Chennai: A trip to Tamil Nadu’s cultural and historical capital Madurai is incomplete without savoring the unique flavors that the city’s numerous eat-outs and hotels offer. The latest to join the city’s sought-after list of dine-ins is one with a noble cause – the Madurai Transkitchen.
Run by members of the transgender community, it is a 7-table, 30-seater restaurant located at the heart of Madurai city. The partially solar-powered facility employs eight transgenders on a full-time basis and four on a part-time basis. The idea behind the restaurant is patterned after a similar initiative that took off in 2019 in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore.
The idea was brought to fruition, thanks to the efforts of three NGOs that have been working with marginalised sections of society and helping in their empowerment.
“We’ve been working with the transgender community, women working in the unorganised sector, fishermen etc. After the success in Coimbatore, we wanted to replicate the Transkitchen model here in Madurai as well and that’s when we found the right people for the task. This is a collaborative effort supported by NGOs Swasti, Vrutti and Arghyam,” Priya Babu, a transgender and the Regional Programme Manager of Swasti told Zee media.
Jayachitra, a transgender based out of Madurai has been running a successful catering business out of her home in the city for over a decade. She used to take small orders and few big ones, but scaling up was a challenge. That’s where TransKitchen came as a savior.
The newly set up restaurant serves vegetarian and non-vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner at nominal prices, especially keeping in mind the patients and their caregivers that visit the nearby government hospital. Whether one craves for idlis that are priced at Rs 6 or a full south Indian meal or non-veg biryanis priced between Rs 100 and 200, Transkitchen is the place to visit. Unlike other restaurants, they serve food to appease one’s hunger as well as provide food for thought to help defeat the social stigma faced by trans-community.
The eatery also employs a woman to handle the billing counter and a man to make flaky or fluffy parottas, Madurai style. Hardly, three days into its operations the hotel has received an enthusiastic response from the people of Madurai and managed to rake in good profits.
According to those that run the hotel, their USP includes tasty food, nominal rates and the unique concept which is attracting a good number of patrons, including families and students and casual diners.