Mitchell: Local chef tests her skills on ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’

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Golden Moore, sous chef at Mount Sinai WIC Kitchen in Chicago, is one of four chefs competing on The Food Network’s show “Cutthroat Kitchen.” | Kelly Wenzel/ For the Sun-Times

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Golden Moore won’t strike you as a “cutthroat.”

But don’t be fooled.

Moore, who grew up in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, was selected to compete on The Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” competition last summer.

The reality TV show, which first aired in 2013, hands four chefs $25,000 each and the chefs spend the money on helping themselves or sabotaging their competitors.

“It was like I was having an out-of-body experience. My emotions were all over the place,” Moore said.

She was sweating so much on the set, Moore said, the wardrobe crew had to keep giving her a new jacket.

“But women who cook in the kitchen don’t wear a full made-up face to work,” she pointed out, laughing.

OPINION

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Moore is one of those people who can see a great distance, which helps to explain how she ended up in Los Angeles competing on the popular cooking show.

“I always wanted to cook professionally for a living. I never wanted to do anything else. It started with me being in the kitchen with my grandmother and with my mom,” Moore said.

After graduating from Hyde Park Career Academy where she majored in culinary arts, Moore went to Kennedy-King College’s Washburne Culinary Institute. She also briefly attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

“It was too expensive, but I learned a lot of valuable things. I supplemented my education by networking, reading, and researching. I’ve called up a chef or two and asked them if I could ‘stage’ (that means working for free),” she explained.

Although just turning 29, Moore has compiled an impressive resume. She’s already worked in the kitchens of the Signature Room, Lawry’s Steak House and the Dolce Italian at The Godfrey Hotel.

When Moore landed the opportunity to be on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” all of the chefs she had worked with were supportive, she said.

“When it got down to the final two contestants, it was woman vs. man. This man looked like he was alive way before I was born and probably knew some tricks of the trade,” she said.

“For the final round, we had to make banana splits from scratch with only the banana, cherry, and the nuts. When the judge came out, I kept thinking to myself, I hope I win. I put my best foot forward and I can’t go back to Chicago without winning,” she recalled.

Win or lose, Moore’s mom is bursting with pride.

“We hear so much bad stuff about young African-Americans, it’s good to hear that there are young people who believe in themselves and in what they are doing,”Sheila Simmons said.

In real life, Moore is the sous chef, or under-chef, for Mount Sinai’s WIC Department.

“It’s the only facility across the entire United States that has a kitchen. We teach the young women and men who may receive WIC how to properly cook, and cook from a nutritional standpoint,” she said.

She sees the best part of her job ashaving the opportunity to work with young women who are struggling.

“Everybody hides their struggle, but I came through the same struggle. I tell them I am one of you. I speak the same language as you,” Moore said.

“One girl told me she wanted to go to culinary school because I motivated her. I just started crying. That was so powerful. That made my whole day — my whole year. “

Moore is a different kind of “cutthroat” for sure.

Moore’s episode will air at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 27. A watch party is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Sunday at Truth Italian Restaurant, 56 E. Pershing Road.

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