Kitchen Confidential: STK’s Aaron Taylor

STK is back, just a few doors down from its original location at the spectacular new eco-property that is now 1 Hotel & Homes. The rocking DJ is still in place and the design is still date-night sexy, but this time around the vibe is more intimate. STK’s Chef Aaron Taylor, an alum of Meat Market and Keystone Ranch in Colorado, is back in the game too. He’s recently returned after an eye-opening East Coast tour of STKs, so he knows exactly who wants what out of their favorite quirky steakhouse, especially Miamians.AARON TAYLORHL: What did you do while STK Miami was closed?
AT: I was promoted to a corporate chef role and did a lot of traveling. I basically ran each of our East Coast restaurants for a spell. It gave me a broad look at the different markets and what people really eat and order in each of them.

HL: So how is Miami different from the other cities?
AT: Miami has a completely different flair than New York does. People order a lot of ceviche down here, and in New York, it’s not a big thing at a steakhouse. So, it’s a different market from all the others; what you can serve in Atlanta is completely different than what you can serve here.

HL: There are so many steaks—which is your favorite on the menu?
AT: For me, the porterhouse. It’s the quintessential big steakhouse cut. The chili-rubbed rack of lamb is another one of my favorites.

HL: Do you have any local purveyors you are excited about using?
AT: I love Paradise Farms and we try to use them as much as we can. When they come through I get microgreens, mushrooms and fruit— everything.

HL: You were at Meat Market and some other high-profile spots. Which one most prepared you for STK?
AT: When I was only 25, I was a chef at Keystone Ranch in Colorado, and that really mentally prepared me to deal with a 500-cover-a-day restaurant.

HL: What is the most important thing in the kitchen for you?
Passion. If you don’t have a passion for this business, it’s going to come across in your food.

Photography Nick Garcia