Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri – The master chef of the Kerala youth festival for 15 years
Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri is a chef from Kottayam, Kerala, associated with vegetarian cuisine. He is best known for his association with Kerala Kalolsavam (Kerala youth festival) conducted by government of Kerala, where he serves food for all participants, and he has more than 15 years association with Kalolsavam, which makes him a celebrity. He owns the catering service, Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri Foods. In 2023 he got into a controversy when some groups suggested adding non-vegetarian dishes in the food served in youth festival, and Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri, with a broken heart decided to stop association with the youth festival.
A quarter-century association with the profession of cooking
As on 2023, he has been into his profession as chef for 23 years. Over the years he has served food for approximately 2 crore people, which includes India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his official visit to Kerala too. In his illustrious journey as a chef over two decades, he has never received a complaint of health problems after consuming his meals, which Pazhayidom sees as the biggest achievement of his profession.
Pazhayidom started his profession serving Lord Krishna in a local temple
Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri hails from Kurichithanam of Marangattupilly Panchayat, Kottayam district, Kerala. He, a member of Pazhayidom Mana, belongs to a Brahmin family, associated with rituals in temple. Pazhayidom started his profession as an associate of cooking in Kurichithanam Sree Krishna temple.
After a few years, he set on a journey across India, to know the country, its people and tastes better. In the next 6 months he travelled different places, carrying a bag and 2 sets of dress only. Many times he didn’t get food and slept hungry. He also didn’t accept non-vegetarian food, and preferred to stay hungry during many occasions.
He has tried with different jobs, and even worked under many famous chefs before starting an independent career. During his early days he used to assist Malliyoor Priest for Saptaham, and later came to limelight when he became the main chef of Kavadiyar Palace. His association with youth festivals began with Kottayam Revenue Kalolsavan, which lasted for 15 years. Among all catering groups, he gives the less-quoted tender for the Kalolsavan, and over the years served vegetarian food for thousands of participants.
Managing the massive kitchen and serving food for 5 days is not an easy task. From avial and thoran to payasam and rasam, Namboothiri serves the best menu for kids. Following the controversy in the recent Kalolsavam held at Kozhikode, because of fear that people may add poison to the food served to kids, he decided to stop cooking for youth festivals hereafter. He along with his associates guarded the kitchen when the controversy broke out. Many comments which came out through social media and other sources hurt him badly.
About Pazhayidom Namboothiri’s family
Pazhayidom Namboothiri is married to Shalini Antharjanam and the couple has one son and one daughter. His wife is a retired government servant. His son Yadu, now married, helps Pazhayidom in his catering service.