CHEF Vikram Vij took home the prestigious Business Person of the Year award Thursday night at the Surrey Business Excellence Awards.
Vij joined the city’s booming business community in 2008 when he broke ground on his food production facility on 55th Avenue and he recently opened his newest restaurant, My Shanti, at Morgan Crossing in South Surrey.
“I’m honoured that the Surrey Board of Trade has given me this award,” said Vij. “But really I should thank the city’s community for opening its arms to our production facility and, more recently, to My Shanti. Surrey is such a vibrant place to do business – the community is made up of people from all over the world who really appreciate good food.”
The Surrey Board of Trade said chef Vij is a shining example of a well-rounded businessperson – from leadership and planning to customer-focus and community involvement – making him the perfect candidate for the award.
“The Surrey Board of Trade was pleased to award Vikram Vij Surrey’s 2014 Business Person of the Year,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “He exceeded the judges’ expectations.”
Vij opened his 28,000-square-foot production facility in Surrey in 2011, after three years of construction. The factory is used to cook and package Vij’s At Home, his line of frozen meals that are sold in hundreds of grocery stores across Canada.
But the gem of Vij’s business ventures in Surrey is My Shanti, which literally sparkles on the edge of the city’s go-to shopping and dining destination, Morgan Crossing, at Croydon Drive and 24th Avenue. The top half of the exterior wall is covered in thousands of shimmering silver mirrored discs.
“We wanted to bring our Indian food to Surrey since opening our facility on 55th Avenue and I’m so happy that My Shanti is now serving delicious meals to the people of Surrey,” said Vij.
Vij’s Restaurant has also recently been nominated in the Small Business BC Awards, in the Premier’s People’s Choice category.
VIJ was born in India, went to Austria at the age of 20 and moved to Canada in 1989. In September 1994 Vikram opened Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver and in 1995, his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, joined him and the two began collaborating on the menu.
In 2004, Vikram and Meeru opened up a second restaurant and market called Vij’s Rangoli. Vikram’s third restaurant, My Shanti in South Surrey, opened in Spring 2014.
Vikram has his own range of frozen meals, Vij’s At Home, available in many major retailers across Canada.
Vikram was a guest judge on Top Chef Canada in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was a judge on the first season of Chopped Canada. Vikram Vij made his debut as a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den in October 2014.
In 2012, Vikram, along with Vancouver food truck experts Gourmet Syndicate, launched Vij’s Railway Express, a mobile food truck selling fresh-cooked cuisine based on Vikram’s travels through India. In October 2013, Vij’s Railway Express was awarded the inaugural People’s Choice Award from Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine, as Canada’s Best New Restaurant.
Vikram and Meeru have published two award-winning cookbooks: Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey.