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Host: Gayathri

Chennai (Madras), India

USD
$14-$30 per person

A traditional vegetarian meal in Chennai

Host offerings
  • Apartment
  • Home cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking class
  • Market visit
  • Food tour

Meet Gayathri

Gayathri was raised by her grandma, who was an expert cook - she hailed from Thanjavur, which boasts of a rich and unique food culture that Thanjavureans are very proud of! It is from her grandmother that Gayathri learned to cook - she happily recounts, “as a child, with not much entertainment to distract myself, I would regularly join her in the kitchen and watch her throw in various ingredients with great ease, and how magically it turned into the most aromatic dish.” Apart from her family recipes, Gayathri also has a large collection of recipes that she cut out from weekly magazines as young as a 15-year-old – who was often seen in the kitchen experimenting with ingredients and recipes she collected. Now with two teen boys, a husband who loves experimenting with food, and parents who gleam with joy and pride, Gayathri has a large audience to cook, who thoroughly enjoy her experiments in the kitchen. Apart from cooking, she is also very curious to learn about different cultures and is deeply interested in history. Gayathri and her family are travel enthusiasts and have enjoyed hosting friends from different parts of the world. And now she is excited to meet travelers and introduce them to South Indian cuisine and culture.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-5 guests) Gayathri says that in her home food is the very first thing they discuss in the morning! She takes pride in cooking all the meals for her family and making her own snacks and homemade spice powders. She hails from a Tamil brahmin family and they only cook vegetarian food at home. For a meal at Gayathri’s home, you can except to try a traditional, vegetarian meal while seated on the floor, eating with your hands from banana leaves. You will be served a simple meal that Gayathri and her family eat at home, it will include rice, vegetables, a curry, homemade curd, pickle and papad. A few dishes that you might try are sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables to eaten with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter)), poriyal (stir fried vegetables cooked with mild spices and coconut) and kuzhi paniyaram (rice dumplings) served with kaara chutney (tomato onion chutney simmered with mild spices). End your meal with some delicious filter coffee.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) In your South Indian cooking class in Chennai, learn to cook one main dish and one side dish. In your 1.5-hour, hands-on cooking class Gayathri will also teach you about the various medicinal herbs used in a traditional Tamil brahmin kitchen. You will also cook in traditional vessels, such as kal chatti (soap stone vessel), eeya chombu (tin alloy vessel) or mann chatti (terracotta vessel) – depending on the dish you will be cooking. To make the tomato-onion chutney you will also use a traditional stone grinder. Chop, stir, fry, learn about local ingredients, spices and some tip and tricks, before you sit down to share the meal you helped prepare.

Notes: Gayathri only offers a vegetarian meal. Instead of the traditional meal, if you'd like to try South Indian breakfast foods, Gayathri can offer dosa (a thin pancake in South Indian cuisine made from a fermented batter of ground black gram and rice), sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables), medu vada (traditional South Indian fritters made with black lentils) served with coconut chutney and filter coffee. So please let her know your preference when booking your Chennai cooking experience online.

Languages spoken: English, Tamil

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables) or rasam (spicy and tangy South Indian soup or stew), served with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter)
  • Poriyal (stir fried vegetables cooked with mild spices and coconut)
  • Kuzhi paniyaram (rice dumplings) served with kaara chutney (tomato onion chutney simmered with mild spices)
  • Homemade curd, pickle and papad
  • Filter coffee

Traveler reviews

5.0 (6)
This was delightful! Gayathri and her husband welcomed us warmly into their home. The experience was fun and we learnt a lot. The food was delicious! The hosts are fluent in English, the kitchen is clean and they used filtered water for all the cooking, so we felt very comfortable.
- rachbp13 February 11, 2024
This was one of the highlights of our incredible trip to south India. We met Gayathri and Ram in their lovely home and Gayathri showed us how to prepare a vegetarian feast! She is a passionate cook and she really cooks from scratch. Her food was absolutely delicious and we will be able to make it at home. However, this was much more than a cooking class and a dinner. It was a cultural exchange. It was so interesting to meet a family who are similar to us but live such a different life. Gayathri and Ram were equally as interested in us and we talked non-stop! It really was such a wonderful experience. We did this on the last night of our trip and wish we had done it earlier! We would have definitely visited again and spent some more time and done some more cooking with this kind and welcoming family!
- sheena January 14, 2024
First of all, I would like to say that her cooking class was amazing! Even though I had a lot of requests, she kindly responded to my requests via email even before I went. During the lesson, she answered each and every question carefully, and I was able to experience many things that I would only be able to experience in her cooking class. Also, her family was very kind and wonderful, and I wanted to stay there longer. Her family sent me in front of her home, and I was moved to tears by their wonderful personalities. I highly recommend her cooking class when you come to Chennai. I will definitely visit her again next time I come to Chennai.
- Sightseer January 01, 2024
Gayathri and Ram were wonderful hosts! Not only did we prepare and share a delicious meal, but we learned SO much about Brahmin culture. Afterwards, Ram drove us to buy the necessary ingredients, spices and equipment to prepare the same dishes in Japan where we live. We were deeply moved by their genuine generosity and friendliness. It was a lovely meal with a lovely couple. Thank you!
- Meidan September 25, 2023
I learned some really delicious Brahmin dishes. Both the teacher and her husband listen to a lot of things and make time to make sure the students understand. You should have this amazing experience when you go to Chennai.
- _I4975P September 20, 2023
Wonderful meal! Wonderful couple! Gayathri and Ram were wonderful hosts! Not only did we prepare and share a delicious meal, but we learned SO much about Brahmin culture. Afterwards, Ram drove us to buy the necessary ingredients, spices and equipment to prepare the same dishes in Japan where we live. We were deeply moved by their genuine generosity and friendliness. It was a lovely meal with a lovely couple. Thank you!
- Meidan379 September 16, 2023
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Gayathri

$14-$30 USD

per person
100% VETTED
Learn more
  • No waiting! Booking confirmed instantly
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Private experience
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$20 $18 $14
Cooking Experience + Meal
$30 $28 $26
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$20 $18 $14
Cooking Experience + Meal
$30 $28 $26
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm 7:00pm-9:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-9:00pm

Meet Gayathri

Gayathri was raised by her grandma, who was an expert cook - she hailed from Thanjavur, which boasts of a rich and unique food culture that Thanjavureans are very proud of! It is from her grandmother that Gayathri learned to cook - she happily recounts, “as a child, with not much entertainment to distract myself, I would regularly join her in the kitchen and watch her throw in various ingredients with great ease, and how magically it turned into the most aromatic dish.” Apart from her family recipes, Gayathri also has a large collection of recipes that she cut out from weekly magazines as young as a 15-year-old – who was often seen in the kitchen experimenting with ingredients and recipes she collected. Now with two teen boys, a husband who loves experimenting with food, and parents who gleam with joy and pride, Gayathri has a large audience to cook, who thoroughly enjoy her experiments in the kitchen. Apart from cooking, she is also very curious to learn about different cultures and is deeply interested in history. Gayathri and her family are travel enthusiasts and have enjoyed hosting friends from different parts of the world. And now she is excited to meet travelers and introduce them to South Indian cuisine and culture.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-5 guests) Gayathri says that in her home food is the very first thing they discuss in the morning! She takes pride in cooking all the meals for her family and making her own snacks and homemade spice powders. She hails from a Tamil brahmin family and they only cook vegetarian food at home. For a meal at Gayathri’s home, you can except to try a traditional, vegetarian meal while seated on the floor, eating with your hands from banana leaves. You will be served a simple meal that Gayathri and her family eat at home, it will include rice, vegetables, a curry, homemade curd, pickle and papad. A few dishes that you might try are sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables to eaten with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter)), poriyal (stir fried vegetables cooked with mild spices and coconut) and kuzhi paniyaram (rice dumplings) served with kaara chutney (tomato onion chutney simmered with mild spices). End your meal with some delicious filter coffee.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) In your South Indian cooking class in Chennai, learn to cook one main dish and one side dish. In your 1.5-hour, hands-on cooking class Gayathri will also teach you about the various medicinal herbs used in a traditional Tamil brahmin kitchen. You will also cook in traditional vessels, such as kal chatti (soap stone vessel), eeya chombu (tin alloy vessel) or mann chatti (terracotta vessel) – depending on the dish you will be cooking. To make the tomato-onion chutney you will also use a traditional stone grinder. Chop, stir, fry, learn about local ingredients, spices and some tip and tricks, before you sit down to share the meal you helped prepare.

Notes: Gayathri only offers a vegetarian meal. Instead of the traditional meal, if you'd like to try South Indian breakfast foods, Gayathri can offer dosa (a thin pancake in South Indian cuisine made from a fermented batter of ground black gram and rice), sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables), medu vada (traditional South Indian fritters made with black lentils) served with coconut chutney and filter coffee. So please let her know your preference when booking your Chennai cooking experience online.

Languages spoken: English, Tamil

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Sambhar (a tangy lentil soup with vegetables) or rasam (spicy and tangy South Indian soup or stew), served with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter)
  • Poriyal (stir fried vegetables cooked with mild spices and coconut)
  • Kuzhi paniyaram (rice dumplings) served with kaara chutney (tomato onion chutney simmered with mild spices)
  • Homemade curd, pickle and papad
  • Filter coffee

Traveler reviews

5.0 (6)
This was delightful! Gayathri and her husband welcomed us warmly into their home. The experience was fun and we learnt a lot. The food was delicious! The hosts are fluent in English, the kitchen is clean and they used filtered water for all the cooking, so we felt very comfortable.
- rachbp13 February 11, 2024
This was one of the highlights of our incredible trip to south India. We met Gayathri and Ram in their lovely home and Gayathri showed us how to prepare a vegetarian feast! She is a passionate cook and she really cooks from scratch. Her food was absolutely delicious and we will be able to make it at home. However, this was much more than a cooking class and a dinner. It was a cultural exchange. It was so interesting to meet a family who are similar to us but live such a different life. Gayathri and Ram were equally as interested in us and we talked non-stop! It really was such a wonderful experience. We did this on the last night of our trip and wish we had done it earlier! We would have definitely visited again and spent some more time and done some more cooking with this kind and welcoming family!
- sheena January 14, 2024
First of all, I would like to say that her cooking class was amazing! Even though I had a lot of requests, she kindly responded to my requests via email even before I went. During the lesson, she answered each and every question carefully, and I was able to experience many things that I would only be able to experience in her cooking class. Also, her family was very kind and wonderful, and I wanted to stay there longer. Her family sent me in front of her home, and I was moved to tears by their wonderful personalities. I highly recommend her cooking class when you come to Chennai. I will definitely visit her again next time I come to Chennai.
- Sightseer January 01, 2024
Gayathri and Ram were wonderful hosts! Not only did we prepare and share a delicious meal, but we learned SO much about Brahmin culture. Afterwards, Ram drove us to buy the necessary ingredients, spices and equipment to prepare the same dishes in Japan where we live. We were deeply moved by their genuine generosity and friendliness. It was a lovely meal with a lovely couple. Thank you!
- Meidan September 25, 2023
I learned some really delicious Brahmin dishes. Both the teacher and her husband listen to a lot of things and make time to make sure the students understand. You should have this amazing experience when you go to Chennai.
- _I4975P September 20, 2023
Wonderful meal! Wonderful couple! Gayathri and Ram were wonderful hosts! Not only did we prepare and share a delicious meal, but we learned SO much about Brahmin culture. Afterwards, Ram drove us to buy the necessary ingredients, spices and equipment to prepare the same dishes in Japan where we live. We were deeply moved by their genuine generosity and friendliness. It was a lovely meal with a lovely couple. Thank you!
- Meidan379 September 16, 2023
Read More
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$20 $18 $14
Cooking Experience + Meal
$30 $28 $26
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$20 $18 $14
Cooking Experience + Meal
$30 $28 $26
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm 7:00pm-9:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-9:00pm
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