CHENNAI: Two pairs of hands move swiftly against the backdrop of a miniature indoor kitchen. While one meticulously stacks the shelves in different compartments with tiny figurines of groceries and spices, another pair starts preparing the day’s meal. Meet city-based sibling duo Saravanan KV and Ranjitha KV who are doling out edible delicacies from their miniature kitchen on their social media page Miniature Cooking Show, since February 6, 2018.
The lockdown has restricted the duo to an indoor kitchen set up in their home. With more than 120 videos, 94,000 subscribers and a million views for every post, the duo recently started their second season with an aim to feed the hungry and homeless. “My sister wanted to support a cause. In the present situation, people are dying more because of hunger than the virus. We’ve selected a bunch of homeless people from our area and will be cooking for them in larger quantities.
This is apart from the regular shooting for our page. We tried our best to go ahead with the project of cooking and feeding people but the pandemic had other plans,” says Saravanan, who works in a private company. The page was started to encourage children to take up cooking and spread awareness among people about the benefits of cooking in age-old metals. While the brother takes care of shooting the video and editing, the sister, a fashion designing student, does the cooking. “Our miniature food is edible. We don’t have to necessarily shoot in a particular angle to make it look that way. I adjust the camera based on our theme and the food. We upload videos on the weekend and edit during the weekdays. We take constructive criticism from each other. Constant monitoring of analytics gives us an update on what the audience wants as well,” explains Saravanan.
Shoot at site
The residents of Guduvancheri used to shoot at a farm near their house before the lockdown. Every video features a hut or concrete house in the backdrop with a charcoal or kerosene stove set up in the front. Ladles, jars and bowls are scattered around. Tiny plates bearing chopped vegetables and meat sit next to it. Ranjitha whips up magic as she adds the elements one after another into an earthen pot set up on the stove to cook. “We pack the condiments in small portions and carry them to the shoot location. People are used to measurements in teaspoons and tablespoons, whereas I use a minimal quantity that’s hard to measure. These are my mother’s heirloom recipes — mostly south Indian non-vegetarian cuisine. It took a long time for me to master miniature cooking.
These are real ingredients that you use in your regular kitchen. Only the quantity varies but it tastes the same. Sometimes, I’d burn the food or mess up the ingredients quantity. Overall, it’s quite challenging,” says Ranjitha, who loves hoarding kitchen sets made of different metals such as silver, brass, copper and wood. One of Ranjitha’s masterpiece is her chicken meals comprising multiple bite-sized portions that she attempted to complete in a single video.
They included small servings of rice, curry, fry and sweet. Some of her other sumptuous attempts include wood-fired pizza, donuts, sweet pongal, egg curry, crispy crab lollipop, biryani and cake. What makes their videos attractive is the array of miniature cookware used. All of them are procured from online websites and collected during their travel. “I have an eye for all metals. We are from Salem. While growing up, there were so many potters but the number has drastically gone down. I purchase custom-made orders from them. We’ve also picked up a few from Tiruchy and Mahabalipuram. Our audience notice the cookware and cutlery than the recipe,” says Ranjitha.
The duo has started making their own miniature figurines of grocery items, beverages and all things needed for cooking. “Our followers are constantly looking for variety. We will also be uploading making bloopers and behindthe- scenes. Every video will come with a small tip in cooking and a trivia at the end. As of now, our balcony has been put to its best use for setting up the kitchen. It’s been difficult to shoot inside because of the poor lighting. We’ve introduced new miniatures such as fridge, oven and indoor stove, which are again fragile and difficult to operate.
But we tried gulab jamun, bread chicken and jalebi in the indoor kitchen and it turned out to be delicious. We will soon resume our outdoor shoots after the lockdown,” shares Saravanan. For details, visit Facebook and Instagram page: Miniature Cooking Show. They also have a website and Tik Tok page under the same name