Growing up as a child, eating out was something my parents did a lot, usually with myself and my two siblings in tow. Frequenting the local New Jersey restaurants and watching the smiles and joy these nights out brought us was something I was instantly drawn to. I was fascinated by the atmosphere of the restaurants, the sense of family amongst the staff, and the mystery of the men who created these memories of meals behind the kitchen doors.
My professional culinary career started in 2006 when I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Shortly after graduating, I packed my knives and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where for years I worked in all sorts of culinary worlds. Take a look at any city in the US and you’ll find an abundance of great chefs, fine dining restaurants, and fresh local resources, but I have found that my food has been most influenced by the people I have had the privilege of working with, side by side; people I am proud to call friends and family.
Whether it is a love for food, a job to pay the bills, or a mom bored at home, all people that work in a kitchen have a story, and their story is what inspires A Taco Affair. “In my country” is a phrase you often hear from kitchen workers, and if you’re lucky enough, they’ll share with you their memories of the food they consider “home,” and it’s my hope that I can share these stories with you, here, through our food.
-Chef Jessica Phillips