Memphis chef Tamara Eddy comes from a long line of chefs, restaurateurs and caterers. On Sunday, she’ll have the chance to show off her culinary skills to a national audience when she makes her television debut on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games.”
Chef Tam, as she’s known in Memphis, will compete against three other chefs in challenges testing their culinary skills as they make their way through the store’s aisles.
Each challenge features a theme and a panel of judges will decide after each round which contestant is eliminated.
The last chef standing then has two minutes to run the aisles, collecting items on a shopping list. Each item on the list is worth $2,000 and if the chef gets every item, he or she takes home bragging rights and the $20,000 grand prize.
Her Chef Tam’s Underground Café, which is located in the Cooper-Young area, at 2299 Young Ave., is known for its delicious down-South soul food and Cajun-infused dishes.
“I would describe my style of cooking as too doggone young to cook like someone’s grandma, but pouring all the love possible into the food I prepare daily,” says Chef Tam.
Chef Tam came to Memphis from Fort Worth, Texas.
“Some say women only move for two reasons, men and money. But the truth is I visited the city three times and felt a very strong pull to move here. On our second visit I told my then-7-year-old son emphatically, that we’d live in Memphis one day.”
She opened the doors to Chef Tam’s Underground Café in March 2017.
Chef Tam walked away from a 13-year career as a salon owner, international platform artist and instructor. She traveled all over the globe, earning a lot of money.
“While doing the money-making lucrative thing, I continued to ignore the tug in my heart to cook,” she said. “Finally, after over two years of ignoring that small voice, I leaped.”
Her passion for great food and her burning desire to carve her place in the world l led her back to her roots – the kitchen.
“Since amazing food runs through my blood it was only natural that owning a restaurant was on the horizon,” says Chef Tam.
Her roots run back farther than she can see in the kitchen.
“My father owned a restaurant, my paternal grandmother was a professional baker, and my maternal grandfather owned a barbecue restaurant and was a pit-master,” says Chef Tam. “They have all passed away, however every time I step into the kitchen I stand on their shoulders.
“Balancing being a single mother and maintaining a business is not the easiest thing, but what’s for certain is staying in business is winning for me every day.”
Chef Tam has prepared Thanksgiving dinner for the Memphis Grizzlies, and has served meals to celebrities, including Bishop T.D. Jakes; stage actor, gospel singer and comedian David Mann and his wife, gospel singer and actress Tamela Mann; actress Lisa Raye; actor Carl Anthony Payne; rapper and producer Master P, and many athletes.
“My end goal in business and in life is to be able to hand my business over to my son, and for him to live the life I not only dreamed of, but I actually created,” she said.
Chef Tam was featured in April’s Essence magazine.
“Wow, that’s all I can say,” she said. “I was told that my food had made the article and I was happy just about that, but then when I saw my actual picture in the article I was overjoyed and ecstatic. I ran to the local magazine rack and bought as many as I could hold.”
The episode of “Guy’s Grocery Games” featuring Chef Tam airs at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22 on the Food Network.
A public viewing party will be held at Metro 67, beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Metro 67 is at 67 Madison Ave., in Downtown Memphis.