Enjoy fine dining Saturday at the Gaj Kitchen

BLYTHEWOOD – Andrew Gajadhar has a picture in his kitchen by the spice rack. It’s of his late mother, holding up her “Joy of Cooking” cookbook, forever an inspiration.

“In her prime, if my mom had participated in, like, Hell’s Kitchen or Next Level Chef [reality TV cooking shows] or something like that, she would have done so well. After my father’s death, she singlehandedly raised four kids on a tight budget. A lot of times it was ‘open the refrigerator and pantry, see what we have in there, and make magic by putting stuff together.’ She was the master of doing that,” he says.

Chef Andrew Gajadhar

“Not every great chef comes from a school,” he says. “Some of the greatest chefs in the world never went to a school; they’re just somebody’s mother or grandmother sitting in their living room knitting a sweater, but when they get in the kitchen, it’s game on.”

So it is in the Gaj Kitchen.

Folks in Blythewood know him as the man who videos the various town hall government meetings and posts them on the town’s website. He’s also active in local theater productions, and participates in other local events such as the recent Doko Ribfest. Gajadhar says his success at the Ribfest last month inspired him, bringing a lot of positive feedback and long lines at his food tent throughout the day-long event.

Gajadhar earned a master’s degree in psychology after first studying engineering, and says it was after his mother’s death in 2020 that he began to work his way through a culinary degree curriculum on his own, cooking with formally trained chefs along the way and taking feedback from the critics that he says are most important: they are people who eat.

But he says his life experiences – from growing up as a military brat in Europe to embarking on his own travel adventures after his service in the Marines to his interactions with diverse friends and family – have also played a key role in his understanding and appreciation of foods around the world.

“When you know flavors and you know things about food from other countries, what they bring …you can cook that country’s foods,” Gajadhar says.

He says his pantry has, probably, 20 kinds of rice – and his spice rack is full of things imported from the world over.

He prides himself on being able to cook dishes from someone’s home country that will remind them of their grandma’s cooking. For Gajadhar, “fusion” – bringing together different food styles and ingredients that aren’t traditionally combined – is the canvas for his art.

“Now, I think about all these dishes I have in my head, and I think about how well unconventional pairings can work… and I look at the picture of my mom, and I go, ‘I got this.’”

It’s with this varied foundation that Gajadhar began his career as a private chef. His love of sharing his food creations with others drove him to create a “pop-up kitchen,” a cooking setup under a 10 x 10 tent in locations around the Blythewood/Columbia area, often cooking and selling a completely different kind of food each time.

He says he’ll typically post his location and menu on social media a few days in advance. It could be anything from East-West Indian dishes to smash burgers with homemade sauces to an exotic fish taco bar to tortellini with cauliflower steaks.

“All these things are simple things, but they can be elevated,” he says, “and people have just been, well, eating it up.”

This Saturday, he’s planning something new, a fine dining event – a 10-course meal for $100 a person, served at his home – a unique experience aimed at taking it to the next level with fresh ingredients, wines paired with each entree, and meticulous attention to details in every aspect of the dining experience.

His hope for this weekend’s event is to showcase what he does best.

More information on the fine dining event can be found on Gajadhar’s Facebook page, The Gaj Kitchen. Those who would like to experience the dinner can register via email at [email protected].

He will also be at the Columbia Food and Wine Festival later this month, and he’s working on a future pop-up kitchen event in Blythewood.

“Food has always been the common denominator that brings people together,” Gajadhar says. “And I take joy in cooking for people and seeing their reaction and giving them something unique that they otherwise might not have had the occasion to enjoy.”

Chef Andrew Gajadhar offers fine dining at his home.

Welcome to the Gaj Kitchen

As we serve some of the best food we have to offer, our guests will be our most valuable critics.

This dimly lit, intimate setting will be accompanied by relaxing music, conversation, and personal guidance from the chef, where a story will unfold through a culinary journey. This experience intended to evoke feedback from our guests, will be limited to 15 total guests. Reservations for this event are first come first served and must be made via email at [email protected].

We hope this dining experience will demonstrate the professionalism and skill set The Gaj Kitchen has to offer. In appreciation, each guest will also receive a special voucher for a free meal at one of our pop up kitchens as well.

Here are the specifics of the Gaj Kitchen dining experience on Saturday.

  • 10 Courses
  • Each Course will be paired with a drink (wine, champagne, cocktail)
  • Price per person is $100
  • Arrival time is 7 p.m.
  • First course served promptly at 7:30 p.m.
  • Comment cards will be provided for feedback


Hors D’oeuvre – Tuna Tartare with Cured Egg Yolk

Soup – Lobster Bisque

Appetizer – Mango Salsa with Crispy Polenta Patty

Salad – Kale with Cranberries, Pine Nuts, Crispy Onions, and Balsamic Reduction

Fish – Three-Oyster Flight with Leek/Potato/Spinach Veloute, Buerre Blanc with Caviar, and Champagne Sauce with Pickled Masala

1st Main Course – Duck Ragú with Pappardelle Pasta

Palate Cleanser – Cracker Crisp with Mint Chutney

2nd Main Course – Filet Mignon with Chestnut Mushroom Purée, Morels, and Gold Flakes

Dessert – Panna Cotta

Mignardise – Crumb Cake with Herbal Tea

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]