Maplewood native Clara Moore competes on Bravo’s newest cooking competition show, Around the World in 80 Plates, at 9 p.m. this Wednesday on Bravo.
A mashup between Top Chef and Amazing Race, Around the World in 80 Platesfollows 12 chefs, including Moore, as they race across Argentina, China, England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Uruguay competing in challenges and taking over restaurants. Celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Cat Cora host the show while world-renowned restaurateurs, such as Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés, Nigella Lawson and Narda Lepes, guide contestants through the food culture in their host country.
For a sneak peak, play the video above and look for Moore at :19 drinking an extremely tall beer and at :53 getting emotional during an elimination.
Keeping the Secret
We here at Maplewood-Brentwood Patch would love to tell you more about Around the World in 80 Plates (Who won? How far did Moore get? What did she cook?), but the competition is strictly under wraps.
Moore can’t tell her family, friends or staff at her restaurant, Local Harvest Cafe, what happened, so no one knows whether she won the show’s grand prize (which is also top secret) or was eliminated in the first episode.
“Nobody knows anything,” Moore said. “My friends, my family, it’s a lot easier when you keep everybody in the dark.”
But it’s difficult hiding from loved ones an experience Moore calls “challenging,” “emotional” and “life-changing.”
“It feels maddening,” Moore said. “It’s like this fantasy thing happened to me and I just can’t express it or share it with absolutely anybody. But it’s making it more and more exciting counting down to the beginning.”
Moore plans to watch the show and tweet live under the handle @ClaraMoore314. (Follow the converstion locally using the Twitter hashtag #80platesSTL.)
“We filmed a while ago, so I’m kind of like, ‘Wait, what happened again?’” Moore said. “It’ll be exciting to relive it and have space from it, because it was hard, honestly.”
Before she became a jet-setting culinary guru, Moore, 30, lived in Maplewood until she was 17.
“I go back often, not only because of family connections,” Moore’s mother and sister still live in Maplewood, “but because it is now a cool mashup of the old stuff that’s still there and new stuff,” Moore said.
Moore remembers her hometown in moments: buying her first business cards at J&E's Office City on Manchester Road, bowling with friends at Saratoga Lanes, eating at Monarch (her favorite Maplewood restaurant until it closed recently) or Home Wine Kitchen (her new favorite Maplewood restaurant). Moore’s mother went into labor with her in front of what used to be a laundromat on Sutton Boulevard.
Maplewood is “still a place I like to go back to,” Moore said.
Today, you can find Moore in South City, where she is the chef and general manager at Local Harvest Café and Catering, a South City grocery store and café.
Now that she’s back in her old routine, Moore said she can see how her experiences on Around the World in 80 Plates have motivated her to take her profession to the next level.
“Within myself, I wanted to step to the next level and really treat myself as a chef,” Moore said. “I thought the entire business should follow along, that we should all take ourselves much more seriously. We are doing something amazing, and we need to put that out there.”
But once Local Harvest’s expansion is complete, there’s no telling where Moore’s wanderlust and ambition will take her.
“I definitely plan on putting myself back out there when things here in St. Louis at Local Harvest have simmered down a little bit,” Moore said. And the show? “I would definitely do it again.”
- Andy Cohen, Bravo's executive vice president, is a Clayton High School graduate.
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