He was a first class cricketer, an actor and now, a very successful businessman. Wearing many hats does not stop Madhukar Nekkanti from doing something more magnificent – take his native home food places. His social networking page, Foodies in Andhra, is taking the world by storm. People just love peeping into the space every now and then to get a hang of some of the most authentic and rare Andhra dishes. Madhukar, who is creating an internet rage with this mission has bigger and better plans ahead. KostaLife catches up with this peppy Bezawada Abbai over a casual chat.
You are making the world fall for Andhra Food. How did you come up with this idea?
It all started as a family affair at first. The idea was to showcase hidden culinary skills of the mothers and ladies in our family circle. I grew up eating some of the most delectable and authentic Andhra dishes whipped up by my mother along with other cuisines. Our cooks were also perfectly trained by my mom. I wanted to show the world all those delicacies, some of which are almost forgotten. Then came the idea; every house has its own authentic and ancestral recipes. Housewives who prepare them also should be recognized and should have a platform where like minded people meet and exchange these recipes.
Clubbing both the thoughts, I immediately started a group, Foodies in Andhra.
I had first started the group with my relatives and close friends. We were around 2000 people. The group and the page went viral and became a global dais for many foodies. Now we have 32000 plus followers and counting.
Your love for food reflects deeply in what you are doing. Tell us more about your food love
My father has this nature of relishing food with soul. May be by genes I am also blessed with the same love for food. Since childhood I’m exposed to various cuisines. And as I’m a cricketer I have traveled a lot and relished a wide range of food; right from street food in Thailand, Bangkok etc to top tier restaurants in United States, London, Australia and INDIA.
Apart from Andhra, what are your other favorite cuisines?
I love many; Chettinadu chicken, Kannada Holiga, Punjabi Paneer Tikka etc to Arabian Shawarma, Lebanese chicken and England’s Fish and chips. I also love digging into some of those Thai cuisines. For me FOOD IS GOD..IT HAS NO RELIGION..NO REGION..
What are your plans ahead in a mission to showcase Andhra Food to the world?
As of now I’m working out on starting a website completely focusing on food. We also have plans to do roadshows on regional authentic cuisines, quick videos with recipes, procuring rare and authentic Andhra dishes and vending them through my website.
FIA is going places with people wanting to try out some of those amazing cuisines. How do you curate information for your readers?
Sometimes, I personally visit those places and give live videos about the food from the location. Then, we take the pictures of the food and present it in our group. The best part about us is that we don’t exaggerate with the reviews.
Clearly, you are a foodie who keeps amazingly fit. Do share the secret!
(Laughs) I enjoy each meal as a soul enlightening process. I eat everything I like but in small portions. Eating at the right time sounds simple but I follow that religiously which plays an important role along with working out. Thanks to my cricketing saga as I played for rest of India team etc as a fast bowler, fitness still remains in my blood. I work out daily along with some Yoga.
Thanks to you, people get to know about some of the most authentic food joints in the nook and corner of the state. How do you feel transcending down such nostalgia to the present generation?
Yes of course! Babai hotel in Vijayawada..Subbaih mess in Kakinada..Rose milk in Rajamundry..Shahghouse in Hyderabad; the list goes on. These places are all known for their authenticity. Every one has got their own memories with some of these places. If someone posts from here they immediately get connected and their childhood memories are evoked. Many of them personally tell me about this experience, mostly NRIs. They show these pictures to their kids and explain them the beautiful memories attached with those places. Many youngsters after seeing the posts here specially visit such places. I feel very elated during those times.
Our ROOTS are also important..We should carry forward our rich culture and heritage.
We should protect our Authentic dishes which were planned so beautifully keeping the climatic and regional conditions of that particular periods. Many of them also acts as medicine s for certain ailments. Now, if we don’t pass these traditional dishes to the present generation, they will get to a stage where they belong nowhere. Eating our own traditional food made with healthy and less processed ingredients makes a complete difference. What I have seen with our cuisine is that it mainly emphasizes on using freshly ground masalas, powders and gravies.
Do you think our quality of eating good food has gone down considerably as compared to our ancestors?
Absolutely true. We have lost all the authentic ingredients. And as the fast food revolution is soon catching up, I think people are lazy to ask their mothers what to eat at homes as well.
People really want to see FIA go next level. Any plans?
Already, a team from FIA has started lot of charity events, such as food distribution to orphanages. Recently we did a blanket drive and distributed 2000 blankets to orphanages and old age homes. The feeling is rather fulfilling.
“Lastly, every housewife should be appreciated; that is my only motive”
KostaLife wishes Madhukar Nekkanti the very best in all his great food endeavors.