Family. Humility. Expertise. These three words describe a Southern, deep-hearted Chef who didn’t always have skills in the kitchen. At the tender age of nine, through his mother’s wont’s he discovered his NEED for cooking.
“The first dish I burnt was cornbread. It looked like a cast iron skillet,” laughed Chef Taylor.
Antonio Taylor, a favorable, compassionate, mild tempered now Chef, explained what it meant to have vigilance. Withstanding 35 years of cooking in many kitchens and ultimately his home, he described what honing in on your skill involves.
“At nine years old, I didn’t have an epiphany. My mom just wasn’t going to cook all day to feed my every desire,” he chuckled. “You need patience and discipline. From the start, you will mess up, but you have to have thick skin and withstand critiques,” he noted.
His mom ultimately and unknowingly, incited him to learn to cook. His true yearning developed in mid college. As a HBCU graduate of Grambling State University, while the sustenance there was sufficient, it didn’t fit his exact bill of taste. It was then, that his true passion for fulfilling his palette began to bud.
His home state of Louisiana, prides itself in fresh ingredients, hearty dishes, distinct seasonings and seafood. His love for homemade, scratch cooking can be attributed to the South. As a current Columbus, Ohio resident, the cooking culture is vastly different but still maintains a homegrown, rustic feel with their farm to table appeal. From sauces to stocks to his undefeated collard greens, Chef Taylor is the icing on the cake without the bake(ing).
“Food is subjective to taste buds. I cook from scratch with fresh fruits, produce and meats that are well raised. Whatever is important to you and your lifestyle pursue that. I don’t critique anyone’s choices,” he professed.
Numerous rewarding responses to his cooking ignited his start to his booming business. From burnt cornbread to exquisite meals, he showed the world his skill-set one year at a time. Through reading, experience and creativity he came into his own toque. Response and support from all of his tasting guinea pigs revealed a self taught Chef. He continues to excel in the culinary world due to his unwavering desire to expand his knowledge and stay current within the industry. Void of culinary school, he displayed his talent one stir at a time. While he still has aspirations of culinary school, he believes cooking comes from within and educating yourself is essential.
”Cooking is an extension of the person preparing that meal. Cooking is an ever evolving thing,” he proclaimed. He recalls his Grandma’s words of wisdom, “If you ever feel like you have reached the point where no one can tell you what to do in the kitchen, that’s when you should stop.”
His newest venture, Lagniappe Catering and Consulting comprises itself as a one stop shop for all your cooking desires. From classes, to private lessons to meal plans to catering, they provide it all. Lagniappe, a French term meaning, ‘a little something extra’ is just what they deliver.
“I wanted to offer a little something extra from texture to service to taste, just a little more than what you anticipated,” he confirmed.
Also, teaching classes at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Columbus, Ohio, he is humbled and grateful to be in the position to teach others and extend himself. His team relentlessly assists in helping him live his dream and he is forever grateful for them. Faith and prayer helped him to turn his once hobby into a profitable business, but dedication and understanding took him to the next level. Although he exudes humility and a bit of shyness, he is confident enough to know that he gets down in the kitchen! He has put in the necessary work to claim that title.
“Cook what you love and learn techniques, learn the basics. If you learn a recipe you know how to cook but if you learn technique you know how to cook ANYTHING. Learn how to crawl and crawl really well. Find one dish and perfect it!”
With his ever-changing, oncall palette, consistent trips to the supermarket are apart of his daily agenda. Beyond cooking, his pleasures relish in sports and reading as he still loves the feel of tangible books. Shockingly, The Waffle House trumps all others as his favorite restaurant thus far. Simple and sweet is he.
“All food is unique there is nothing that goes with everything. When you understand the science and flavor of food you understand that a lot of things aren’t needed. There are natural flavors to food,” he said.
His lists of favorites in the kitchen are Lodge cast iron skillets, Shun knives and Calphalon cookware. In his opinion, the purpose of food is to bring people together to continue to establish a foundation within the home. Family dinners are still a must in his household. His diligence speaks through his dishes and his craft is continuously emerging to the masses. As social media continues to rear its sometimes distasteful head, Chef Antonio admires the fact that he can share his thoughts and ideas with the many faces of the world. Compassion resonates.
“Social media makes good food accessible to a multitude to people who may have not been able to experience it,” he added.
While we feverishly await his upcoming cookbook (2017), bottled sauces, seasonings and affordable cooking schools, we can rely on his one-on-one in person cooking lessons (in Ohio and by request), his Facebook live chat sessions and his insatiable appetite for savory dishes.
To keep up with him, follow his Facebook: Antonio Taylor and Instagram: AntoniosKitchen.
Written By: JournalisticChic