Logan Square’s Superkhana International has been an incubator throughout the pandemic for young chefs sometimes short on experience but always long on big ideas. Chefs Zeeshan Shah and Yoshi Yamada have provided kitchen space and encouragement for all sorts of wild side hustles, and I’ve profiled some of them, like Keralan condiment king Thommy Padanilam of Thommy’s Toddy Shop, hotteok hoodlums Michele Back and Dylan Heath of Banana Phone, and Malaysian food power couple Jennifer Pou-Alesi and Mike Alesi of Kedai Tapao. We also hosted the latter two for Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up series at the Kedzie Inn in Irving Park. This Monday we’re dipping into the Superkhana talent pool once again.
Neither Uma Jupiter nor Oskar Singer got their start in the industry at Superkhana, but that’s where they met. Jupiter, who works front-of-the-house, is a former cheesemonger and French food aficionado; Singer is a former tech worker turned baker and fermenter who works on the line.
Singer, who goes by the Instagram handle Rye Humor Baking, started a bread and pastry delivery service near the beginning of the pandemic, and has collaborated on pop-ups with the likes of Vargo Brother Ferments, Jennifer Kim of Alteconomy, and Four Letter Word coffee. His fearless adventures in fermentation have produced everything from goat garum to orange-fennel miso to honeysuckle vinegar. “I get bored really easily, so I like to taste things that are gonna disorient me a little,” he says. “And a good way to do that is to let them ferment for a while.”
Singer and Jupiter collaborated last November at Ludlow Liquors on a pop-up they titled Château Picklebone, and once again they’re paying homage to the food of the fabled rustic French country estate surrounded by a fondue moat stocked with pickled mackerel. This time they’re rocking cured sardine fougasse (aka French focaccia) with nori butter; dry-aged half chickens with fried spuds (an homage to steak frites), and a laminated brioche topped with a funky cheese semifreddo and cherry nasturtium vinegar sauce. “That one is stupid complicated,” says Singer. “It has every French baking technique in one very high-fat brioche. Uma’s basically the creative vibe and direction all of these dishes.”
Gaze upon their menu and rejoice.
“It’s got roots and grains and BUTTER whatever”
Toasted whole oat (think farro) salad tossed in beet and turnip sofrito topped with seasoned yogurt and compressed beets: $6-$10
“King Oskar Sardine Fougasse”
House (literally in my fucking house) cured sardines mixed into einkorn fougasse, served with nori butter (thanks, @_immortalmilk): $8-$15
Dry-aged half chicken on a pile of fried taters with some weird sauces slopped on top and a phat disc of classic maître d’ butter: $20-$30
Laminated durum brioche stuffed with pecan maple syrup paste; braided, bruleed, and topped with a semifreddo of funky cheese and honey, then some cherry-soaked nasturtium flower vinegar sauce: $8-$15
Prices are on a sliding scale to encourage industry folk to get in the door. They’re taking pre-orders right now, and as always there will be a limited number of walk-ins available (though that’s not very likely when it comes to the chicken). Don’t sleep. Please come vaccinated or don’t come at all. Meanwhile, Monday Night Foodball abides. See the schedule below.
- March 14: Joey Pham, aka @flavorsupreme, and Kelly Ijichi of Mom’s Chicago present “MSG (Monday Snack Gathering).”
- March 21: Lorraine Nguyen, aka @lolo_agogo, and Joey Pham, aka @flavorsupreme, present “SUPRANOS: a Vietalian Experience.”
- April 11: A second act from Oskar Singer (aka @ryehumorbaking)
- April 18: Ricky Hanft of The Wurst
- April 25: Roel Estanilla of @pigandfire