lost with passage of time,” Khanna said.

Twelve handcrafted, gold-gilded, hand-painted copies of “Utsav” have been created. They have been presented to world leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, religious leades like the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis and celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, among others.

The 11th copy has been reserved for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, while the 12th was to have been presented to Apple founder Steve Jobs but he died before this could happen. 

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