Co-Founder/ Executive Chef
Chef Gabriel Moya was born and raised on the island by a Puerto Rican mother and an Argentinian father. Moya, as he’s known to his closest friends, spent his formative years traveling through South America visiting friends and family. It was during this intense period of his life that he got intimately acquainted with the many Latin American flavors and assorted ingredients that continue to inform his culinary creations to this day. Chef Moya’s culinary artistry is composed of cross-cultural food explorations interpreted through his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America, which he completed in 2004.
The following year he moved to New York City, where he continued to elaborate and broaden his vocabulary of flavors for the next seven years. In the Big Apple, Chef Moya immersed himself in French and Contemporary Italian cuisines working for renowned restaurants such as Aix, The Modern, Falai, and Anella. But it was at Calyer where his work as Executive Chef garnered attention and received the Bib Gourmand recognition in the 2013 Michelin Restaurant Guide for New York City.
However, Chef Moya’s commitment to culinary excellence brought him to Chicago’s third coast all the way from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn’s food industry. Chef Moya came to the windy city LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL in pursuit of his dream to bring his traditionally conscious and technique driven cooking artistry to the city where his childhood friends, Felipe Cabrera and Efrén Candelaria, had been living now for some time.
With the help of his two childhood friends, Chef Moya found what he needed to fulfill his dream. Efrén Candelaria brings to the table years of experience as a visual and graphic artist, while Felipe Cabrera’s vast business and marketing experience provides the final component that would bring Chef Moya’s vision to life.
The Image Maker
Co-Founder/ Artistic Director
Efrén Candelaria was also born and raised in Puerto Rico, specifically in Santurce, one of the neighborhoods in the capital of San Juan with a long artistic tradition. The only son in the large family headed by Angel and Celia, who was born in Colombia. Growing up surrounded by six talented women, Candelaria fell in love with art early in life.
After two years at the University of Puerto Rico, wanderlust kicked in and Candelaria set his sights on the University of Miami, where he finished numerous degrees; a major in Painting MODERN OR DIE and minors in Art History, Literature, and Sculpture. The five years spent in the sunshine state were crucial to Candelaria’s evolution as an artist, yet it was in New York City, where he moved in with Moya, that he was able to come into his own as an artist. Candelaria’s artistic career blossomed in Brooklyn and allowed him to travel throughout Latin America, the United States, and Puerto Rico, where he showcased his artwork not only in collective exhibitions, but in solo shows as well.
The success Candelaria enjoyed with his art allowed him to take a long trip to Argentina in 2008, after which he decided to settle in Chicago and tackle one of his personal frontiers: the Midwest. The city by the lake has been his home ever since.
As a special kind of motherland, Art has provided for Candelaria much more than his I CAN COOK A PORK SHOULDER bread and butter. Home is where the (he)art is, and for Candelaria, it is also a way of life, bringing fresh new perspectives to everything from daily life to creative output.
“Honesty and self-awareness will lead you to find originality on anything you set out to accomplish.” EC
The Man with the Plan
Co-Founder/ Director of Strategy and Plan
Felipe Cabrera was born in Perú and raised in Puerto Rico, where his family moved when he was eight years old. As an adult he has spent more than a dozen years carefully building brands in the United States for companies like Procter & Gamble and Electronic Arts. He has developed an expertise in multicultural marketing and brings a strong, committed work ethic to the table.
Over the years, Cabrera has developed a principled business model that promotes community building, something Sobremesa Supper Club has held dear since the very beginning. Cabrera’s conviction that businesses THE CUBS WIN!!!!!! must care for the communities they serve has found a welcoming home at SSC. It is a legacy that he hopes to pass on to his children, Mia and Gustavo, and one that Sobremesa embraces while blurring the lines between business, home, and community.
Cabrera, as the rest of the Sobremesa Supper Club principals, is no stranger to cultivating wild dreams. His deep rooted belief that the Cubs will win a world series is a testament to this, as is his hope that Chef Moya will finally make some blood sausages, or morcillas, to celebrate Perú’s qualifying for the World Cup.
Co-Founder/ Social Consultant
Mayra Estrella was also born and raised in Puerto Rico. For the past ten years she has worked in public health with an emphasis on communities and has done extensive research into social justice issues. Estrella is currently a doctoral candidate at the School of Public Health of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
Her years of experience MORE SHOES PLEASE in community based organizations, most recently in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, will allow Sobremesa Supper Club to better serve the communities it caters to. As SSC Hostess and Director of Community Engagement, Estrella aims to support local grocers and farmers while bringing their stories to the table. It is through her efforts that SSC will measure up to the communities and be able to truly foster community growth by making it palatable to a much wider audience.