By Ginna Parsons
STARKVILLE – When Taylor Blue entered college a couple of years ago, she was prepared to major in journalism.
“But I hated it,” the 20-year-old said. “I enjoy writing, but I don’t like deadlines.”
So she changed courses and decided to pursue educational psychology.
“My mom is the special education director for the Houston School District so I figured I could get a job anywhere,” Blue said. “But I hated it.”
Blue didn’t know where to turn at this point. And then her mom, Lisa, came to the rescue.
“She told me to do what I love,” Blue said. “She said, ‘Where are you happy?’ And I said, ‘The only time I’m happy is when I’m cooking.’”
Today, Blue is a student at East Mississippi Community College, pursuing an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management at Lion Hills in Columbus. In 2015, she hopes to transfer to Mississippi University for Women in Columbus to earn a bachelor’s degree in either culinary arts or food science.
“Most of the recipes I cook I make up myself,” she said. “I don’t like doing what everybody else does. I don’t want to do things everybody and their mama can do. I want things that taste good and look good.”
Blue cooks dinner every night for herself and her roommate and then when she goes home to Vardaman on the weekends, she cooks there, too.
“Most nights I have no idea what I’m cooking until I either see what’s at the grocery store or I stand and stare at the pantry for 15 to 20 minutes,” she said.
One night when she was feeling particularly creative, she made little grits cakes and froze them before baking them and topping them with turnip greens, pineapple-balsamic shrimp and a bacon-crawfish cream sauce.
Blue won’t give out that exact recipe because she hopes to serve the dish one day in her own place.
“After I get my associate and bachelor’s degrees, it will be time for Mama to retire,” Blue said. “We’re going to go in together and do something small, like a coffee shop or a bistro-type place. A small place with really, really good food. I always said I wanted to go to Florida or North Carolina and open up something, but now, with Mama with me, I think I’ll keep it local.”
Blue worked at the Piggly Wiggly in Calhoun City for two years, and that was good experience for the aspiring chef.
“I like going to the grocery store and getting mark-downs to cook,” she said. “You don’t have to have the most expensive cut of meat to have an amazing meal.”
Just recently, she started work at Central Station Grill in Starkville, where she is a hostess and a server.
“I’ll do anything possible just to get my foot in the door of a restaurant,” she said. “I feel like I need to pay my dues.”
Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.