Growing up in the Swan Valley I realise now how fortunate I was to be surrounded by family, friends and neighbours who not only embraced their multicultural food traditions but loved to share their knowledge and the experience of growing and producing homemade goods.
Cooking makes up a huge part of my memory. In our house as kids, the process of putting food on the table, three times a day, for four kids and the transient extra settings at the table for who ever happened to be passing by, was a challenge that was met daily on a tight budget.
Watching and helping mum put food on the table gave me the building blocks of my cooking career. The confidence to experiment and not stress while cooking for the masses – she was always able to stretch it out for friends or workers who inevitably ended up at the house.
I was always helping mum, baking, stewing or making jam. She had advanced planning skills and the ability to create nutritious, inspired menus even with very little resources. Mum turned out a wholesome tasty dinner for us most nights, unless we were having a meal of left overs provided by our good friends Fiona and Kate Lamont. Take away or fast food was foreign to us with fish and chips the only exception on a special occasion.
So what happens when you combine the genetics of an Artist Mother, (Jude is a renowned local lino cut print artist. Her stunning West Australian wildflower and landscape artworks are well known prompting a move into fabrics and wallpaper) and scrap dealing Father (the scrap has evolved into a unique source of inspirational pieces for upcycling and art works)
What happens? Taylors Art and Coffee House. After travelling for a few years I came back to the Swan Valley and worked alongside my talented eldest brother Michael to build the café now known as Taylor’s Art and Coffee House which has become a destination for people coming to the Swan Valley and a meeting hub for many locals.
After interacting with different chefs for 2 years we found that no-one quite got the Taylor’s way of cooking and that’s when my friend Kate Lamont told me to jump into the kitchen and see what I could do. Lots of burning, charring and flops ensued. With a bit of humility I’ve managed to learn a lot and after 12 years the positive response from our patrons is a testament to our ethos of fresh, local and tasty. It’s safe to say we have created a success.
At Taylor’s we use organic wherever possible, free-range always and locally grown as a first choice.
For example if something is flown in from California (lemons in summer) we don’t order it. Our citrus supplier grows all year round. I love using home grown seasonal produce and when people drop off to the café their labour of their own toil, it’s even better. I’m looking forward to the future of Taylor’s and the dynamic atmosphere we continually strive to create.
Caroline Taylor 2016