Executive chef, Bodega

Story by G.A. Benton // Photo by Jodi Miller

Hip-hop deejay. Graffiti artist. Physical trainer. Empanada roller at the famous Casa Nueva in Athens. These were enlightening stops along Marcus Meacham's winding path to becoming a transformative chef at Bodega.

Brainy, brawny, creative and deliberate, Meacham explained that he arrived at Bodega early this year with the goal that "the food would move to the forefront" at a place previously better known for its good times and great beer.

Leaning over a thick black folder kept close by to capture bursts of inspiration, Meacham pointed to his original outline for the delicious snack that sat before us. It was that Belgian classic of mussels & fries, but enriched with a twist.

Meacham described it thusly: "Everyone loves blue cheese with bacon; [chuckling] I call these Midwestern Moules et Frites."

A fan of molecular gastronomy guru Ferran Adria, Meacham has assembled "cold-smoked Lobster Rolls" as a special and plans to introduce Bodega's diners to more of the ultra-modernist cuisine's high-tech delights, such as "balsamic pearls" in salads and "gellified sangria" in desserts.

"I have full creative control in the kitchen and I like pushing boundaries," he said.

What else new and exciting might we soon taste? An intriguing Sunday brunch is taking shape, and the seafood-loving Meacham said he'd love to play around with sea urchin, plus he's already been working up "weekly cuisine theme specials" with playful titles like "upscale Mexican fusion."

Age: 31
Neighborhood: Short North
Previous gigs: Executive chef at Barrio, Vonn Jazz, J. Liu

1044 N. High St.,
Short North