Round two with Pippa Taylor, exec chef of Strings
What's always in your kitchen? The Beatles. They're playing in the kitchen at Strings every day. Listening to music while cooking lifts the spirit and adds magic and love to the food you put out. The Beatles make me happy and food makes me happy. It's a perfect combination.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? My favorites are New Zealand sauvignon blancs and French Vouvray for whites, and chianti and grenache for reds. I really like pilsners and IPAs when it comes to beer, and right now I'm digging Midas Touch by Dogfish Head. Ryan and I are actually currently working on our sommelier certifications. We've taken our first test out of four and are studying for our second.
One book that every chef should read: I don't think any chef should stop at just one; they should read everything they can to learn about different styles, chefs, techniques and the industry. It's the best way to keep learning and growing. One of my favorites is Ma Gastronomie, by Fernand Point. It has all of the fundamentals and classics a chef should master before branching out into more complicated cooking.
Best recipe tip for a home cook: Use recipes as guides, not as gospel. Go with your gut, and taste and adjust the seasonings until you like it. Use vinegar when it's just not quite right.
Culinary heroes: Austin Cueto, the executive chef at Restaurant Kevin Taylor. He gave me my first job in the industry after I left a career in finance. I had no business being in a professional kitchen, but Austin gave me a shot. He taught me all my fundamentals, and he's the reason why I'm the executive chef at Strings. And my husband, Ryan Taylor, is the most talented chef I know. I could eat his food forever, and he's by far one of the most creative minds in the kitchen. It's an honor to work side by side with him.
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? Barbara Lynch, a chef in Boston, Massachusetts. As a female, I find it so inspiring to see what other women are doing in their kitchens. Her restaurant, No. 9 Park, has a beautiful menu -- very strong yet very feminine at the same time. Women chefs around the world drive my hunger, my passion and my motivation.
Favorite celebrity chef: Gordon Ramsay. I've had the privilege of eating at a few of his restaurants; he's just so talented. I don't watch his shows, but his food speaks for itself.