“I have never or have been interested to celebrate Women’s day. I believe everyone is equal and we all have an equal platform in this world. We are all unique on our own. This is what I believed in since childhood. Everything I did in my life was based on this,” said Chef Malgudi Kavitha.
Chef Malgudi Kavitha, born in Virddachalam, Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, is from a family of ten children. The fourth-born was known around in her native for being independent and confident. She is known for her ethics and moral standards. She gets this from her father, a High Court lawyer and former Chairman of Kammapuram Panchayat Union Council.
The Chef had various jobs before entering the Culinary world. Kavitha worked as a quality control manager in a Sweets and Savories manufacturing company in her native. She later moved to sell an automatic foam selling machine in Puducherry. From there, she once again moved to work as a reporter in Pudukotai. Finally, she decided to pursue a career in Hospitality management.
“I remember one of my uncles pointed out about any job I took was revolving around the food industry,” quipped Kavitha. “Like every parent, my parents were against a career in this. I did not want to back down as they did not allow me to pursue a career in Navy or Police,” said Chef.
Coming to Chennai to pursue a career in Hospitality management, she had a chance to experience cooking different cuisines. She did her internship in Hotel Mowbrays Inn. Here, Chef Malgudi Kavitha was made a permanent staff for her potential and hard work and was paid the same salary as the older staffs despite being a newbie in the field. A year and a half later, she joined Apollo Sindoori hotels where she worked for the next two years. She moved to Ambica Empire in Vadaplani before her stint in Savera hotels. Kavitha joined Savera in 2006, where she was the only female chef among 250 staffs.
“Being the only women in the kitchen, I was looked at differently and it was very difficult. My colleagues were people who had been with the hotel for nearly 20 to 30 years. Added to this, they were in the age group of above 40s when I was only 30 years old. I was given operations work here, where I had to manage the quality of the food. After my work time, I would work in range, move with the fellow’s staffs to learn the work in the hotel. I knew I had to show my caliber and potential to get recognized here,” said Chef.
Her interaction and her helping tendency gave her recognition among the management. This allowed her to take up more events. She was later recommended to help Chef Damodharan during his Guinness world record.
“I remember when Chef Damu was tired, his family felt bad and were worried over him. I knew I had to do something here. I woke all night staffs in the hotel, played loud music, made all the guests come out of their rooms. This cheered Chef Damu to a point where he forgot all the pain and started dancing,” reminisced Chef Malgudi Kavitha.
She added that Chef Damu and his entire family appreciated her and thanked her for her efforts. She remembers in that very spot, the MD of Savera Hotel, asked her to break chef Damu’s record.
Her first step towards creating two Lima books of records. The first attempt was from 31st October 2012 to 1st November 2012, created a total of 1550 dishes in a span of 35 hours 20 minutes. She planned the entire setup need to for the solo marathon. Chef Malgudi Kavitha worked for a year for it. She trained her body to work for 22 hours with two hours of sleep. I would work in my private kitchen at Keeya’s and then work in Malgudi. Her hard work was tested when 17 hours into the show, Chennai had a cyclone attack.
“Trees were falling, the entire setup was facing heavy winds, and I was asked to stop the solo marathon by the management. I did not, most importantly I could not. I had worked hard for this, and I had to prove those who told me a woman cannot do it. I was in a habit to do things others would say no to, even this nature of myself would not allow me to stop. The management later asked me to sign an agreement saying I would take responsibility if anything happened that day. This was a big decision on my part. I had a lot at stake here. I felt my energy being sucked out in that four hours, yet I had a lot more to fight,” said Chef.
Her team stood with her holding down the setup and heavy trucks were stopped as protection against the wind. Her family and friends were worried about her, praying for her safety. Fours after this, the winds were going down; the cyclone had crossed Chennai. As things settled down, the remaining hours were spent having fun and cooking, added Chef Malgudi Kavitha.
“This was the day when my parents understood what was my profession was all about,” quipped the Chef. Her next attempt was with 1000 home cooks under a single roof called Unavodu Vilayadu, which lasted for 9 hours and 16 mins on May 4, 2014, in YMCA Ground, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Everything in the event was done according to food standards with all the necessary licenses and had an emergency medical team on standby for this. Domestic gas was used in this event since the cooks would not have known how to cook using commercial gas. This was buried in the soil and the connection was given to each table from below.
“This idea came to me after a TV show I did, ‘Ungal Kitchen Engal Chef’ in Puthuyugam. I wanted to show want is cooking to in the culinary industry to break the barriers.
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in the world. I had huge financial difficulties with this event. I had to spend over 24 lakhs the day before the event. It was not possible for me to have this kind of money, but I also could not let the dream of 1000 women get destroyed. This one thing pushed me to ensure I had everything in place for the event,” said Chef Malgudi Kavitha.
This attempt had three records, Assist world record, Limca Book of records and miracle world record. These records gave Chef Malgudi Kavitha global recognition. She later worked in the USA to create Indian dishes in the Indo-American style. Kavitha fought a long way for years to become a Guinness record holder. According to her, one should fight to create a life one wants.
“I am proud to say I have done things nobody has, I called 1000 women to cook, they came trusting me. This has made me a tool to the upcoming Women in the Industry and others,” said Chef Malgudi Kavitha. She wants to cultivate our Indian cuisines and showcase our traditions to the world. She wants to set up a culinary pharmacy to help give a healthy life. Currently, she has her own YouTube channel, Food Tasty.
“I have a responsibility to give and promote healthy food to people. Maybe in the future, I would set up a shop in my native place. But until I can travel around, I want to travel to learn more and also teach what I know,” said Chef on her future plans. She credits her success to the support from her family and friends. She owns a private catering, Keeya’s which is run by her along with help from her friends, Chef Siddarth, Chef Palani Murugan, Chef Bala Krishnan.