As a San Diego native Moira has been in the local food scene since she was young(er). With ties to great local chefs, she talks about her modest upbringing and looks to a bright future. We sat down to discuss her role in the BOH and what she her thoughts are on hanging with boys.
So how did you start your culinary career?
“Well I’ve always been into food. As a family we didn’t go out to eat a lot and cooked at home. I learned to cook for myself since my parents traveled a lot. I started in the restaurant business when I was 16 as a server. When I was 19 I went to culinary school and focused on both pastry and culinary. My first job out of school was at George’s at the Cove. After that I did some sushi and catering jobs. I also was at Juniper and Ivy when they opened and then ended up as chef de partie at Tidal, where I am now.”
Do you have plans or ideas on cooking outside San Diego?
“Oh definitely want to cook outside San Diego. I want to get more sous chef experience first. But I want to explore the LA cooking scene as well as New York and Chicago. Ultimately I would like to settle down here as it is home. This place is kinda hard to leave if you know what I mean”.
What do you draw inspiration from?
“Alot of my inspiration comes from chefs I’ve worked with. Also my family. My mother side of the family is Jewish, so I’ve learned to cook a lot of traditional Jewish food. I try to make the traditional Jewish food more modern. Even my Executive chef now who is Philippine, I’ve learned to make traditional Filipino food. My former exec chef was Italian, so learned a lot from her. So just learning my people who I work with and how they do things. and then twisting it into my food”.
What are your thoughts/feelings towards being labeled as a female chef?
“I am a female and never had an issue with this. I think this is an issue because historically there hasn’t been a lot of women in the professional kitchen. Not up until recently has there been a lot of women doing big things in the kitchen. I mean it probably will always be a male dominated industry but at least now there is a lot of strong women having their voice heard and doing big things.”
What kind of advice would you give to the upcoming women in our industry?
“I would tell her to listen more and that you will make mistakes but keep pushing every day. Involve yourself more and read more. I think if I did that more when I first started out I would be even farther ahead than I am now. But at the end of the day it’s just food. You gotta find that balance between work, family and friends.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
“I would be a graphic design artist. I was in 3 years of advanced digital arts and advertising in high school. I also paint/sculped a lot so the transition to culinary arts wasn’t to big. So I still use that artistic look on negative space on ow I plate my dishes.”
What would your last dish be if you could have anything?
“For me I’m pretty simple when it comes to eating. I know it’s simple but I would like just a really good cheeseburger.”