Georgia Magazine - March 2018 - 46
JENNIFER J. HEWETT
For the love of food
COURTESY MARY MOORE
Perseverance, niche market helped
The Cook's Warehouse founder succeed
BY GLENDA ROGERS
fter 30 years of success in the
Atlanta culinary industry, Mary
Moore has taken another leap
of faith. The founder and president
of The Cook's Warehouse, Atlanta's
premier kitchen store and cooking
school, recently opened her store's
sixth iteration-the third still operating in metro Atlanta-in Chamblee.
It is a testament to her resilience,
determination, business acumen and
Moore, who grew up on a farm
between Douglasville and Hiram,
learned early on how to prep fields,
plant, harvest, shuck peas and corn
and put up vegetables. She also
started cooking at a very early age.
Her grandmother, Mimi, would bring
out the red-vinyl, fold-out step stool
so that Moore could climb up and
choose the cookbook the two of
them would use for baking that day.
They'd measure the flour together
and run it through the old sifter of
a Hoosier cabinet (a cupboard and
cooking workstation that was commonly found in kitchens during the
first half of the 20th century).
While her grandmother taught
her how to bake, her great-aunt Edie
taught her about other types of cook-
ing, and her father, Mike, taught her
all about plumbing and electricity.
That self-reliant upbringing came
in handy as she worked as a cook at
Partner's Morningside Café and Indigo Coastal Grill in Atlanta's burgeoning restaurant scene through college.
Her ongoing professional relationship with Scott Peacock, for whom
she cooked at Indigo, landed her a
job at Harry's Farmers Market, one of
Atlanta's first organic grocery stores,
where she became director of research and development. There, she
worked with Peacock and Edna Lewis to develop the chef's signature case
that was implemented in all locations,
assisted in opening new stores, enacted all of the nutrition labeling on
prepared foods and learned how to
work in a USDA (U.S. Department of
The idea for The Cook's Warehouse was born when she and Peacock flew to New York City to cook
on behalf of Harry's at the Greenmarket, one of the city's first local farmers
markets, in Union Square. Charged
with making crêpes, they discovered
they had no crêpe pan upon arrival. After scouring New York's finest
kitchen-supply stores, Moore finally
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
Above, top: Class volunteers at the Southern
Divas of the New South cooking demonstration and dinner at The Cook's Warehouse
help cookbook author Cynthia Graubart, far
left, and Chef Jennifer Booker, far right, with
the "cake parade" of desserts. Above: Mary
Moore prepares paella at the Morningside
Farmers Market in Atlanta.
found a carbon-steel crêpe pan at
Bridge Kitchenware; she also found
her passion and purpose in life.
When they walked out of the
store, she told Peacock: "This is it.
I'm going to have a store like this. I
want to be this kind of resource in Atlanta." Moore wanted to provide families with the tools and expertise they
would need in the kitchen in order to
foster more-frequent dinners at home
and the family bonding that results.
In the course of 23 years, Moore
has opened six stores, each devoted
to making cooking fun and accessible.
"Sometimes when you don't
know what you're up against, you
just go for it. I had no idea what I
was getting myself into or how long
it would take to turn a profit," Moore
says. "It took three and a half years,
which statistically that's what lots of
business journals say. But I worked