We had the good fortune of connecting with Jyaira Moore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jyaira, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic and creative career because I love to see the reactions on peoples faces when I bring my cocktails or food to them.I love the magic I create when I can completely be myself and create what it is that I what to create. I was never really the type of kid or even adult who was a “by the book” or “head in the books” type of person. I loved working with my hands. So I knew what ever I decided to do with my life it was going to be something that let me be openly creative and hands on with whatever I am doing.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Although I am a chef. I love being in the “front of the house”. The bar and serving was where I found myself even more comfortable. There is a different level of credibility that you receive from being directly in front of the guest while preparing a drink. Compared to being in the kitchen so many people have taken in part in preparing the dish but ultimately the head chef of that kitchen is going to receive the credit, I like to give credit when its due and not take away from others who are being just as creative as I am. What sets me apart is being an all around culinarian. I am able to prepare food for a private dinner, be a bartender, and do consulting at a bar that might be opening and can prepare a cocktail menu. All while being apart of the yelp elite community so your business would receive an honest review as well. I am most proud of the accomplishments and networking that I did while living in Charlotte, NC. I became the head mixologist at a black owned lounge “Members Only”. where I curated the cocktails menus by season. Teamed up with liquor reps, chose glassware, and did mock cocktail days with my guests. I enjoy the entire process. Constantly taking chances and risks is how I’ve been able to do majority of the things I have been doing and being open to other avenues in the culinary industry. I was told that I would only be able to work in the kitchen been a chef. But being open to the more than just the kitchen has really opened my eyes to so more in the culinary industry. Nothing about the culinary work is easy. As im sure its the same with other industries. You’re constantly trying to find ways to evolve and find the “next best” and the culinary industry is the same. Culinary school was fun in the begining but once you get down to business and really start to learn how to run a restaurant and how to keep your liquors sales down the fun is out the door. lol. If you know that the culinary and/or hospitality industry in the industry you want to be in you just really have to buckle down and focus, surround yourself with people in different industries. lastly explore other careers within your industry as well. There were unusually a numerous amounts of times where I wanted to get out of the culinary industry because I didn’t want to cook in a kitchen all day but I found colleagues who were in my industry but doing other great things. Finding out about those great things they were doing made me go into being a food blogger and ultimately a food critic. I want people to know just because you may go to college for one thing doesn’t mean you can explore other options in your field. Starting my culinary journey I wanted to be a personal chef for celebrities. At the time I was living in Miami and knew that would be easy since so many of them live or visit Miami often. But I just couldn’t get around the right people or people didn’t take me serious when I would tell them that I am a chef. In Miami the industry is male dominated to the highest. So I’m interning at the best places I can get an internship. Making sure I am soaking up the information and criticisms I received and just trying to really make a name for myself. 4 years later I still found myself being in the same position not elevating and it really had me discouraged. I went back to the drawing board and started doing my research on food critics, food bloggers etc. I saw so many women who would go out to restaurants and just take pictures of there food and drinks, talk about the restaurant and they were getting so much feedback. I thought to myself at this time instagram wasn’t as big as it is now, so I was using Instagram but not as much as I should’ve. I knew I could do what they were doing and with my actual back as a chef people would definitely listen to my voice and reviews. Fast forward to now I have started my reviews on yelp and have become apart of the yelp elite community in Charlotte. As well as making my food blog “Top Shelf” where I will be giving the best of the best reviews on restaurants that I try when I travel and where I live. My love for food didn’t die just because I don’t want to cook in a kitchen all day, it expanded into something even more beautiful.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For a week long trip in Charlotte we would definitely hit Ruby Sunshine for breakfast or brunch. Leah and Louise would be another one for breakfast and/or brunch. Two areas that I like to hang in and go to random events would be the Plaza Midwood area and the Southend are. There are a lot of bars and restaurants, you can ride scooters all through uptown (downtown), and grab food from another place I love Waterman’s. They have some of the best and freshest seafood in Charlotte. Also, Puttery is another place that’s fun to hangout. Its an indoor golf course and bar with some of the BEST cocktails and fun putting holes. Another place I would take my Bestfriend is to the waterfalls in Asheville called upper falls. This is a very popular waterfall and waterhole where people go in the summer. Since North Carolina doesn’t have many beaches. The water is ice cold but its so refreshing when its super hot out. After the waterfalls, we can do dinner a little later. The Crunckleton, Steak 48, and/or Little Italia are some of my faves for dinner. The Crunckleton is my number one. The mixologist in there are AMAZING! Most if not all, of the cocktail ingredients are made in house. So the ginger beer, the syrups that are used are of those ingredients are made fresh in house and the cocktails are phenomenal. Nightlife we can hit Cloud Southend. Really nice nightclub and the food is pretty good as well. One thing my friends can guarantee when visiting me is that I will keep them fed! lol
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The person and group of people I would like to shout out would definitely be my mom, all of my chefs that I have met along the way that have really taught me some real life skills and that have encouraged me to pursue my modeling while being in the food industry and my best friends. They pushed me to finish when I felt like giving up completely. First off, my mom. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have been in the kitchen on some Food Network “CHOPPED” vibes. Whatever I could find in the kitchen that made sense to me I would prepare as a meal for my brother and I. Their were so many moments where I literally had to just come up with a meal just so we could eat. But these meals were fire meals to us at the time. Lol We’re talking at least 10-12 years ago. So, well before the TikTok and Pinterest how to’s. I was already putting anything I could find in the kitchen in our ramen. I made shrimp and brocolli Alfredo with ramen noodles! Like at the time what 12-14 year old kid do you know could come up with these meals “Chipotle style” boils with spam as the protein. Whatever I could find, I made it work because that’s what I had to do. To my chefs that I met in high and college that encouraged me to pursue my career as a model and as a chef I thank you so much. I was told so many times that I couldn’t model and be a chef at the same time. the two careers were so different and they would never blend, but they told me their is a market for people who have culinary backgrounds but can do some many other different skills in the culinary industry.
Other: My food instagram is @theculinarianexpert