Georgia native Nicole Taylor discovered her love for Southern cooking…in Brooklyn, when she moved here in 2008. Now the author of The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen and the host of the food and culture podcast Hot Grease. Deeply personal and always delicious, the food Taylor shares both nods to and reinvents the region’s culinary traditions.
How did you become the chef and cookbook writer you are?
I’m not a chef but a food storyteller or writer. I think it is funny people say chef, I’d describe myself as a master home cook. I cooked my first meal before I was a teenager and have been obsessed with food.
What are you working on now? What is at stake?
I’m the Director of Special Projects for Chef Claus Meyer’s Brownsville Community Culinary Center.  
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What is your proudest achievement? Your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge is balancing various food media projects. I’m most proud of thriving and surviving in NYC, I’ve seen so many great friends leave because the grind beats them down.
What do you hope changes or improves in your field?
I hope to see more black food writers forging ahead creating platforms and spaces for a new generation.
What does Brooklyn mean to you?
When I walk out my door and hit Nostrand Avenue & Fulton Avenue, I see faces that remind me of home and smiles that take me around the world. Living in Brooklyn means my soul is always free.
Who would you nominate for this list?
Anu Prestonia–founder of Khamit Kinks and Natural Hair Movement pioneer.

Learn more about this year’s 100 Influencers in Brooklyn Culture.

Photo by Daniel Dorsa. 

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