Vikram Vij to kick off new Chef Signature Series at NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute

Five unique new culinary events are on the menu at Niagara College as part of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s latest Chef Signature Series.

This will be the third annual Chef Signature Series served up by Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. Each event showcases the culinary talents of different featured chefs who work alongside the College’s culinary students to bring their signature dishes to event guests at Benchmark – the College’s on-campus teaching restaurant.

“The Chef Signature Series is bringing the industry to the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. Our culinary students will have the extraordinary opportunity of learning from a multitude of top chefs over the span of the series” said Craig Youdale dean of the CFWI. “Our students will not only be exposed to the different styles and personalities of some of the most prominent chefs in Niagara Canada and the United States; they will have a chance to work with them and get a real taste for the industry.”

The 2014-2015 series kicks off on November 12 with celebrity chef and new member of the CBC television show Dragons’ Den Vikram Vij who will bring his specially created dishes to event guests. This will be a return to Niagara College for Vij – who is known for reinventing Indian cuisine. Last fall he was the featured chef at a dinner event at Benchmark and hosted a special presentation for the College’s culinary students and staff. Since then he has been collaborating with the College’s CFWI Innovation Centre to enable the distribution of his Vij At Home meat-based line to be expanded across Canada and attended the College’s Innovation Centre lab opening event on Nov. 11 2014.  See Vikram Vij bio below.

On December 13 the series presents A CFWI Christmas featuring the College’s own world-class chef professors and dedicated staff members who will transform the Canadian Food and Wine Institute building into a holiday party.

Chefs from the Niagara region will steal the spotlight on January 10 showing off the array of talent that exists in the region.

On January 31 2015 the series will continue with top chefs from our nation’s capital.

The series will conclude on March 21 2015 with a New York vs. Chicago event – two hot towns suiting up to find out who will raise the ante.

Each event will be held at 6 p.m. at Benchmark Restaurant located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Tickets are $99 for each event or $399 for the series. For reservations call 905-641-2252 ext. 4619 or email

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

About Vikram Vij

After his early years in New Delhi and Bombay Vikram Vij moved to Austria receiving his chef certificate from the Salzburg Hotel Management School. In 1989 he moved to Canada to work at Alberta’s Banff Springs Hotel.

In 1994 Vikram opened Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver B.C. hailed today internationally as an amazing Indian dining experience. In 2004 Vikram and his wife Meeru Dhalwala opened a second restaurant and market called Vij’s Rangoli selling Vij’s At Home a line of prepackaged gourmet curries. With growing demand a food production facility in Surrey B.C. was constructed for Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine in early 2011.

In June 2014 Vikram opened his third restaurant My Shanti in South Surrey with a menu based on Vikram’s culinary travels. My Shanti quickly received a nomination from Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants one year after Vij’s Railway Express (a mobile food truck) earned the People’s Choice Award.

In 2011 Vikram was given the BC Food Processors Association Rising Star Award and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific Region’s Hospitality and Tourism category.

Vikram has appeared on Top Chef Canada; Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada; and CBC’s Recipe to Riches. October 2014 saw Vikram debut as a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den alongside entrepreneurs Jim Treliving Arlene Dickenson David Chilton and Michael Wekerle.

Vikram and Meeru have published two award-winning cookbooks: Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine and Vij’s at Home: Relax Honey.

They live in Vancouver with their two daughters.


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Michael Wales

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Julie Greco

Communications Specialist

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368

Cell: 905.328.2532