Matthew Taylor

Name: Matthew Taylor

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Age: 34

Title: Executive Chef at Mora Italian

Married/Single: Married to Melissa Taylor😊

Kids: Only one with fur and four legs, our little girl Makana. She’s a Pitbull/Shar-Pei mix and just over four years old. Not a mean bone in her body – a lover, not a fighter for sure.

City you live in: Old Town Scottsdale

A typical day in my life includes…

waking up to a cup of Kauai coffee and getting to work shortly after. I love the mornings of solitude in the kitchen and watching the day unfold while working on projects and getting some administrative work done as well (the not so fun part of being a chef). In the early afternoon, I love the spark of energy that comes when the cooks arrive and getting my first second wind. After a quick pre-shift with the team around 3:30 we dive into dinner service, which usually lasts until 10 p.m. The rush of a busy night usually leaves me pretty wound up to say the least, so after placing a few orders, I head home and take Makana for a nice long walk around Old Town to wind down and clear the mind. A late-night dinner with Melissa, whom is a great cook in her own right, followed by quality time on the patio together next to the fire usually rounds out a day.

I was born…

in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

all the friends I have made without a doubt, the restaurant industry has been very kind to me here and given me so many lifelong relationships. Additionally, the diversity in geography we have here is amazing, I often take it for granted but am quickly reminded after only a short drive out of town.

I’m listening to…

I’m all over the place, but local groups like The Pistoleros and Authority Zero are often on the playlist along with Iggy and The Stooges, Dead Boys, The Misfits, Bad Religion, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Eyedea, 2Pac. There is not much I do not listen to.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

Greg Graffin from Bad Religion. I have long admired his intelligence, self-motivation and work ethic, not to mention his great music. Growing up with a challenging attitude towards authority myself, and an appetite for adventure, I find his lyrics and writing easy to relate to, and a good way to understand otherwise complex subject matters. Not to mention, I just really enjoy listening to their music and reading his material on evolution and religion.

One thing I cannot live without…

my wife, Melissa and my dog, Makana. They mean everything to me and pull me out of the biggest slumps and make everything good even better. No matter how hard a day I have, that all changes the minute I walk in the door and see them.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

up until the age of 15, I thought a professional soccer player. Once it became apparent that was not going to happen, I was lost to be honest. I am very fortunate the kitchen found me along with the help from some amazing mentors.

I’m inspired by…

diversity. Being brought up in western Canada with a family that farmed in northern Alberta, and the other side being from India, I’ve always had a pretty open view on the world. Learning and experiencing other cultures has always been what influences my views, how, and what I cook.

The one person who motivates me is…

I am sorry, but I cannot say one. Of course, my wife who always pushes me to be better, but our kitchen crew and management team at Mora as well. We are all super close, and they always have my back. I want to give them back all the love, and sacrifices they do to make me look good daily.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

that’s a loaded question, but even in our own state there is a lot of kids going hungry every night, so I would like to see that change.

The perfect day would be…

an early start on the water, be it fishing or just messing around in the waves, followed by an afternoon on the beach with friends and hopefully eating whatever we caught in the morning as the sun goes down. Early to bed, and repeat.

My first job was…

dishwashing at a restaurant chain called Earl’s back in Calgary. They were on the upper end of nicer chain restaurants for the time and I learned a lot of valuable lessons there, including how to move and operate with a very high volume of customers. I have been in the kitchen ever since.

My favorite escape…

locally, we like to get up to Jerome, Prescott or down to Bisbee for quick change of scenery. Otherwise, on the North Shore of Kauai.

My life…

has been one hell of ride with no end in sight (not now anyways). I am very fortunate to have been surrounded by countless amazing people who have all played a large part in who I am. I am lucky to be alive in many instances and am thankful for the bullets I have dodged and opportunities I have been given. I definitely have it better than most, and I would be remiss not to acknowledge that.

I’m currently working on…

trying to get some dishes changed here at Mora. We have been very busy with a lot of extracurricular events, and an opening at LaGuardia Airport in New York. So, creative activity has taken a back seat, which bums me out. Some normalcy is on the horizon, so we’ll be getting back to doing the fun stuff very soon.

Always…

own up to mistakes. We all screw up from time to time, but whether it is myself or someone else who messed up, I have a hard time moving on until responsibility has been acknowledged.

Never…

look back in anger. We don’t have to forget, but harboring that negative stuff will eat you alive. Got to keep moving.

Favorite Quote…

“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”.

Biggest Dream…

it involves a beach, a hammock and a large bag of relaxation that never ends.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

Cold butter and all the new restaurants that are often two words with some kind of alliteration…insert “Blank & Blank”.

More about Matthew…

A​ ​native​ ​of​ ​Calgary,​ ​Alberta,​ ​Matthew​ ​Taylor​ ​began​ ​his​ ​career​ ​in​ ​the​ ​kitchen​ ​at​ ​the​ ​young age​ ​of​ ​15.​ ​He​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​Arizona​ ​in​ ​2000​ ​and​ ​began​ ​working​ ​in​ ​top​ ​restaurants​ ​of the​ ​greater​ ​Phoenix​ ​area.​ ​Taylor’s​ ​most​ ​influential​ ​time​ ​occurred​ ​while​ ​working​ ​under James​ ​Beard​ ​award​ ​winner​ ​Bradford​ ​Thompson​ ​at​ ​Mary​ ​Elaine’s​ ​at​ ​The​ ​Phoenician. After​ ​four​ ​years​ ​with​ ​Chef​ ​Thompson​ ​he​ ​spent​ ​time​ ​at​ ​Restaurant​ ​August​ ​in​ ​New Orleans,​ ​then​ ​returned​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Valley​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​iconic​ ​Chef​ ​Robert​ ​McGrath.​ ​After some​ ​time​ ​with​ ​Chef​ ​McGrath,​ ​Matthew​ ​took​ ​the​ ​helm​ ​as​ ​Executive/Opening​ ​Chef​ ​for Metro​ ​Brasserie​ ​in​ ​Old​ ​Town​ ​Scottsdale​ ​where​ ​he​ ​received​ ​4​ ​stars​ ​from​ ​The​ ​Arizona Republic.​ ​Shortly​ ​thereafter,​ ​Taylor​ ​left​ ​the​ ​state​ ​working​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Sous​ ​Chef​ ​for Michael​ ​Mina,​ ​at​ ​both​ ​his​ ​namesake​ ​restaurant​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Bellagio​ ​and​ ​Nobhill​ ​at​ ​the​ ​MGM Grand.​ ​Leaving​ ​Las​ ​Vegas,​ ​Matthew​ ​returned​ ​to​ ​his​ ​adopted​ ​home​ ​of​ ​Phoenix​ ​as Executive​ ​Chef​ ​at​ ​restaurant​ ​NOCA.​ ​Here,​ ​Taylor​ ​received​ ​4.5​ ​stars​ ​from​ ​Howard​ ​Seftel of​ ​The​ ​Arizona​ ​Republic,​ ​before​ ​teaming​ ​up​ ​yet​ ​again​ ​with​ ​Robert​ ​McGrath​ ​to​ ​open Market​ ​Street​ ​Kitchen.​ ​Following​ ​Market​ ​Street​ ​Matthew​ ​was​ ​at​ ​the​ ​helm​ ​as​ ​Executive Chef​ ​at​ ​Gertrude’s​ ​inside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Desert​ ​Botanical​ ​Gardens​ ​for​ ​more than​ ​three​ ​years.​ ​In​ ​January 2016​, ​Taylor​ ​was​ ​hired​ ​by​ ​Scott​ ​Conant​ ​as​ ​Chef​ ​de​ ​Cuisine​ ​for​ ​his​ ​inaugural​ ​Arizona establishment​ ​Mora​ ​Italian.​ ​Matthew​ ​is​ ​now​ ​Executive​ ​Chef​ ​at Mora,​ ​where​ ​he​ ​oversees daily​ ​culinary​ ​operations,​ ​along​ ​with​ ​menu​ ​development.



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