Earth Eats blogger Chef Clara Moore will be one of the 12 contestants on Bravo's new cooking competition Around the World in 80 Plates premiering this evening at 10 p.m. EST. Each episode, the chefs travel to a different international city to learn the local cuisine. Their knowledge is put to the test in kitchen takeovers, "where they will not only recreate, but reinvent the menus for world-renowned restaurants."
Moore has worked in the restaurant business since her teens, paying her dues as a busser and line cook before attending culinary school at Baltimore International College. "My passions lie in all things food, from nutrition to farming," she says, whose Local Harvest Cafe & Catering sources their ingredients from local and organic farmers.
Hours before her television debut, Earth Eats asked her five quick questions.
5 Questions For Clara Moore
Annie Corrigan: Local food is near and dear to your heart. Do you feel like that gave you a leg-up in the competition as you were getting these crash courses in other country's local food?
Clara Moore: Totally. Understanding how a region or climate affects cuisine is a total plus for translating a culture's food into just one dish.
AC: Can we see your St. Louis and Midwestern food roots in the dishes you cooked on the show?
CM: You certainly can. You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.
AC: The last line of your bio reads "Clara... hopes to continue traveling the world and eating street food everywhere she lands." What is it about street food that you love so much?
CM: I love street food because it is the pinnacle of 'real food' -- no pretense, no fancy stuff, just simple crowd pleasing comfort food.
AC: If you had to pick up your restaurant Local Harvest and move it to any other place in the world -- and keep making local, seasonal food -- where would you go?
CM: Oh my. For depth and breadth of flavor and food options I would love to go to Calcutta, but for spectacular views and lovely people I would love to be in Peru.
AC: Give advice to foodie travelers. What's the best way to get to know the food culture of a new place?
CM: Foodie travelers, first and foremost, need to do their research. Before going anywhere, you need to find out what the locals eat, what is traditional, and it helps to know the "why" of all these things. Secondly, eat on the street. Eat at the markets. Eat at the corner bar. Eat where people congregate. These are the places you are going to get a true taste of a region. Cuisines now tend to be so global, so don't be surprised when you see pizza in Mexico and tacos in Germany. Enjoy the new world cuisine that is developing.