In 2017, Michael Taylor took a chance moving to Charlotte in hopes to kickstart his culinary career. The Durham native started Luxury Foods, his private dining and catering business, in 2019. In nearly three years, Luxury Foods has continued to grow, cooking for a list of professional athletes, most notably Carolina Panthers stars DJ Moore and Christian McCaffery.
Taylor’s unique dishes, ranging from red velvet pancakes to blackened lamb chops, have earned him clientele in cities as far away as Miami and Atlanta.
Locally, he has cooked for a list of professional athletes, most notably Carolina Panthers stars DJ Moore and Christian McCaffery.
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QCity Metro spoke with Taylor about his journey. Answers were edited for length and clarity.
Q. What and/or who sparked your interest in cooking?
Michael Taylor: I come from a cooking household. My family stayed cooking, and I used to watch whenever someone would cook, whether they were making breakfast or just cooking on the grill. When I was 19, I decided that I wanted to try it out and see if I like it, so I enrolled in culinary school.
Q. How has cooking impacted you personally?
MT: Cooking is very therapeutic for me. I can literally go to the grocery store to figure out what I will cook next and clear my mind. I also have a learning disability, so I’ve always been a hands-on learner. With cooking, you always use your hands, so it just fits for me.
Q.When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in culinary?
MT: When I was in culinary school, you had to do two internships to graduate. I was one of a few among my classmates selected to do my internship at Biltmore Estate and the Omni Grove Park Inn, two high-end, fine dining resorts. I was 19 keeping up with chefs who were much older than me. I took that experience and realized that I could do it.
Q. You started Luxury Foods in 2019. What were some of the challenges you faced early on?
MT: The biggest challenge that I faced early on was just gaining support. I realized that people won’t support you until you’re popping or supported by others. When you start off, you don’t really get the love that you feel you deserve, but once you get up and running, more people will support you.
Q. You have more than 15,000 followers on Instagram. When did you start to see your business grow?
MT: Support started to grow when I started to invest more money into the presentation of my service along with my food. I started creating promotions on Instagram and a website. I also traveled more just to get my name out there.
Q. Is there a particular person who inspires you?
MT: I would have to give a big shout out to Cordell Weathers, aka “Cookin’ with Cordell.” When I first met him, I asked him a ton of questions and got a chance to work with him. He’s been doing this longer than me, so he inspires me. He’s just a good, humble guy who has that drive.
Q. What is your favorite dish/meal?
MT: I love brunches, because I do those a lot. I’ve been posting a lot of new brunch plates on my Instagram. One dish that I just posted was a roulade French toast on an embryos roll, with some fresh berry compote and ice cream. I also enjoy making surf and turf and pasta dishes.
To check out some of Taylor’s dishes and inquire about his services, visit his Instagram.