Hermantown chef starts private dining business
North Shore Private Dining was started by personal chef Kyle Taylor to bring two decades of food service experience to kitchen tables across the Northland.
DULUTH — Personal chef Kyle Taylor, of Hermantown, started North Shore Private Dining in October. He hopes to bring his 20 years of experience in the local restaurant industry to kitchen tables from Duluth, up the North Shore to Grand Marais, and west to the Iron Range cities, as well as Northwestern Wisconsin.
So far, business has been off to a slow start, he said.
"Personal chefs are rare. People aren't accustomed to the idea yet," Taylor said. "There are only two others in the area that I'm aware of, so it is a pretty open market for personal chefs right now. A lot of people just don't know what the experience is about, so there is a bit of a period of people warming up to it."
Yet, a recent experience of cooking for a group of six in an Airbnb on the North Shore offered inspiration for Taylor to continue pursuing his passion. The party hired Taylor for a private dining experience during a surprise birthday celebration.
"These were people who worked in the medical field. Just hearing their conversations, you don't get to experience these types of people every day, typically. Especially in my line of work. Just working with these people was just a blessing. They're all so generous of heart," Taylor said.
North Shore Private Dining is ideal for any type of in-home celebration, like birthdays, anniversaries, a couple's night, or any time the family gathers to break the bread, Taylor said.
Booking is available at northshoreprivatedining.com , followed by a phone consultation with Taylor to discuss the details of the private dining event, and an email confirmation.
Taylor brings all the supplies and specialty equipment required for the meal, such as a stand mixer to make bread dough, a milk frother or creme brulee torch — things the average person may not have in their home.
"They don't have to lift a finger. All they have to do is set the whole thing up online and let me take it from there," Taylor said. "The plus to it is that they can be in the comfort of their own home."
Prices range from $300-$500 for small parties of two to five people. The menu features Mediterranean cuisine with a combination of French, Italian, Greek or Spanish items. Each meal is three to four courses, including a starter, optional salad, entree and dessert. Wine pairings are also offered. Any established menu item can vary within reason, Taylor said, to accommodate allergies or to alter the protein selection of a meal, for example.
North Shore Private Dining is ServSafe-certified and Taylor is trained in proper food handling procedures.
Taylor, 35, entered the restaurant industry as a dishwasher at age 15. Over the years, he gained hands-on experience while working in Duluth restaurants such as At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe, Zeitgeist Cafe, Lake Avenue Cafe and Northern Waters Smokehaus to learn how to prepare various styles of cuisine.
Jillian Forte, the executive chef of At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe, recalled hiring Taylor around 2010 as a prep cook. Eventually, he was promoted to the bakery, she said.
"That's where he really started to shine. His creativity came out in the bakery," Forte said. "He is just the quiet, creative type who comes up with amazing stuff. He worked for At Sara's Table for about four years altogether. Just knowing him, my guess is that he would be a really calm, nice presence in the home."
"I didn't know that I wanted to do this for a career until my mid-20s when I started to develop a passion for food. That's when I started pushing myself more in the kitchens I was working in and really thinking more long term about cooking." Taylor said.
In January 2022, Taylor attended a professional retreat in Orlando, Florida, where he met about 30 personal chefs from around the country and was introduced to the personal chef format.
"I was like, 'This is it,'" Taylor said. "I just wanted to start something that brings people together in the comfort of their own home because I feel like that is such a great experience. You can just relax, be yourself and connect with each other on a deeper level than anywhere else out in society or out in public."
This story's subheadline originally used the wrong last name for Kyle Taylor. It was updated at 8:07 a.m. March 29. The News Tribune regrets the error.