By THE CITY OF TAYLOR
TAYLOR — Chef Robert Young has come a long way, both literally and figuratively, since he started washing dishes in a British hotel as a 14-year-old. After a storied career at some of the Midwest’s best eateries, he recently was hired as Taylor Golf’s head chef, and is in charge of all food operations for both the Lakes of Taylor and Taylor Meadows golf courses.
The 42-year-old brings an impressive resume to Taylor. He served as executive chef and general manager at the Jolly Pumpkin in Chicago, and as executive chef at Bastone in Royal Oak and the Redwood Lodge in Flint – all locations known for their food and service.
Young was educated in the City and Guilds of London Qualification in Culinary Arts, Coleg Powys Department, in Powys, U.K., before completing an apprenticeship at the Castle of Brecon, in Brecon, Powys. There, he learned classic sauces and cooking methods under European chefs.
Eventually, he took a job as a chef tournant at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, one of the most beautiful, and elegant, destination spots in Michigan.
“I wanted to cook myself around the world,” he said. The most important thing he learned along the way was, “to keep your mouth shut, and your eyes open,” he laughed.
He credits the first head chef that he worked under, Lee Havard, as a leading influence in his own cooking style. That style also includes heavy portions of his own personal preferences along with influences from an international group of peers that he’s worked with over the years.
Young has created an upgraded menu at the Lakes of Taylor’s Lake House Grille and Taylor Meadows’ Greenside Grille.
“A good menu is a balance, a cross-utilization, using seasonal, familiar and local items when possible,” he said.
To that point, he’s started growing his own garden on the grounds of the Lakes of Taylor, something city officials are sure world-renowned golf architect Arthur Hills didn’t have in mind when he created the course.
“I’m growing some herbs, basil, thyme, mint, oregano and rosemary,” he said. “I think people using the course can see that we are making an effort to improve. And having your own garden saves a few dollars, too.”
While Young admits that there is an adjustment, coming from privately owned and operated restaurants to a municipally owned bar and grille at a public golf course, he also recognizes how “lucky” people are to have a facility like the Lakes of Taylor in their community.
“People are very fortunate to have something like this here,” he said. “This is a private golf course setting that usually costs members tens of thousands of dollars in fees. Here, you walk in for free and receive many of the same types of amenities.”
Young said if people are looking for suggestions when ordering, he would recommend the Prime Ciabatta, Lobster Club, Grilled Strip Loin or the Fish Tacos – all personal favorites.
For the younger set (12 and under), there is a $4 Kids Menu featuring burgers, salads, macaroni and cheese, kids’ pasta or chicken fingers.
The world traveler from humble beginnings is now on a mission when it comes to Taylor Golf.
“We want to become a cornerstone of the community when it comes to our food offerings,” Young said. “Because we are making changes, we really want to improve. We want to be recognized for our ability to do all sales and price ranges for all types of small and large functions.”
The Lakes of Taylor’s Lake House Grille, 25505 Northline Road, is open from 11a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Taylor Meadows’ Greenside Grille, 25360 Ecorse Road, opens at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and everything on the menu is priced under $10.
Restaurant hours may expand in the near future. Go to taylorgolf.com or follow on Facebook at Lakes of Taylor or Taylor Meadows Golf for updates.