“Two westerners and a team of locals from Chennai starting a food establishment in the country of spice and flavor? And we have less than a month to do it? Yea it sounds crazy,” stated DJ Herzog.
DJ Herzog is from Denver, Colorado and studied Hospitality Management at CSU. He served two terms with the Peace Corps in Panama and currently lives in Chennai, India where he and a friend are starting a cafe at the Kalaiselvi Karunalaya Social Welfare Society, KKSS, Campus in Chennai.
KKSS was founded in 1983 by a young zealous post graduate, Mr. A. Purushothaman, who wanted to educate the poorest people from the most marginalised communities. Now it has grown into a huge social service organization working for rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned children, the abandoned elderly, women in distress, people of gypsy community, people addicted to drugs/liquor and victims of natural disasters in rural and urban Tamil Nadu. These people need help – a home, an education, someone with whom to share their problems, or just care and companionship. Yet, having little or no money and no-one to turn to, they are often left neglected and alone. So, by providing shelter, support, counselling, and empowerment, we give them a chance to live the life they deserve. One filled with hope and happiness.
The whole idea of the restaurant is to teach skills and give work experience to the women, and pay for the education costs for the children. All proceeds go to the KKSS Community.
DJ states, “So, here we are- 5 days in and we are already working overtime to make this dream a reality. So far we have a great architect who built us a really cool (literally and figuratively) building, a design team working on some impressive installations, a decorations team using recycled plastic, an artist that will make a detailed mural, and a carpenter helping us knock out the project… and they are all from Chennai!!!”
So what are they serving at the restaurant? South Indian Style Burritos. The team will take all the delicious flavors and foods of South India and roll it up in Chapati bread. They made the world’s first Sathyam Burrito yesterday and “it was delicious”. Aside from that, the restaurant will offer the iconic Filter Coffee from South India, a few Indian-inspired ice creams, and a lot of other tasty treats.
The restaurant wants to launch on February 2nd. You can keep up with daily video blogs on Instagram @djherzog or @saskiaathlene.