How did you get started in the restaurant biz?
Chef Jeff Moore: In a round-about way, really. Generations of my family had owned a grocery store business in Palos Verdes, so I grew up in that environment – you know, bakery, butcher shop, everything done in house. I didn’t start in the restaurant business, though, until I was in college at the University of Hawaii and my Mom “encouraged” me to get a job. I started as a dishwasher and, by the time I’d moved up to line cook, I had decided the restaurant business was pretty cool.
After college, I made a blind move to Utah to ski for a season and started working for a great chef, Carl Kelley, there. At that point, I realized I could do something else that wasn’t nearly as interesting … OR I could do this cooking thing for real. I chose real. I stayed there, working in that hotel, for 10 years.
How did a ski bum end up in Orange County?
Ski bum, indeed! I used to push 200 day of skiing a year. Now I’m lucky if I get 10 or 15 days in, but the trade-off is worth it. I love being around all the great culinary here, and EATS is my paradise now. I love every day I’m in my restaurant.
What’s your favorite all-time dish you learned from a chef in your past?
Philly Cheesesteak! Chuck, the owner of the tiny restaurant in Hawaii had the serious goods on a sandwich I’d never even heard about. He showed me exactly how to cook it – it’s a science, you know! Even to this day he still serves the same sandwich.
How did you get involved in Chef’s Table?
It really started when I was living in Santa Ana and riding my bike up and down the river to work. Seeing the homeless problem firsthand and getting to know the faces of some of the hundreds of individuals out there … it was a real shock. When you think of Orange County, you think of all the opulence and beauty and you just don’t expect to see people … families and kids included … in this terrible state.
At about that time, I started hearing about Illumination Foundation and even saw many of their volunteers out at the river bed. A couple years ago, when I found out they did the OC Chef’s Table, I reached out to them and asked to be a part of it. To find an outlet for my talent to try to help in this way … it’s just a great opportunity.
Our upcoming OC Chef’s Table event in March will be my fourth year, and I’ve already started planning my menu. This is serious business! But, it’s so much fun and so worth it. I’ll return every year they’ll have me back.
The top chefs in Orange County (along with a few surprise visiting chefs) are getting together again for the renowned OC Chef’s Table at Disneyland® Resort on March 1, 2020.
OC Chef’s Table continues to help Illumination Foundation raise funds to provide permanent housing and services for homeless adults and children. With OC’s most imaginative chefs creating one-of-a-kind magical menus, it’s no wonder OC Chef’s Table is one of the most coveted gala tickets of the year.
See all 40+ chefs participating and secure your ticket at OCChefsTable.com. And, get to know this year’s phenomenal chefs as Diane Armitage sits down with each, asking 5 questions in just 5 minutes …