Meet the Talented Charlie Moore
By Antoinette May Herndon
MOKE HILL’S GOT TALENT— everybody knows that. Man, this is the Place!
But what even we Mokhillians didn’t know was the degree of it all not to mention the diversity. It took the combined talents of Terry Weatherby and his Moke Hill Lions plus Mike Moran’s Firefighters to create the showcase. The town hall provided the venue.
People are still talking about the May 7 talent show. The violin virtuosity of Georgi Khokoboshvili, the audacity of Matron Mama Morton . . . memories of favorites go on. Mok Hill is clearly startruck. Everyone’s thinking encore! (And soon!)
But, exciting as all that was, a new, unexpected and very different talent revealed itself that same night.
The unsung hero behind Moke Hill’s Got Talent was Charlie Moore. Charlie didn’t sing or dance—he cooked.
Before the audience even knew that Moke Hill had talent, it was drawn to the town hall by the promise of chicken in a barrel. That’s where Charlie came in.
By the end of the evening he was a hero alright but definitely not an unsung one. Charlie and his culinary talents are definitely out of the closet. So to speak. You should have heard the applause. Charlie had fed 100 people. And fed them well.
It came as quite a surprise
to me—Charlie’s next door neighbor on Mokelumne Hill’s Center Street—to discover that he’s a serious chef.
Perhaps this is a story with no a beginning. Charlie has always liked to cook and does it at home much of the time.
But it’s definitely a tale with a turning point. Charlie, a civil engineer since 1974, was layed off nearly a year ago. “Times have changed,” he says in hs typically laconic fashion, “engineering as a career is not what it used to me.”
Now, many 65-year-olds might take that as some kind of a divine retirement signal. But not Charlie! Just about the same time he lost his job, Joyce Peek dropped by with a birthday present that she knew he would love: a subscription to Food Network Magazine.
“What about giving yourself a present too?” Joyce suggested. “Why don’t you go to cooking school?”
Maybe that was the divine signal: “G0 GET A NEW LIFE.” Because, spectral inspiration or not, that’s exactly what happened.
Charlie enrolled at Columbia College in the Hospitality and Management Program. He’s completed a semester in basic commercial cooking, is looking forward to a summer of “baking” and will take menu preparation in the fall.
“Cooking has always been fun but now honing my skills has taken on an a new challenge that’s exciting,” he explains. “Food preferences have changed
a lot in recent years. People are much more interested in what they eat than they used to be. Their choices are healthier. They look for locally grown food because it’s fresh.” This all comes naturally to Charlie. He and his wife, Catharine, have a show garden in their own backyard.
It didn’t take long before Charlie’s newly found academic interests became known around town. People wanted to know basically: “What’s cookin’?”
Along came Brenda Brown, a friend from way back. Brenda, who had just taken over as manager of Mokelumne Hill’s Union House, tapped Charlie to man the grill at the town’s newest eatery.
Since then he been grilling all kinds of good things like: egg plants, Portobello mushrooms, salmon burgers, garden burgers, turkey burgers and everybody’s favorite: beef burgers.
Charlie sizzles his selections on a state-of-the-art grill--a 20 by 50 inch monster.
Charlie hasn’t used all the burners yet—but with summer coming, you can bet he soon will.
Vitals: You can see Charlie Moore in action at Jeff’s Union House at the corner of Center and Main in Mokelumne Hill. Phone: 286-1102. Hours. Hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 11 .m. until 8 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p. m . and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Credit cards accepted