What would you call a person who eats like a gourmand? Chennai-based food blogger Sundhar aka “GunduPaiyyan” asks this very question. “I was a very fat kid and undoubtedly a foodie.”
Speaking of some of the most memorable dishes he has had and places he has been to, he says “Wasabi ice cream from Tao Of Peng, InterContinental Chennai, is one of the most exotic dishes I have had so far! Vietnamese coffee from The Summer House Eatery is one of my all-time favorites. My current favorite cafe would be Bharat Bistro, been there three times now and not had a single bad experience. My favorite cuisine hands down would be Chettinad cuisine from down South.”
To restaurants, food bloggers are their connection to the public – a regular diner and member of society, who has the ability to connect with and influence other diners to come and visit the restaurant. How do restaurants connect with food bloggers?
Irrespective of the number of followers on Instagram, all food bloggers are treated equally. Sundhar is inclined towards posting the glorifying photos on Instagram. With that being said, he makes sure to have a quick chat with the chef if he found the food lacking in any way, and then visits again. He says “Chefs are basically very good human beings. If you eat food and like food, you’re good to go”. If he gets an invite from a multi-cuisine restaurant, he’s not likely to take it up solely because nobody would go to one looking for a new experience.
GunduPaiyyan says, “I like to write and I was looking for a platform.” That’s how he kicked off with posting reviews on Zomato four years ago and with the level upgrades, the app felt like playing a game and that kept him going! Enthusiastically, he began exploring different restaurants and cuisines to review. Soon, he started getting one or two invites from restaurants. He was pretty happy as he felt that these restaurateurs valued him and that he was building a name for himself. After about a year, when he reached close to 150 reviews on Zomato, he wanted to contribute more to it.
That’s when he decided to explore other platforms and try his hand on Instagram. “I was sure of two things; writing and clicking pictures. For any of you who wanted to know, I use my Google Pixel 2 to click photos,” he says.
Sundhar started food blogging under the pseudonym GunduPaiyyan on Instagram as he thought it sounded catchy. He decided to segregate his page into three divisions, wherein he dedicated the first section to street food, the second for aesthetically appealing dishes and the signature dishes of restaurants. In the last one, whatever he had tried from the restaurant went on the feed. “Street food is something I personally enjoy, so that became one column,” he added. It seemed to him like a very gradual growth.
“One and a half years might not seem like a long period but on Instagram, it is. Food might be the underlying content, but how you write about it and the whole experience showcased is what gives a flamboyant feel to it.”
Sundhar, aka “Gundupaiyyan”
That’s what he perceived while going through the feed of other food bloggers. Slowly and steadily he continued posting pictures and reviewing them with complete honesty. Even to this day, he gets around 4-5 invites weekly.
Speaking of the future, he aspires to become a food consultant where he gets to design the menu for different restaurants. When he was asked if he would suggest food blogging to people he knew, he says you should certainly try your hand at it if you are passionate about food. “If I want to try out a restaurant and I happen to be around that area then I just walk in. That’s how it works for me,” he says.
“Some of My go to restaurants are: Vishranthi for South Indian cuisine, Agarwal Caterers for North Indian, Toscano for Italian and Flower Drum for Chinese.”
Sundhar, Aka GUNDUPAIYYAN