Chef Megg Baroody
107 N. Fayette Street
Old Town Alexandria
By Chester Simpson
About the Chef: Meghan is a native Alexandrian and graduate of TC Williams high school. She was a student-athlete at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art.
After college, she stayed in Alexandria and worked as a bartender at Tallula/Eat Bar in Arlington. She then moved to Chadwick’s in Old Town, where she served and entertained guests from behind the bar while pursuing multiple creative outlets, including voice acting and freelance portrait and mural painting. It was during her time at Chadwick’s that she ramped-up her love for cooking and turned a fun hobby into the unique and creative concept that Meggrolls is today.
When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a culinary career?
Cooking has always been a hobby of mine. When I was a kid, I used to stand on a chair in the kitchen and help my dad cook dinner. Both of my parents shared time making dinner for me and my 5 older siblings. Mom has more of a comfort food-style– when it comes to thanksgiving, she’s the boss! The little details are what still make her dishes so tasty and memorable. My dad’s style is a bit more refined. He gets a kick out of building the flavors in a gumbo or making the perfect risotto. I’ve definitely learned a lot from them both.
To be honest, Meggrolls came about as a happy accident. I used to make late-night snacks and bring them to my bartender boyfriend, and he’d share them with his regular guests. One night, I made traditional Chinese egg rolls, and as he was eating one he suggested I wrap his favorite chicken parmesan dish that I make in a wonton. Needless to say, I took that idea and ran with it!
I never would have thought that my most creative outlet would be realized through food, but now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
I appreciate a good risk-taker– someone who chooses to dream, no matter the consequence. When I read a story or hear someone speak about their idea for a business and I get that initial twinge in my gut that tells me there are all sorts of risks involved, I immediately admire that person. It’s hard to make progress with a vision or an idea that other folks need to see proof of before they can believe in it.
To have a vision and stay focused on it, even through its awkward stages (of which there can be many) takes a lot of courage and patience.
What dish on your menu you are most curious to see how it’s received?
I’m very excited to share our tasty “Meggs” with the Old Town neighborhood! Our menu is on the smaller side, but it’s set up so that you can sort of custom-build your favorite snack or meal. Add one of our 3 slaws or our hearty, zesty white bean chicken chili to your order to round out your meal. Or, if Meggrolls are all you crave at the moment, feel free to order a “triple play” sampler, which is perfect for a pair of indecisive eaters to enjoy.
I’m also looking forward to see how many “Old Town Tubs” will be going out of the kitchen, which is an 83 ounce bucket of our hand-cut, crispy boardwalk fries. We offer plenty of self-serve malt vinegar, so you can douse your tub, sit back and enjoy some tasty fries Delmarva beach-style.
What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers?
Being in the thick of it during the first fledgling months will allow me and my staff to directly observe the production and execution process, and will allow me to be as accessible as possible to my staff and my customers. I think we’ll learn a lot very quickly about what we are doing right and what needs work, and I look forward to getting the kinks out quickly!
If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it, be?
I’d have to go with Anthony Bourdain. I find his arrogance and wit sort of endearing. He also has no problem making fun of himself, which is a quality I admire.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
I love to dip things.
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