Chef Q&A: Taylor Hurt, Birdhouse Café

Taylor Hurt, 28, born and raised in Hattiesburg, attended Oak Grove High School and jumped straight into culinary school after graduation. Her first job was cooking, on the line, at Seasons from the time she was 16 to 21. While there, she not only fell in love with the art of food but with the restaurant industry itself. Since Seasons, Taylor has worked all over Hattiesburg learning and perfecting her craft. As far as her future goes, watch out New York.

 

What’s one ingredient that you can’t live without? 
The “cajun holy trinity” (celery, onion, bell peppers). I know that’s technically three ingredients, but it’s the base for the majority of my dishes. 

 

What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking? 
The Pandora station that I constantly listen to while cooking is Jack Johnson with a Frank Sinatra variation.

 

If you could cook for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? 
Richard Blais. I’ve always looked up to him as a chef. I would love to cook for him and pick his brain a bit.

 

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine? 
Vietnamese, pho sure.

 

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner? 
I had a customer order an avocado toast, with no avocado. That was the most expensive piece of bread I have ever sold.

 

What’s the best part about being a chef? 
Taking simple, fresh ingredients and turning them into art.

 

What’s the most challenging part of being a chef? 
Not being able to see my family as much as I would like. 

 

Who is/was your food mentor? 
My good friend and chef, Clayton Barney. We met at my first restaurant job, Seasons, when I was 16. I remember he use to quiz me on random facts and techniques he had taught me in the kitchen.

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