Chennai cafe gives second chance at life for survivors!

The mouth-watering food served by Writer's Cafe that customers tuck into is produced by burn victims.
Chennai cafe gives second chance at life for survivors!

The mouth-watering food served by Writer’s Cafe that customers tuck into is produced by burn victims. This is part of a venture of the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC).

The idea for such a cafe, located in a tiny corner of Peter’s Road, Royapettah, was born when M Mahadevan, owner of Hot Breads and The French Loaf, partnered with PCVC to support and empower burn victims and acid attack victims and all the profits go to PCVC.

‘Women who had been victimised due to burn and acid attacks underwent training at Winners Bakery in R A Puram. Since then they have been working here, making pastries and serving the guests,’ said Ashish Chandrok, co-founder of the cafe.

Maria, 23, is a burn victim who waits at the tables. ‘This cafe has brought me out of the shell I had retreated into when I was burned by a fire my husband had started. It’s been two years since the accident and only now has I gained the confidence not to wear a scarf or be ashamed of my scars. Working here has given me more than what I could have asked for, happiness being the major outcome.’

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There are seven other burn victims who work at the cafe. This cafe has given them a second chance at life.

All the eight people who work at the cafe are victims of either fire accidents or self-immolation. They mostly work on the pastries for the bakery which the cafe is famous for. All under the age of 29, they have got an opportunity to support themselves and their family through this initiative.

Ashish adds, ‘Some of the women who work here are single parents, while others have been abandoned by their families. Some of the victims who were stranded without support came to us. They liked the place but the fact that we treat them all equally was what appealed to them more than anything else. This is what drives us to expand our franchise.’

FOR BOOKWORMS

The Writer’s Cafe combines the two favourite things that people love – food and books.

From the landscaping to the ambiance, it screams cozy, perfect for curling up on the plush armchairs with a cup of coffee and a good book. Sounds good?

The cafe partnered with Higginbotham to make it a bookstore. With over 18,000 titles on sale, the historic bookstore reinvents itself through this initiative.

Apart from books they have stationeries and postcards giving the whole room a vintage ambiance. The two-storey building hosts the cafe downstairs and the bookstore on the top floor. With wooden flooring, bookshelves and famous quotes from books adorning the walls, it serves as a bookworm’s paradise.

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FINGER-LICKING GOOD

The cafe specialises in Swiss desserts and all-day breakfast. We decided to utilise this and ordered banana pancakes, chocolate danish and a mocha coffee.

Apart from this, the cafe also serves European dishes with flammkuchen being the most recommended. Hence, we ordered the leek and crème fraiche flammkuchen and a macaroni and cheese pasta. The pancakes were delightful but it only had a hint of banana when it could’ve used more.

The flammkuchen had the thinnest crust which crumbled in your mouth and was enjoyed thoroughly. The macaroni and cheese pasta was average. The danish was crispy and definitely a favourite.

The presentation of the dishes was good, especially the pasta which was served in pans.

The service was good but getting a place to sit turned out to be a challenge due to the long wait, but the bookstore came in useful at the time.

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