Chef Keith Taylor talks about subjects ranging from the ethnicity of soul food, to a restauranteur’s core values to setting a career destination in the next installment of CAFÉ Talks Podcast.
By Lisa Parrish, GMC Editor
Listeners are enjoying another CAFÉ Talks Podcast featuring Chef Keith Taylor, who is an eloquent speaker, motivational force, successful entrepreneur, and spokesperson for operating kitchens with heart.
Supported by family in his desire to become a chef, as a young culinarian Taylor worked with legendary Chef Patrick Clark, who emphasized the importance of all five senses during a dining experience. This lesson stuck with Taylor who has now become a successful restauranteur himself focusing on cooking delicious soul food.
Think Tank author and CAFÉ Talks Podcast moderator Paul Sorgule asked Taylor about how race and ethnicity define soul food. Taylor said soul food is not about being black or white but rather about the food’s culture. He discussed how “spot on” ethnic food probably came from humble beginnings and was born out of struggle. “Struggle results in great food. Cook what you are, who you are and how you feel. That’s cooking soul food,” he said.
Taylor described how leadership can be more valuable than cooking skills, especially in younger cooks. Leadership is also one of the core values Taylor requires in his workforce. He even printed a card for every staff member listing the values. They are:
- Grace, or the ability to forgive
- Action, which is a sense of urgency
- Leadership, where Taylor says, “You don’t have to be the leader to be a leader.”
- Pride, which Taylor says is everything they do and can be summed up with one question, “Would you serve that to your mother?”
- Honesty is the building block or glue of trust that people have with their colleagues and customers.
Taylor then pivoted from talking about his foodservice businesses to how culinary students need to better define their career goals. He said when he’s invited to address culinary students, Taylor asks each participant why are they in the culinary class? He said that most often, nearly all students respond they want to own their own business. Taylor questions why students want to learn to cook when they need to know how to run a business? He finds that better defining their best, future job – or creating a career GPS – will help students become more reality-based regarding their future employment.
CAFÉ Talks Podcast episodes are less than 50 minutes with three distinct sections: an interview with a dynamic expert; thoughtful culinary commentary by Sorgule; and a taste of inspiration from Dwight Edward. A new, free Podcast episode is added every other week. Listeners can utilize the information as discussion points in the classroom, as professional development for culinary educators, as strategizing sessions for program directors, or just interesting and fun information for the culinarian.