In the first installment of the (soon to be) world-famous “Tales from the Plancha” series, I visit with Taylor Rayburn of Brewer’s Pizza near Orange Park. Located right here on Blanding …
In the first installment of the (soon to be) world-famous “Tales from the Plancha” series, I visit with Taylor Rayburn of Brewer’s Pizza near Orange Park. Located right here on Blanding Boulevard, Brewer’s is also home to the Pinglehead Brewing Company and some of the best pizza on the planet.
I caught up with Taylor before dinner service where we discussed his earliest food memories, how he got his start in food service and his best advice for home cooks.
Taylor’s earliest food memories took place at Burdav’s Café in Ft. Worth, Texas. His mother ran the kitchen making all of the biscuits from scratch and working 6 to 7 days a week. When his dad didn’t have work and he didn’t have school, Taylor would visit her.
“She had a towel set off to the side and every once in a while she would go grab it and wipe her face because she was sweating because it was so hot back there,” he said.
Taylor’s mother told him “When you turn 18, you are going to have a job.” Early one Saturday morning, his mother – who managed a local Waffle House – had an employee not show up for work. She called home and a very young and hung over Taylor answered.
“I need your (fill in the blank) here now.”
After a quick shower, a blurry-eyed Taylor walked in and was greeted by his mom who told him “you are on the meat station, don’t fudge (you get the idea) up.” He made it through service that day prepping all of the bacon, sausage and hamburgers. It was a heck of a place to cut your teeth.
In October of 2012, Taylor walked in to Brewer’s Pizza. They had just fired a dishwasher and Taylor – who was looking a job – had no problem washing dishes. Troy Maas, – the owner – liked what he heard and hired Taylor on the spot.
As time marched on past 2012, Taylor worked his way up the food chain at Brewer’s and is now the head cook. He gets to use his creativity each week by creating recipes for what’s called “The Monday Mash-In.” The mash-in involves creating such unique pizzas as Chicken Pot Pie, Pesto Pizza, or Chicken Enchilada Pizza and then pairing them with the finest craft beer known to mankind.
Taylor’s best advice for home cooks is to find a recipe from a reputable source and try to replicate it. The provider has an understanding of seasonings and this should be used as your guide. After that, feel free to make any additions, subtractions or substitutions. In addition to following a recipe at least once, Taylor encourages cooks to have everything measured and set out in advance, before you fire up the grill.
When it’s time to cook, you won’t be searching for ingredients that you could have had prepared in advance. This makes for an enjoyable cooking experience.