The Village Cooking Channel team donated Rs 10 lakh to the Tamil Nadu CM COVID-19 Relief Fund on July 4.

A still of members of the Tamil YouTube page Village Cooking Channel Screengrab
news Food Monday, July 05, 2021 - 12:08

The Village Cooking Channel (VCC) on YouTube reached one crore subscribers, becoming the first Tamil YouTube channel to do so. The show is hosted by a family of farmer-chefs from Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu. VCC gave Rs 10 lakh to the CM COVID-19 relief fund on July 4. The channel was started by Chinna Veeramangalam in April 2018 and features his grandchildren – Murugesan, Tamilselvan, Ayyanar, Muthumanickam and Subramanian – along with Periyathambi, who formerly worked as a caterer.

While Subramanian has an M Phil in Commerce and Muthumanickam studied catering, they say they only follow the guidance of their grandfather, who had learnt cooking from his mother. VCC posted four episodes every week before the lockdown, each featuring one dish. Due to pandemic restrictions, they had been uploading just one video per week.

Apart from the dishes themselves, what sets this channel apart is their signature style of shooting and presentation: the shooting is always done outdoors, in the fields and along river banks in and around Pudukkottai. The dishes are prepared in large quantities, in huge vessels, and after the episode is shot, the food cooked is served to locals. The family behind the channel is said to earn around Rs 10 lakh every month through their YouTube channel, and some additional income from their Facebook page. Around Rs 2 lakh is spent on producing the show.

VCC’s specialty is non-vegetarian dishes, especially dishes made with fish, crab and snails that the team catches from the rivers close by. Their signature dish is winged termites with puffed rice and the episode where they showed how to catch and eat winged termites had become widely popular. Most of the ingredients used are locally sourced. They do not use any electronic gadgets like mixer or blender and use stone grinders. Even utensils like pressure cookers are avoided and the team also uses firewood to cook their meals. 

The channel already had around 7 million subscribers in January 2021, with videos getting as many as 40 million views. In February, the channel won the Black Sheep Award for the Best Food Programme as well. One of VCC’s episodes even featured Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, which was shot during the time he was in Tamil Nadu campaigning for the Assembly elections. In the 14-minute episode, they cooked mushroom biriyani and raita, which Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by Congress leaders Dinesh Gundurao and Jothimani, ate along with the VCC members.  

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