by Cheryl Baehr
Chef Marianne Moore's path into the kitchen wasn't exactly straight. While on a sabbatical from her interior-design career, Moore was recruited to attend a "just for fun" culinary class with a friend, only to walk out with a new calling. Now, with a resume that includes stints at some of the city's most upscale hotels, Moore is putting her mark on the St. Louis culinary scene as the creative director for the Dierbergs culinary program. There, she oversees the market's six in-store cooking schools by designing menus, creating recipes and inspiring others to take the leap into the kitchen like she did.
Moore took a break from developing Dierbergs' latest course offerings to share her thoughts on the St. Louis culinary scene, as well as her unique father-daughter bonding ritual.
What is one thing people don't know about you that you wish they did? A girl walks into culinary school at 34 years old. The rest, as they say, is history. My dad was a butcher; he passed that love to me for sure. I've been known to bring home a pig from one of my farmer friends, call my dad, and we break it down in my kitchen.
What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? First thing in the morning, a triple-shot latte with dark Mexican vanilla.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I want them all! Think of the possibilities...
What is the most positive trend in food, wine or cocktails that you've noticed in St. Louis over the past year? Doing food right. I love fried chicken Sunday at the Libertine, incredible pasta and pizza at Pastaria, and proper cocktails at Planter's House and Blood and Sand.
Who is your St. Louis food crush? I'm not the kind of chef that kisses and tells!
Who's the one person to watch right now in the St. Louis dining scene? I'm excited to see what my friend Chris Bork does next.
Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? For me it's all about three ingredients: butter, bacon and bourbon. Take from that what you will.
If someone asked you to describe the current state of St. Louis' culinary climate, what would you say? What a place to be! I don't see it as a climate as much as it is a community. I love the collaboration and the support.
Name an ingredient never allowed in your kitchen. I'm up for anything. Bring it on.
What is your after work hangout? Home with my hubby, my dogs and my bourbon.
What's your food or beverage guilty pleasure? I have a few. After a long crazy week, MiTierra is my go-to Mexican. It's my comfort food right now. Also, a lunch all by myself -- I head straight to Mai Lee for a big ol' bowl of pho. And a bourbon and Big O to chill at the end of the evening.
What would be your last meal on earth? My grandmothers were Italian and Czechoslovakian, and their Sunday dinners were legendary. One made braised pork, fresh potato dumplings and red cabbage that I can't even describe. The other made a red sauce, meatballs and fresh-baked bread that I miss so much. That's how I came into this world -- that's how I want to go out.