From Homelessness to Culinary Dreams: The Inspiring Journey of Kameika Moore
August 2, 2023
By Matthew Onyango, Bank of America Student Leader
In a world often fraught with hardships and setbacks, the story of Kameika Moore stands as a testament to the indomitable human spirit. A 45-year-old mother of three and grandmother of two, Kameika’s life took an unexpected turn after a divorce and a debilitating back injury resulted in the loss of her job. This unforeseen setback left her homeless on the streets of New Jersey. However, in the face of adversity, Kameika found hope and a second chance at life through the compassionate efforts of Sojourner’s Place, a homeless shelter in Wilmington, Delaware.
The Road to Redemption: Sojourner’s Place provided more than just a roof over Kameika’s head. The shelter offered her counseling and support to deal with the domestic violence she had endured, and it opened doors to new opportunities. Her passion for cooking led her to connect with a fellow resident, who shared information about a culinary school in the area. Eager to pursue her dreams, Kameika expressed her interest, and the Food Bank of Delaware’s recruiting staff took notice, helping her find a path to the culinary education she longed for.
Joining the culinary school proved to be a life-changing decision for Kameika. Immersed in an uplifting and comfortable cooking environment, she found solace from her past struggles. Interacting with her classmates became her favorite part of the program, as she delighted in tasting the diversity of backgrounds reflected in their cooking. The exposure to various cooking styles from the experienced chefs at the school not only enriched her culinary skills but also reignited her love for the art of cooking. Kameika’s passion for cooking can be traced back to her childhood. Her father, who served in the military as a lead chef, introduced her to the kitchen when she was just seven years old. Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Kameika’s life took a turn when her parents’ divorce brought her back to her mother’s native state, New Jersey. Despite the challenges she faced, Kameika’s determination to succeed and her culinary roots drove her towards achieving her dreams.
The path to culinary school was not without its obstacles, but Kameika’s resilience and positive attitude have allowed her to break barriers. Despite being the oldest in her class, she persevered, knowing that her past wouldn’t define her future. After completing the program, Kameika now aspires to find work in the culinary field while also seeking an apprenticeship to gain valuable insights into restaurant management. Her dreams extend beyond individual success; she envisions owning four food trucks and a café that embraces poets and music lovers, creating a haven of comfort and creativity.
A Vision for Giving Back: Kameika’s success is not solely for personal gain. She envisions her businesses flourishing to a point where she can pass them on to her children and grandchildren, creating a legacy of culinary excellence. Additionally, she plans to initiate programs to support individuals dealing with domestic violence, teenage motherhood, and drug abuse, reflecting her caring nature and the determination to uplift others.
The interview concludes with a discussion of Kameika’s signature dish, Yakisoba. Inspired by her love for Asian cuisine, she has perfected this dish using angel hair noodles, ground beef, and a flavorful Japanese sauce enriched with soy sauce, hot sauce, bell peppers, and sweet onions. With the guidance of Chef Chris from the culinary school, she has elevated the dish by incorporating bok choy, demonstrating her willingness to learn and grow as a chef.