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Trans Kitchen’s tasty idlis and dosas add cheer to Chennai

Trans Kitchen latest outlet located in Chennai is drawing people in droves (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@@SwastiHC)

Having opened its third food outlet in Kolathur’s 25th Street, North Chennai two weeks ago, Trans Kitchen, is creating a buzz as it has already become a favourite of residents of the area. The tender and fluffy idlis it is offering is selling like hotcakes as are its crispy and tasty dosas apart from its biryani and fish curry with idlis and noodles.

Run by Jeeva and a team of 10 trans persons, the eatery is not just swarming with customers but also receiving orders for catering for private functions and festivals.

The road to success wasn’t not an easy as even when trans persons are good chefs, people are reluctant to accept them and their food, remarks Jeeva.

Having parted with her family at the age of 13, Jeeva, a transwoman who is the founder and director of Trans Persons Rights Association feels that the community by starting businesses can become independent and create more employment opportunities for other members. It will also help them gain self-respect and inclusivity in the society.

The first two Trans Kitchen outlets were started at Coimbatore and Madurai in 2019 and 2021, respectively. For the Chennai outlet 60 trans persons who were interested in the food industry were chosen and trained. Of them 10 – five trans men and five trans women — were selected to run the restaurant. They were trained by the Sai International Institute of Hotel Management in Saidapet.

Sharing her experience, Jeeva informed that initially they had difficulty in financing the project till HSBC stepped in. Then getting a shop was another obstacle as no landlord was willing to rent the shop to them because of their gender.

In her endeavour, Jeeva was helped by Swasti, a non-governmental organisation working for the marginalised people. Swasti’s regional programme manager and trans woman observed that with people from the trans community getting employed in different sectors like medicine, law enforcement and politics, the outlook of the people is bound to change for the better.

Having tasted success in Chennai, Jeeva now plans to open more such outlets which will provide people with wholesome food at reasonable prices.