Can you believe we’re 3 weeks away from Thanksgiving, 7 weeks away from Christmas, and 2 months away from 2018?!? I call the end of the year my “Diet Free” zone. The holidays make me think of friends, family, and FOOD. It was only fitting for our November Spotlight Feature to shine the light on Chef Lamar J. Moore. Chef Moore is a native Chicagoan and has quite an extensive and impressive culinary resume. He’s worked as an executive Chef in well-known restaurants like Tanta, Smoke Daddy, McCormick & Schmidt, and Coopers Hawk Winery. He is a Mariano’s Taste Master, which means coming up with company recipes and doing on site demo’s. He regularly gives back to the community and for the last 11 years has worked as a leader/mentor for ProStart. ProStart goes out to Chicago Public Schools to do demo’s, job shadows, and gives high school students a Birdseye view of the chef industry. Lamar also finds the time to model as an Ambassador for Chef Works Urban wear line and run his own brand LJM Consulting.
I’m super impress with anyone that has worked their entire career doing what they love! Lamar is blessed he always knew he wanted to be a Chef from a very young age. He grew up in a southern household and one of his biggest influencers was his Grandmother. His attraction for cooking started when his Grandmother turned her house into a home for elderly people who couldn’t cook for themselves. Lamar would assist her in the kitchen. She was his ride or die. He loved how she would put a smile on people’s face. From then on out he knew that he wanted to make people happy through food. He only came close to changing careers once. When he hit a wall in his career he almost became a Police Officer. Right when he got accepted to the police force fate took over 3 short weeks later. Lamar got a call from a Chef in California he had never met that wanted to work with him. There’s been no looking back ever since! Chef Moore has cooked pretty much everywhere from Chicago, Cali, Texas, Vancouver, Atlanta…..and the list goes on. He’s worked on contracts at the Bear’s Stadium, has cooked for several stadium World Series/Superbowl’s, and had the honor of cooking for former President Barack Obama during Nato.
Why is Chef Lamar J. Moore of LJM Consulting a Chicagoan WE should know?
“I am a Chicagoan YOU should know because I have worked at some of Chicago’s Best Restaurants. I help our community by mentoring culinary students through outreach programs, food drives, and non-profit organizations.”
Chef Lamar J. Moore definitely embodies someone who took their natural talent and passionately created a career around it. Even better when you’re able to use what you know to help and inspire others! With Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought it would be fun to ask Lamar a few questions to help the rest of us get prepared. 🙂
Tavi J. Interview with Chef Lamar J. Moore
As we ALL know Chicago was rated 2017 best restaurant city of the year by Bon Appetit Magazine. You’re a native Chicagoan, but you’ve cooked all over. What other cities/states stand out to you for good dining?
California and New York are staples of course, but Denver is really coming up. The current season of Top Chef was filmed in Denver. What I like about Denver is there’s lots of restaurants that are spread out and have a better chance of surviving versus cities with oversaturated markets. Downtown Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Aspen. Depending on location you’re going to have a whole different feel of really good restaurants. Lot of those restaurants and chef’s embody farm to table. For example my friend owns a restaurant called Mercantile inside of Union station. He makes his own milk and cheese. Austin also has good food, really good restaurants, and a cool bar scene.
Since you’ve cooked all over the U.S…what current trend stands out to you in the restaurant industry?
Casual dining is a huge trend. Everybody is seeing “to go” food is huge. You need to have some form of to go on your menu or you’re losing out. People are always on the go. Companies like seamless and uber eats are becoming more prominent.
Soooo Thanksgiving is coming up! A lot of us will be going as guests to someone else’s home. What side dishes do you recommend guests bring?
I would suggest asking the host, but if you want to play it on the safe side I would say dessert, bread rolls, or even make something the host can have for later.
In your opinion what dish takes the longest to prepare, but so worth it?
Definitely Turkey. It takes me about an hour per pound an a half. I do about 26 pounds, so it takes me 13 to 14 hours. I put butter on the skin so it gets really crispy. I also NEVER stuff my turkey. It’s not sanitary. The stuff inside the turkey doesn’t get cooked properly.
What’s the easiest dish to make but it looks like you took effort and tried?
Macaroni and Cheese. I don’t like mine baked, but I like to add béchamel (Crème Sauce), mustard and hot sauce.
For those taking on the task of hosting Thanksgiving what tips do you have for preparing a meal for small or large groups?
- Keep it simple. Don’t try to overimpress.
- Make sure your food is comparable so people understand what their eating. Just make stuffing, no need for stuffing nuggets. Again keep it simple.
- Keep it to whatever your version of tradition is. What is traditional to me might not be to you.
Last question, but VERY important. There’s two months left in 2017. What are you thankful for this year?
Cliché as it sounds I’m thankful for blessings and prayers. Someone is always praying for you even if you don’t realize it. I’m blessed to be able to do what I enjoy doing for a living. Every Thanksgiving one tradition I have is volunteering at the soup kitchens and giving back to the less fortunate with my mom. It’s important to give your time to help others.
It was such a pleasure to interview Chef Lamar J. Moore and he has more surprises for us to come with LJM Consulting. He’s working on his own project right now and in the beginning stages of branching out. To keep up to date on Chef Moore’s pop-ups and events make sure to follow him on social media!