Chef Imesha Wells
As a child, I spent much of my time in the kitchen with my grandmothers. They gave me a job title that I couldn’t help but take seriously at the time which was “taste tester.” They would ask “What does this dish need?” and I jumped at a chance to provide my culinary advice from a 10-year-old’s perspective. I sifted flour (and ate it), battered porkchops, fried chicken, and used a fork to seal the edges of apple turnovers. One of my favorite items to cook was fried fish; it was also one of my favorite things to eat. I think every person from the south can relate to the feeling of using mustard and hot sauce to dress the fish, followed by a little bread to help get those pesky bones down. My favorite moment was when I graduated to eating my own fish with bones without the assistance from an adult trying to ensure my safety.
The aroma from the food my grandmothers cooked filled their respective kitchens and houses. At one point, it seemed as though their entire neighborhoods would know when they cooked. Shortly after the food was prepared, the doorbell rang, plates were filled, and laughs and conversations continued until the night. The kitchen was the gathering spot for everyone. There were feelings of love, peace, and happiness and those feelings entered my soul and I always yearned to feel that way as much as humanly possible. Of course, I didn’t know those meaningful culinary lessons would now be a part of who I am today.
Those lessons fueled my passion for cooking and led me to cook for celebrity makeup artist, Alex Butler, as well as hip-hop legend, MC Lyte, and celebrity barbers Youseff and Cali the Barber at Diamond Cuts in Riverdale, Georgia. I also had the privilege to work under celebrity chef Darius Williams at Greens and Gravy. My journey as a chef continues today and I hope to inspire others the way my grandmothers inspired me.