How The Bungalow Chef Began
Mike Mech’s obsession with cooking began when he was a child. Mike grew up in a Chicago suburb where the streets were filled with classic bungalows and meals were made from scratch using old family recipes. Dinners were served around the kitchen table unless there was an excuse for an extended family gathering. Then, the kitchen…and dining room became a hub of festive conversation and food.
Family occasions meant grandmothers, aunts and cousins would bring their favorite family dishes, all made from handwritten recipes. Each celebration was a food memory in the making and Mike took them all in. These were the people and the times that influenced his culinary future which officially began at age seven…when he baked his first pie.
This was also the age when Mike discovered his television heroes Julia Child and Graham Kerr. These were the culinary icons that taught him about ingredients and techniques and they were extremely entertaining. Mike was glued to every show and today still recalls his favorite episodes.
A Culinary Journey
After attending culinary school and college, Mike went into restaurant management. At the Levy Restaurant Group he worked with the restaurant opening teams and later served as a specialty baker, chocolatier, business developer, and R&D chef for H.J. Heinz. Mike has entrenched himself in the food business including multiple sales positions for gourmet specialty companies.
Mike has been featured in Chicago magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Times, Forbes and recently in Who’s Hungry? magazine. He can also be seen on YouTube and has been the focus of many local television segments.
Mike’s Bungalow Home
After 25 years of living in condos and town homes, Mike moved back to his family neighborhood and purchased his own classic Chicago bungalow home. Built between 1910 and 1930, Chicago bungalows were single story, or one-and-a-half story, homes featuring a gable parallel to the street and usually constructed of brick. Back then, bungalows made up one-third of the housing stock in Chicagoland and a starter home cost only $5000.
Mike’s bungalow, built in 1926, is a bit unique with a Craftsman side entrance, making the living room wider and, a pagoda roof line adds width to the eaves. Back then it was considered the Cadillac model down to the woodwork with wide moldings, French doors, built-ins, and archways.
In 2013, the PBS television show, Ask This Old House, featured his home to restore the kitchen to its historical roots and The Bungalow Chef demonstrated his family recipe culinary skills on the show.