DC Central Kitchen's Sound Bites
Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2013

South India delights with Chef Vinod

Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of south India. Come, Join me as I take you on a culinary journey through South India.You will also have the opportunity to interact with and get culinary demonstrations from leading chefs immersed in the local culinary traditions.



                        Join Chef Vinod on this 13 day culinary adventure to South India.  Guests will enjoy a range of delicious cuisines from Karnataka to Mughlai and Mappilla, with Chef Vinod on hand to divulge the history and secret recipes of the tempting dishes on offer.  Visit bustling local markets, enjoy a cooking class and join a local family for a traditional meal to learn more about the food and culture of this incredible region.  With plenty of time to explore the World Heritage Site of Mamallapuram, the historic city of Mysore, the beautiful Kerala backwaters and the stunning beaches of Kovalam, this tour is sure to appeal to devoted foodies, culture aficionados and interested travellers of all ages.                                                                                                                   

Tour Highlights


• Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram and indulge in a delicious South Indian Thali meal • See the sights of beautiful Mysore, including the bustling local market • See a traditional Kathkali dance performance and dine at the famed Malabar Junction restaurant • Experience a hands-on cooking demonstration and lunch at a local house in Cochin • Enjoy a traditional lunch as you cruise along the scenic backwaters of Kerala - See more at:

South India Delights With Chef Vinod  13 Days  



                                                   On arrival at Chennai airport, your tour escort will meet you outside the customs gate and escort you in air-conditioned Indian made deluxe buses to Covelog (35km/approx 1hr drive). Overnight at Vivanta by Fisherman's Cove TaJ



Start your morning with a trip to Mamallapuram - Its enviable position on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal, guarantees that this is a popular place to stay. Spend time on the white-sand beach shaded by casuarina trees and hire a bike to pedal through the surrounding countryside but make sure you allow time to explore this wonderful open-air museum, much of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arjuna's Penance -Nothing can prepare you for the wonderful bas-reliefs covering two huge boulders. The exquisite detail, dating from the 7th century, depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayan mountains as well as scenes from Indian daily life. The Five Rathas You won't believe that these shrines are carved whole from an outcrop of rock. Each of the five temples is dedicated to heroes from the great epic of the Mahabharata. Spend time admiring the detail of the carvings which include gods, humans and elephants and wonder why the temples are incomplete and were never consecrated. Shore Temple Relish the delightful seaside location, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, and landscaped gardens surrounding the Shore Temple, a popular place for the locals to visit. Dedicated to both Vishnu and Shiva, the decorative beauty of the temple, built in Dravidian style, has suffered erosion by its proximity to the sea. Experience South Indian thali meals  is served in Banana leaf, it is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle, papad and a sweet dish. Chef Vinod may insists you try this by eating by your hand!!!!  Return to Hotel and relax. Evening Enjoy the fresh catch of the day cooked with Bay Spice - local peppers, coriander and tamarind. You'll relish the French seafood broth with shredded vegetable, diced seafood and a peg of tender coconut water. (B/L/ D)                                      



Today we depart from Hotel and Drive to the impressive temple town of Kanchipuram covering a distance of 60kms in approx 1.5 hour.  Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, it is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples and its hand-woven silks. Most of the temples are well preserved till date, which were built during 7th and 8th century AD. The prominent temples of Kanchipuram are Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple etc. Kanchipuram silk is famous all over the world. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Return to Chennai to catch a flight to Bangalore. Tonight Chef Vinod welcomes you to the Taj West End hotel to experience a well contemplated Anglo Indian Menu that draws inspiration from the British Raj. The fusion food that emerged during those day’s thus became a staple of the Country’s Anglo- Indian Population. Plunge back into time and indulge in a menu conceptualized with a colonial touch. (B/D)Overnight in Bangalore  -


19 OCT’2013 BANGALORE – MYSORE (140 KMS/3.5 HRS)

Begin with a visit to the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London's Crystal Palace and then drive to Mysore - You will be charmed by the faded grandeur of Mysore, the former capital of the much loved Wodeyars dynasty who reigned from the 16th century. A city rich in heritage, make sure you discover its royal palaces, sacred temples and majestic buildings but leave time to stroll through some of its many parks and gardens or along a wide leafy boulevard. Evening enjoy an exclusively designed menu by Chef Vinod that features traditional Karnataka cuisine, dinner will be a love of labor, full of nostalgic memories-a very special treat indeed!   Overnight in Mysore (B/D)   


Morning we visit Devaraj Market - Most colourful local market, Mysore Palace -You can't fail to be impressed by this vast palace, with its turrets, domes and arches and an opulent interior with intricately carved doors and ceilings. Wander through the luxuriously furnished rooms, once home to the royal family, and admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace -Spend time perusing the collection of 19th century paintings in this former palace. The skill of the Indian artists, using natural vegetable and mineral dyes, is extraordinary. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here. Evening Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower).  Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down. This evening enjoy Mughlai food at Olive garden (windflower). Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendor and Chef Vinod will explain the layering of the spices that gives each preparation an exotic taste and flavor. Taste Saffron, almonds, raisins, apricots and pistachios in the dishes prepared specially for you tonight. Overnight In Mysore (B/D)                                     


21 OCT’2013 MYSORE – CALICUT (210 KMS/5 HRS)

Drive to Calicut and visit Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit the fish markets with Chef Vinod who will point out the many varieties of seafood caught fresh daily off these shores and the special ways the locals prepare it for their families. Later venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street with many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore, which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary seamen. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You can also visit a century old tile factory founded by the Germans and later acquired by the British. The century old machinery and systems that are still in use to produce tiles and bricks make for a very interesting visit. Check in to you resort.  Tonight enjoy a special dinner featuring Moppilla Cuisine -The cuisine of Kerala Muslims, well known for its delicate blend of spiciness and subtle mix of ingredients that add a touch of the exotic! The Mappilas of Malabar love eating and cooking has developed into an art-form that is perfected by every girl by the time she gets married. Ask any Mappila man, and he will swear by his mom's 'Thalassery biriyani'. Mappila cuisine is one of the most exotic, and yet, one of the least known, of India's major cuisines.Like any regional cuisines, Mappilas have also developed a cuisine that makes the best use of locally available ingredients. As such, most dishes are made from various forms and combinations of rice, banana, coconut and egg, besides of course, meat. In addition, the Muslim tradition of using lots of dry fruits can be seen even here. Over night in Calicut (B/D) 



Today we drive to Cochin with its wealth of historical associations and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas; the fascinating city of Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Cochin now renamed Kochi, boasts one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures, which bear testimony to the different influences that the city has acquired from the world over. Cochin is a fascinating synthesis of old and new. This evening watch a performance of the Kathakali dance. The epic Ramayana comes to life at a Kathakali performance, the traditional Keralan dance, where characters use larger than life gestures, wear outrageous costumes and dramatic make up. Afterwards enjoy dinner at the Malabar Junction, a superb, open-sided restaurant in a garden. It is known throughout India for its exceptional food, probably the best pasta in India!. Overnight in Cochin  

DAY 8            

 23 OCT’2013 COCHIN  

   This morning take a Cooking Class at house of Nimmi Paul. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor for more than twenty years offers food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. We will also arrange for Market trip –like visit vegetable market and spice market.Guests are also provided the opportunity to enjoy a meal with an Indian family whereby they can enjoy delicious food in homely ambience, interact with members of the host family and experience the nuances of a joint family system. The unique experience brings you in close touch with the traditions; values and cultural ethos of this enchanting land. Afternoon visit the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. Continue on to visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. Culminate the tour at Fort Kochi, which is said to be the oldest European settlement in India. This evening is free to explore a local restaurant in town or visit the famous beach with the Chinese fishing nets Overnight in Cochin (B/L)  



This Morning we  drive to Alleppey - Board a boat for a lazy few hours drifting along shimmering waterways passing coconut groves, a green patchwork of rice paddies and isolated villages where daily life is dominated by the rhythm of the waters. Pass boats laden down with cargo and fishermen throwing their nets from small rowing boats and watch small ferry boats busily crisscrossing the rivers   Enjoy your Traditional Lunch served on Boat.  Evening Disembark from House boat and further drive to Kumarakom - the enchanting backwater destination slumbers on the bank of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!!The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. Arrive in Kumarakom and check in to hotel where rooms will be pre-booked. Evening meal will be an informal feast with dishes chosen by Chef Vinod and specially prepared by the hotel chefs, perhaps Chef Vinod will prepare for you while you watch one of his signature dishes!  (Payment for this dinner will taken by clients at their own) Overnight in Kumarakom  (B/L)      

DAY 10

 25 OCT’2013 KUMARAKOM  

      Yoga enthusiasts will want to rise early for a morning session with a Yoga master in a serene setting at the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure for spa/ayurveda and independent activities. Overnight in Kumarakom (B)   

DAY 11



Drive to Kovalam beach covering a distance of 195 kms in approx 6 hours. Kovalam is a renowned beach destination. With three adjacent crescent beaches, it has been a favorite of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, and convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centre. Overnight in Kovalam (B)  

DAY 12

 27 OCT’2013 KOVALAM


      Day will be at leisure. Relax on the warm palm-fringed sands, rejuvenate your senses with some ayurvedic treatments, or wander along the headland. Standing at the old lighthouse you can watch the sky and waters burn as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Evening enjoy a sumptuous fare well dinner at residing hotel. Overnight in Kovalam (B/D) PLAN YOUR DAY AND CHOOSE FROM BELOW SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:1. ORIENTATION CITY TOUR OF TRIVANDRUM. ALSO EXPERIENCE A RIDE ON LOCAL BUSES!Visit Napier Museum & Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & National holidays). Built in the 19th century, this Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Next visit Sree Chithra Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & Wednesday forenoons) - located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. Further visit the Kanakakunnu Palace - the palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes and the University Observatory - located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 meters above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here. In order to give the guests a more authentic experience, we will arrange a short ride using local buses. An amazing sight to watch! These colorful buses are part of everyday life!

2. A SHORT MOVIE EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL THEATREEnjoy the experience of an electrifying local Malayalam movie flick at a local theatre. Experience and watch the local people enjoying the dance, emotions of their favorite actress. 

DAY 13


After breakfast, our representative will escort you to Trivandrum International airport (30 min approx) for your flight to onward destination.                                     


Chinese fishing nets in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala


Houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala


Aleppey fish curry cooked in an earthern ware pot with coconut milk & "Kodam puli" & curry leaves

  Backwaters of kerala

Kerala back waters


Enjoying Breakfast at Mamallapuram - Vivanta by Taj  


Mysore Palace, Mysore (Karnataka)

526092_366121440111788_1565442550_n Fresh Turmeric plant in Kerala


Shallots galore! on the way to Calicut from Mysore


 On the way to the Synagogue in Kochi ( Cochin), Kerala


At Kanchi Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu - The oldest temple of Kanchipura


At the Lalit Mahal Palace hotel, where we will be staying.


With tea plantation workers on the way to Calicut from Mysore


Devaraja Market in Mysore 


At a small scale cashew processing plant in Kerala.


spiced infused water at Taj West End - Banglaore - Fennugreek and "Ajwain"



Masala Omelette at Taj West End, Bangalore, India