Geert van der Velde, CEO of Chessable, at the Olympiad venue
Geert van der Velde, CEO of Chessable, at the Olympiad venue

Chessable CEO van der Velde, the latest ‘food reviewer’ in town

On July 28, van der Velde tweeted about his love for Indian food after enjoying a feast at a renowned vegetarian restaurant in Mahabalipuram.

CHENNAI: Geert van der Velde, a Dutchman based in Spain, is the CEO of Chessable, an e-learning platform for mastering the board game.

But, in Tamil Nadu, which is hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad, he is better known as the ‘food reviewer’ who recently caught the attention of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On July 28, van der Velde tweeted about his love for Indian food after enjoying a feast at a renowned vegetarian restaurant in Mahabalipuram.

Little did he know that the tweet would spread like wildfire. At the time of filing this copy on August 3 (Wednesday), the post, whose caption read ‘Loved the food so much I went back and brought the whole team’, had 19,900 likes, 1,567 retweets and 100 quote tweets.

The tweet, which included a picture of the Chessable team having dinner, became so viral in double quick time that Modi could not resist sharing it (on July 29), an act that left van der Velde in disbelief. “I was like: ‘What?’” van der Velde told DT Next in a free-wheeling chat at the Chessable stall in the Olympiad venue.

“It was funny. The day we arrived (July 27), we were very late. I asked our driver ‘Max’ if he knew a vegetarian place close by. Once we reached Mahabalipuram, he stopped at A2B (Adyar Ananda Bhavan). The food was so good. I told my teammates: ‘Wow! The food is really good. We should go there.’ I brought the whole team to the same restaurant the next day (July 28). That is when we clicked the picture and posted it online,” van der Velde explained the story behind the viral tweet.

When asked about the dishes the Chessable team tried out, van der Velde replied: “Eating with my fingers was a unique experience. The masala dosa was really good. We had gobi manchurian, which was very spicy. We also had a couple of fried rice varieties that were special. We had vada as well.”

The hunt for Indian food did not stop there. “I like spicy food. At the Virunthombal Chettinadu Restaurant, we ate aloo gobi masala, veg manchurian and mixed veg curry. After having lunch at Four Points by Sheraton one day, I took notes of a few dishes that I had. The list includes vatha kozhambu. I then visited Hotel Guru.”

Since van der Velde has been uploading pictures of him eating Indian food, he has been getting umpteen recommendations on Twitter. “I have a list of food which I would like to eat in the next few days,” said van der Velde, who has now become a huge fan of the local food.

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