a nice chat with taylor's ultimate

Whenever I hear something on TV about a "saucy" Latina - I think, "That's me!" Not because I can get all Sofia Vergara on you - but because I seriously love sauces. Lately, I'm into Peruvian food just because it comes with a little sample platter of sauces. I can get down with Chicken Kitchen - sometimes even without the chicken if I'm in a vegetarian kind of mood - just for the curry sauce. I love to sit down at a BBQ restaurant with the prospect of tasting five varieties of BBQ sauce. 

That's why when Taylor, of Taylor's Ultimate, a local sauce company with flavors like Peruvian Gold and Asian Style Zesty Sauce and an Italian-Style BBQ sauce (with rosemary!) got in touch and met me with a big bag of his sauces (including hot sauces!) I knew he was a nice guy. All he had to do was tell me a little bit about these flexible, locally-made and inspired sauces, and I knew they would taste just as nice! 

Taylor is a Miami-bred sauce master who is quick to tell you which sauce goes best with fish caught that day and which Miami restaurants he'd like to pair up with. You can already find the sauces at Garcia's. But before I give to much away, I'll let Taylor speak for himself: 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-shot-2014-12-17-at-2.49.55-PM.png

Hi Taylor - before we get into all the saucy details, can you tell us who you are and what Taylor's Ultimate is?

My name is Taylor Hicks and I was born and raised in Miami. I have been surrounded by great cooks all of my life. Growing up I developed a passion for cooking by watching my parents and grandparents in the kitchen that including a fusion of peruvian and southern cooking. Taylor's Ultimate is a brand that consists of sauces, marinades, and salad dressing recipes that have been in my family for generations. I have taken the original recipes and given them a little twist of my own personality and taste. They are rich in unique flavors and have a lot of versatility with many different kinds of recipes.

You really are using a kind of liberal kind of liberally using the word "sauce" right? Because realistically you run the whole gamut of marinades, pasta sauces, condiments and hot sauces? They're more like bases that can be altered and paired with just about anything..

I would say my products are the best of both worlds. I currently have two hot sauces that are great on all different types of food ranging from eggs to tacos to ceviche. They are your more traditional types of hot sauces. My other products can be considered sauces and marinades. For example my Italian Style BBQ sauce can be used on pork sandwiches as a bbq sauce or it can be paired with a marinara sauce to make a great ragu for pasta. The sauces can be used as bases for a variety of beef, seafood and pork dishes, or used as a more traditional sauce, if thats what you prefer.

How do these fit into a Miami lifestyle?

Miami is a great city for food and has great diversity in cuisine due to all of the cultural influences in the city. My products are a fusion of peruvian and southern culture which I believe fit in perfectly with the Miami lifestyle. It brings a very unique combination of latin and southern influences. Taylor's Ultimate also has an element of heat that fits in well with the spicy Miami culture as well as a down home country feeling.

If I go fishing and bring home a whole bunch of big fish - which of your sauces do you recommend I marinate it with?

The Peruvian Style Garlic Sauce is great with every type of seafood ranging from shrimp, fish, and even oysters. It's great as a marinade and a basting sauce. The Italian Style BBQ sauce also is great on seafood along with the two hot sauces.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-shot-2014-12-17-at-2.52.34-PM.png

If I'm a real dummy of a cook, like a microwave mac and cheese enthusiast and premade pizza junkie, what's the easiest thing that I could do with some Taylor's to make it look like I know how to cook?

For those who aren't very familiar in the kitchen or don't really have time to cook because of they're schedules the mild jalapeño and mild habanero sauces are great for those kind of dishes. They are both great on mac and cheese to pizzas, and for those feeling adventurous you can also experiment with the other sauces depending on your taste. I have found that people who like to order pre made healthy meals love to use all of the sauces to add more flavor to them.

Do you see this brand as part of the Miami movement (finally!) towards artisanal and craft food experiences? If so, do you have any friends in the food scene that you want to plug?

I would definitely say that these sauces are moving toward a more artisanal and specialty food experience. They are very unique and diverse in their usage and they bring an element of local and cultural uniqueness that you won't be able to find anywhere else. We would love to participate at more of the local farmers market like in our backyard of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. Tarpon Bend would be great to work with as well as more of the seafood staples like Casablanca and newer spots like Miami Café and Boutique. We're huge supporters of local restaurants and markets so we're trying to target that right now.

Tell us a bit about your connection with Miami. Are you from here? What neighborhood do you live in?

I've grown up in Miami my whole life. I currently reside in Coconut Grove which I love because of it's laid-back bohemian flair.

Give me the scoop on the special you guys are doing with Garcia's - we LOVE that place. #oldFloridavibes.

Garcia's currently features aseafood special every monday and tuesday for lunch and dinner. They use our Peruvian Garlic sauce in those dishes and they rotate the specials every week from serving a peruvian style garlic hogfish and shrimp to peruvian garlic oysters. They are delicious. Garcia's is also carrying our hot sauces as well.

b2ap3_thumbnail_b2ap3_thumbnail_photo-4_20130713-174803_1_20141217-195219_1.JPG

Ok, last question - do you have any super-secret favorite local spots that you can share with us?

Well, it's hard to keep a secret in Miami but, I believe there are some hideaways that are often forgotten like Captain's Tavern, Taurus in the Grove and Peacock Garden Cafe. The burger at Taurus will always be one of my favorites and they just redid their menu - I'm not just saying that because, they carryTaylor's Ultimate (haha). I also have to say Peacock Garden Café is one of the most underestimated spots in Miami. There aren't many places where you can enjoy an incredible meal in such a historical and tropical surrounding – not to mention Eva Munroe's grave in front.

 

top two images courtesy of Taylor's Ultimate's website - where you can find recipe ideas, information about where to buy and more.