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Meet Shachi Mehra of Adya

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shachi Mehra.

Shachi, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in India and grew up in New Jersey, where I followed a path to go to medical school until I found my real passion in the kitchen. I took plenty of calculus and biology and even worked in a doctor’s office — I was lucky enough to realize that path wasn’t my calling and through a series of fortunate circumstances, I ended up in a kitchen in Berkeley Heights, NJ. It was my first job in a professional kitchen and I knew I had found my happy place, my “home.” I worked very hard, very long hours (I continued to work at the doctor’s office as well as the restaurant, driving up to 100 miles a day) and eventually made my way into Manhattan. There, I worked in the kitchen at Tabla, one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants, under Chef Floyd Cardoz. I was ultimately promoted to Lead Cook at the very popular Bread Bar and spent five years there before I traveled the world for about a year, exploring India, Australia and Japan. After a short year in Washington, D.C., my career brought me west – I opened and worked at several restaurants as Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef in the Bay Area. When the opportunity to move to Orange County came in the form of Executive Chef at Tamarind of London, I took it. I was able to open Tamarind to much fanfare and success, and eventually left to open my own restaurant, ADYA.

Has it been a smooth road?
While I’ve been fortunate in many ways, there have been obstacles that I’ve had to overcome to get where I am. Luckily, each has been a learning experience that has enabled me to grow.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
With my Partner, Sandeep Basrur, we have introduced a unique Indian experience to Orange County at ADYA, an authentic Indian restaurant that is a reflection of modern India. The menu revolves around fresh, sustainable ingredients and focuses on contemporary interpretations of Indian street foods, tandoori specialties and rich curries.

Our goal is to present an Indian experience that allows those who are both familiar and less experienced with Indian cuisine to embark on a delicious, unique culinary journey that emphasizes fresh ingredients and pronounced flavors. The casual setting of ADYA makes it inviting and accommodating to a wide range of guests who seek out the rich experiences that Indian cuisine has to offer.

The menu combines modern creative and classic Indian styles of cooking while balancing the bounty of Southern California with the bold flavors and spices of India. ADYA features Indian favorites, including Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Shrimp, but also showcases a unique spin on the cuisine with dishes such as a Quinoa Salad with beets, oranges, avocado, and toasted coriander, and a warm Naan, stuffed with goat cheese.

At the heart of the menu are Kebabs from the tandoor, Kaathi Rolls (wraps filled with potatoes, paneer, chicken or lamb), and fresh-made Curries. A lesser-seen Indian specialty that ADYA focuses on is Pavs, which are Bombay-style Sloppy Joes, featuring spiced vegetables, potatoes or lamb on kaffir lime butter-toasted bread.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We really love the communities we are in — ADYA currently has two locations, one at the Anaheim Packing House and in Irvine’s University Center. We had a good feeling about growth potential at both locations, and we really saw ADYA flourishing there. I love the sense of community, love and real support from the people in both cities.

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Courtesy: ADYA

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