Mesha’s baby brother requests this every time he visits
Get to know Mesha in this Q&A and get her “Buttermilk fried chicken sandwich” MONDAY (7/29) from 5-8PM in South Loop!
Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making and what inspired it?
Mesha: For my first Shmeal I’m making fried chicken sandwiches on a toasted brioche bun with a sriracha mayo. Who doesn’t love fried chicken, and when you put it on a bun it’s even more fun to eat. I was inspired by that fast food chain that is known for their excellent customer service and their questionable beliefs. It also comes with a homemade chocolate chip cookie because why not?
Q: Who do you think about when you make this dish?
Mesha: I think about my baby brother when I make this dish. He always requests it whenever he comes over. We were pretty obsessed with that one chicken chain after trying it for the first time in Orlando during a trip to Disney… at the time we didn’t have any locations in Chicago, so I just decided to make it at home with my personal twist and it’s been a family favorite ever since.
Q: Where did you grow up and what kind of food did you grow up with?
Mesha: I’m from Chicago born and raised. I grew up on the south side and my parents are from Mississippi. Growing up they cooked dinner every single night and it always always really hearty and comforting. Pretty much what is known as soul food/southern food.
We ate things that were affordable and could easily be prepared for a large family. Things like beef short ribs, oxtail, stews, pot roast, chicken— be it fried or roasted. Lots of beans and rice, or rice and gravy. And things likes greens or cabbage or string beans with smoked turkey or pork. And cornbread. Always cornbread. I always loved how my parents could take these really simple dishes and make them taste so good.
Q: What’s your favorite food memory?
Mesha: My favorite food memory is thanksgiving with my mom cooking—all my favorite dishes at once. In my family, baked mac and cheese was a celebratory food, so we only had it on holidays which made it extra special. The way my mom made it was the absolute best. She’d use three cheeses and bake it til it’s brown on top but still cheesy and creamy in the middle.
Q: Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?
Mesha: Cooking is my passion and I love experimenting. We live in the absolute best food city and I’m inspired by all the different cuisines you find here. Expect a lot of fresh flavors from me. I love cooking with fresh herbs whenever possible and I love using exotic spices. I recently made shrimp and grits and made a gravy with gochujang paste. Classic southern dishes with exotics spices are kinda my thing.