We’re starting a new series on #FamiliarFaces. These are people in the food scene whose faces you might recognize but whose stories you probably don’t know. They are good at what they do, fun to talk to and just seem interesting—people we all want to know more about. So we’re starting the conversation for you!
Photography by Kim Thomas
Meet Jessica Hunt, also known as BearCub, who is a server and bartender at Knifebird in Cooper-Young.
She’s 29 years old and grew up all over Memphis but says, “Obviously my favorite part of town that I lived in is Midtown, hands down.”
Knifebird owner Kate Ashby says, “Jessica has one of the most dynamic and warm personalities of anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. No matter what’s going on in her personal life, she comes to work with a smile and treats everyone she encounters with a crazy amount of hospitality.”
Customers love Jessica, and we do too. We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did. After you read about her here, you can see her in person on November 2, when she plays with her band, Melan-tone, at the free Edge District Fall Fest in the Edge District.
Edible Memphis: How did you get into the restaurant industry?
Jessica: I got into the restaurant industry about five years ago. One of my good friends got me a job at Texas Roadhouse, but I eventually left and went to The Kitchen Bistro [now closed]. I realized how intrigued I was by food and beverage. At the time, I didn’t realize that there was this world of chefs curating a menu that’s designed to go with numerous pairings, such as wine and cocktails. I was able to be around some of the most talented bartenders that would come up with these super-tasty, handcrafted cocktails. It’s honestly moving, and gives me the drive and passion to dive deeper in this industry.
What’s cool about your current job?
Currently, I’m working at Knifebird wine bar, which to me is one of the hottest places in Memphis right now. The thing that is cool about my job is that, instead of being pretentious about wine, we’re all just having fun with it. Of course, we have to be knowledgeable about all of the wines, but we like to keep it fun and fresh. Walking into the world of wine can be very intimidating for some of our guests, but with my bubbly personality, and even some of our wine descriptions saying that “Khal Drogo would drink this,” it just shows how we like to have fun with it.
What’s your dream job?
So, some people know this about me. I’ve been playing bass guitar since I was 15 years old. My first love and passion will always be music. With that being said, I would love my dream job to be traveling the world with my band, Melan-tone, doing what I love the most.
Do you have a side hustle?
My side hustle for the past nine years has been working as a freelance makeup artist. I first started under local videographer Isaiah Conyers that has worked with several mainstream artists, and Brady Boyd that is holding it down in the bridal community. I still work with these awesome local talents to this day.
What’s your favorite thing about Memphis?
That good ole Southern hospitality, and of course the food. Also, there are so many talented singer/songwriter/musicians out here that don’t get enough credit. Memphis is literally a melting pot full of different races and walks of life. You can learn so much—from the guy sitting in the park just playing his guitar to make some extra cash, to the business owner sitting at the bar drinking an old-fashioned.
Describe your perfect meal/drink/day.
Perfectly marinated ribeye with some grilled veggies and a glass of my favorite cab on a Sunday with my boyfriend.
Tell us something no one else knows about you.
I have an unbelievable fear of heights and the ocean. Those are two things I find absolutely beautiful and amazing but terrifying at the same time.
Have you ever been to Graceland? A farmers market? Ridden a Bird?
It’s funny to me because I have yet to meet a Memphian that has gone to Graceland. So that’s a no on that, but definitely on my bucket list of touristy things to do in Memphis. Also, I absolutely love the farmers market. I like to call myself a great cook—at least that’s what my boyfriend and family tell me. I love to cook with anything that’s ethically grown and happy animals. Lastly, I love to Bird around Memphis as well. My favorite thing to do is riding across the Old Bridge. I have this spot I hang out under the bridge once I reach the other side; that’s where I reflect on my life.
Describe your personal style philosophy.
Eclectic. I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to my style. I tend to wear anything that just makes me happy. I love going through my grandmother’s cool shirts she would never expect me to wear, down to some cool leather biker shorts and a nice boot. Also, I enjoy just having fun mixing patterns with different materials.
Do you have a mentor?
My mom. I’ve seen her struggle, then turn into this great business owner. She’s been in entrepreneurship for over a year now with Paparazzi jewelry, and shows me everyday with consistency comes success. With me being an adult, you think you stop learning from your parents, but my mom always gives the best lessons and advice. She’s the real MVP.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Dropping the dopest album of the year, and playing in front of thousands at The O2 arena in London. Stay tuned!
If you could have lunch with anyone in Memphis, who would it be? Where would you go?
My sister Kyla Hunt, aka “the drumma queen.” Not only that—she’s my older sister but also my best friend. We have the best conversations. I would take her to one of my favorite Hawaiian spots, ’Ono Poké, and drink some local Hawaiian beer.
Stacey Greenberg is the editor in chief of Edible Memphis. You can follow her at @nancy_jew.
Kim Thomas is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in Memphis. Launched in September 2010, her blog KP Fusion provides of-the-moment fashion, style and beauty tips and trends with a little Memphis flavor thrown in. @kpfusion