My new favorite cooking show on YouTube is an unlikely candidate. Being experienced in Indian cooking, I don’t often go online to find out how Indian people like to make things, because I can go to my mother or other personally known experts for subcontinental cuisine data mining. I’d rather learn about say, Chinese or South American recipes. So I was skeptical when YouTube’s AI algorithms suggested something new, which I very nearly skipped over. But Grandpa Kitchen is a program based in India that has stolen my heart, despite the cooking show not even having any sort of kitchen to speak of. And I’m not alone: there are millions of hits per video and a massive global fan base including nearly 6 million subscribers built up in just the last two years. You could call it a sensation, and it’s pretty unique at that.
Grandpa Kitchen features an elderly, weather-beaten gentleman with a gangster silver mustache who dons a lungi and does all of the cooking outdoors on a Telangana farm over open flames in giant pots, pans, or grills. The scenery is gorgeous and peaceful. The quantities of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food being prepared are gigantic, because “Grandpa” Narayana Reddy and his team feed the food to a large group of needy town orphans at the end of every episode in a touching display of charity that never fails to melt my heart. The grub is also world-class, and besides Indian Grandpa expertly makes Japanese, Italian, American, Chinese, and other types of dishes exceedingly well. I have seen over a dozen episodes at this point, and every single recipe looks perfectly seasoned and on-point despite the massive quantities of seafood, vegetables, meat, fats and spices required each time. The ratio just gets nailed, along with the timing over an open fire. This guy has been living food all his life and it shows.
Perhaps best of all, like all great grandparents, Grandpa has this sense of humor that is at once disarmingly self-deprecating, compassionate, and cocky. Grandpa clearly knows he is now a celebrated star on YouTube, and he knows he is a master chef, but also accepts that his accent, limited use of English words, actions and mannerisms are all comical, so he hams it up. In one of my favorite mannerisms, in every episode you will see him introduce himself to the audience in a heavy Indian accent, “This is YOUR Grandpa!” Yes sir, mine are both long gone sadly, and I am letting you fill right in.
We cannot think of a better charity to get behind right now in India. Support this channel so they keep going! Watch it now for fun! Donate on their Patreon Page! Learn how to make some awesome food in the process!
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor