Taylor Montgomery, a native of North Carolina, embarked on his culinary journey at a young age, starting as a dishwasher in a kitchen at the age of 14. It was there that he became captivated by the world of cooking and the artistry of the chefs. Determined to turn his passion into a career, Taylor worked tirelessly to put himself through culinary school at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, where he earned a degree in culinary arts. He holds credentials as a Certified Executive Chef (American Culinary Federation), World Certified Executive Chef (World Chefs Association), and Certified Culinary Administrator (American Culinary Federation).
After years of developing his craft in private clubs, guided by a revered Master Chef mentor, in 2020, Taylor Montgomery took on the role as the opening executive chef at Urban Wren in Greenville, South Carolina. Under his culinary leadership, Urban Wren quickly garnered acclaim from the Greenville community, earning titles such as “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Restaurant,” and “Best Romantic Restaurant.” Taylor himself was recognized as “Best Chef” in 2021, a testament to his dedication and culinary prowess.
Taylor’s culinary achievements extend beyond the walls of Urban Wren. He has been awarded fifteen gold medals by the American Culinary Federation. With his competitive spirit that keeps him motivated, Taylor has secured victories in various culinary competitions across Upstate SC, including the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction, Duke’s Hot Tomato Summer “Golden Tomato” Award, and the Traveler’s Rest Farmers Market Tomato Award for “Best Tomato Sandwich”. His commitment to his field led him to qualify as a finalist in the prestigious U.S. Culinary Olympics, showcasing his talent on a national stage.
Beyond awards, Taylor champions sustainability, composting kitchen scraps on his 100-year-old farm, Montgomery Sky Farm, in Leicester, North Carolina. As a farmer and chef, Taylor exemplifies his “Seed to Plate” ethos. He grows seasonal produce, which enriches the one-of-a-kind experience that Urban Wren offers, and is a purveyor at local markets.
Taylor’s love for travel fuels his culinary passion. He immerses himself in diverse cultures, gathering inspiration for his dishes during his travels. His desire for sharing those tastes and experiences enriches his unique culinary creations, making each dish a journey in itself.
His passion for food extends to helping refresh the menu of Urban Wren’s sister restaurant, The Bellwether Public House, in August 2023. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in revitalizing the menu of the historic Hester General Store in Easley, South Carolina, breathing new life into a cherished community space.
Taylor’s participation in the Highlands Food and Wine Festival marks an exciting new chapter in his culinary journey. With his unwavering dedication to the culinary arts and his mantra of “keep pushing,” Taylor Montgomery continues to inspire and delight food enthusiasts, making a lasting impact on the culinary scene in the Carolinas and beyond.
When he’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find Taylor somewhere on his 50-acre farm tending to his vegetables or one of nearly 100 animals that he and his wife, Fran, care for and enjoy sharing with the community.