Published: 27th August 2019
Here's how these engg students are taking the city's food scene by storm with their popular blog 'Chennai Food Trails'
Chennai Food Trails, which has close to 25,000 followers on Instagram, is your ultimate guide to the latest trends in dining out
Like any pair of friends, Saran Avinash and Sandeep Sekar had many things in common – they liked watching movies, reading books and hanging out with their gang. But what really brought them together was a mutual love for food. “We would get really excited whenever a new restaurant opened in town. And even if we had an exam or any important event that day, we would make sure to visit it. Our friends would often say ‘You guys live to eat and not eat to live'. And we’d agree, that’s kind of our motto,” laughs Saran. Last year, they had been sitting in a restaurant and chatting with their friends when one of them took a photo of Saran posing with the dishes. “He posted that photo on his food blog and the response was great. When he told me about this, it got me thinking – why not do something on these lines? And that’s how Sandeep and I decided to come up with an Instagram page, Chennai Food Trails, dedicated to food and food alone,” recalls Saran, who was born and raised in Chennai, like Sandeep.
So yummy: One of their most-liked posts, displaying mouth-watering, Tamilian non-veg fare
Their first Insta post was a restaurant review, with a detailed critique of the food, ambience, service and the price. It garnered around hundred likes within hours of posting and soon, the duo realised that this was their calling. It has only been a little over a year since Chennai Food Trails was born, but the account has more than 24,000 followers already and has become one of the top social media handles for food blogging in the city. “We thrive on networking and relationship-building. When we go to a new restaurant, we make connections there and make sure that they call us if a new menu is being introduced or an offer is going live. This way, we are able to maintain a database which has information pertaining to almost all restaurants and food joints in the city. We also follow other food influencers so that we are aware of new trends emerging in the Chennai food scene,” says Saran, adding, “I think our USP is that we post only honest reviews. If food tastes bad, then it tastes bad. We believe in calling a spade a spade. But at the same time, we believe in only constructive criticism. We do not want to tarnish the image of any restaurant as we know the amount of hard work that goes into setting up one.”
Irresistibly delectable: They focus on making food the centre of attention
However, Saran and Sandeep do not consider themselves to be professional food critics who possess technical knowledge, but rather hard-core foodies who have their own assessment system to rate the restaurants. “I think the ambience is most important, followed by authenticity and flavour of the food. Since we have been frequenting restaurants all around the city for some time now, we know what boxes to tick and what to cross. All in all, we look at whether the culinary experience as a whole was enriching or not,” Saran points out. The duo has achieved so much in such a short period of time (they even do regular giveaways for their followers – the recent one being a OnePlus 7 Pro giveaway) that it is hard to believe that they’re both pursuing BTech at SRM University! So how do they balance studies and their blog? “Honestly, it is not hard at all! If you are passionate about something, you will find a way to do it. And it won’t feel like work at all,” smiles Saran.