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“Even in those early days in my grandmother’s kitchen, I learned the importance of tradition and the joy of creating hearty dishes that bring people together.”

RICHMOND — Chef Temmeka Moore’s roots run deep in Dinwiddie County. Her culinary journey began in the rural heart of Dewitt, inspired by her grandmother, who instilled in her a deep appreciation for fresh ingredients and the art of cooking.

“From those early days in my grandmother’s kitchen, where Brunswick Stew, a beloved Virginia treasure, was a staple, I learned the importance of tradition and the joy of preparing comforting dishes that bring people together,” Moore said.

Now living in Richmond and working in Reston, the chef with a deep-rooted passion for cooking started from the bottom and rose to executive chef status at age 25. With 25 years of experience in the culinary industry, cooking is not just a job for her, it’s her life’s work and greatest love.

“I’m proud of Temmeka for pursuing her passion. She left home to find what she loved and came back a cook,” said Moore’s mother, Gwendolyn Moore of Petersburg. “That’s certainly not surprising, because as a little girl she loved her grandmother’s food.”

Carla Hall presents Favorite Chef 2024

With excitement running high, Moore is currently participating in the Favorite Chef 2024 online contest presented by Carla P. Hall. Only one chef or home cook will appear on the cover of Taste of Home, take home $25,000 and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime cooking experience with Hall, an American chef, television personality and former model who has appeared on Bravo’s cooking competition shows Top Chef and Top Chef: All Stars. Hall also co-hosted ABC’s The Chew for seven years.

“Today, I draw inspiration from the infinite variety of global cuisine. I am continually amazed by the myriad flavors and techniques waiting to be explored,” said Moore. “My dream is to take this culinary diversity and enrich it with my own style and creativity to create dishes that reflect both tradition and innovation.”

At 43, she is starting a new chapter and thinking about the next step in her culinary journey. She wants to move from day-to-day business to self-employment and plans to open a small grocery store.

“It’s a dream that has been nurtured by years of dedication and a deep-rooted love of the culinary arts. This endeavor would not only provide me with a living, but would also provide me with the opportunity to return to school and further refine my technical knowledge,” Moore said.

Moore thanks the communities of Dinwiddie, Washington DC and Richmond for shaping her culinary identity and influencing her cooking style and philosophy.

“Participating in Favorite Chef 2024 is not only a chance to showcase my skills, but also a tribute to the communities that have supported and inspired me throughout my career,” said Moore. “Let’s come together to celebrate the rich diversity of culinary talent that defines our region and honor our culinary heritage.”

Favorite Chef 2024: Who will win $25,000?

What would Moore, who is currently in the quarterfinals of Favorite Chef 2024, do with $25,000 if she wins? The self-proclaimed chef plans to put the winnings into a business account and buy a food truck.

“I feel like my 25 years in the business are coming to an end,” Moore said. “I would love to open my own little food stand to support myself and actually go back to school and learn more about the technical aspects of cooking. I would love to hone my craft and expand my knowledge.”

Favorite Chef 2024 is supported by Colossal Impact, which organizes fundraising competitions for good causes. The James Beard Foundation received $4,778,784.43 from donations from Favorite Chef 2023. The nonprofit’s mission is to celebrate, support, and champion the people behind American food culture and to promote a standard of good food based on talent, equity, and sustainability.

Moore strives to hone her craft and inspire others through the power of food. Vote for her for free every day on favchef.com through July 11 at 7 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time to help the Dinwiddie High School graduate make it to the semifinals and stay in the running for the overall win. Follow Moore’s culinary journey on Facebook at Temmeka Moore.

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Kristi K. Higgins, aka The Social Butterfly, an award-winning columnist, is the trending topics and food Q&A reporter for The Progress-Index and was voted the Tri-Cities’ Best Social Media Personality of 2022. Have a news tip on local trends or businesses? Contact Kristi (she, her) at [email protected], follow @KHiggins_PI on X and @socialbutterflykristi on Instagram.

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