Matt Taylor of Market Street Kitchen on John Besh, Michael Mina, and the Best Southern Restaurants in the U.S.

Taylor at front door with hostess
This is part two of my interview with Matt Taylor, executive chef at Market Street Kitchen. If you missed part one, where Taylor dished about Brad Thompson, Robert McGrath and what he likes and dislikes about the Southern Cooking trend, read it here.

See also:
-- New Southern-Style Cooking Spot Coming to Downtown Phoenix (Just Down the Street From Mrs. White's, Too)
-- Texaz Grill's Chicken Fried Steak is a Classic Phoenix Guilty Pleasure

Five words to describe you: Passionate, demanding, indecisive, goofy, loving.

Five words to describe Market Street Kitchen: Rustic, urban, heartfelt, genuine, comfort.

Market Street's back-bar
Favorite cookbook: Real Cajun by Donald Link or White Heat by Marco Pierre White. Real Cajun because it continues to be my reference guide and inspiration when it comes to rustic/real Cajun cooking. White Heat because it lights the fire under my ass every time I doubt myself or second guess ever cooking for a living. Kind of like an athlete watching his or her most inspiring game, match, or race when their confidence feels a little less than optimum.

Favorite kitchen toy: Spoons. I'll always love my spoons and like collecting them wherever I go. My "gumbo" spoon that is burnt and beaten all to hell will stay with me to my grave or get passed down.

Best food memory: I have been fortunate to have many; but about four years ago, I was back home for the first time in a very long time. Back home always refers to the farm our family has lived on in Northern Alberta for generations. I was helping my Granny harvest her garden . . . We were pulling out beets (her specialty), carrots, cucumber blossoms, rhubarb, and much more. The whole time I was trying to convince her that she could sell these amazing products to restaurants in nearby Calgary and Edmonton if we got our act together. Nonetheless, it would be last time we ever were together on the farm, and the last time we cooked together. Somehow I think we both knew it would be. I can still taste all that wonderful produce as if it were in front of me right now. I love you, Granny.

National restaurant that has blown you away in the last year: Araxi in Whistler, British Columbia was pretty darn awesome this past summer. Great local seafood which is obviously in abundance, as well some great game meat, and local/wild vegetables. Top-notch service in a beautiful setting. Flour and Water in San Francisco is now one of my favorite restaurants. I have had some amazing pasta there.

National chef you admire: [Louisiana chef, restaurateur and cookbook writer] Donald Link. I still would like to work for him one day. I have never been so inspired by someone I have never met.

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