It was quite the honor for Taylor Fluevog. The 23-year-old Eudora, Kan., native was named executive chef of Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Leawood, making her the youngest person to hold that title in the prestigious Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group and only the second female to ascend to the position within Del Frisco.
Fluevog replaces Wesley Boston, who has moved on to another executive chef position outside the group. Boston told me he couldn’t be prouder of Fluevog whom he hired, mentored and recommended for the executive chef position — in his letter of resignation no less!
“I couldn’t have had a better teacher than Wesley,” Fluevog shared. “Not only did he train me, but he basically let me run the show for the last six months so that I was totally prepared when the opportunity for executive chef arose.”
Fluevog says she’s always loved to cook, creating meals with her family from when she was a little girl. She went to the Eudora-De Soto Techical Education Center when she was 16, focusing on culinary arts and hospitality services. When she finished, Fluevog told me she’d amassed enough credits that she only needed another year to get her college degree.
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Fluevog was hired by Gordon Birsch, where she worked for four years before Boston nabbed her for Sullivan’s in the summer of 2015. Now just a short year later, Fluevog is running the kitchen of a multi-million dollar restaurant. “When I told my parents, they thought I was kidding. Then my dad told me how proud he was of me. Three hours later, a huge flower arrangement arrived at the restaurant. It was from my mother,” Fluevog remembered.
Fluevog says the only pressure she feels is the need to be even more creative. That, and making sure she connects with her staff and her customers. “When I first started, I was scared to come out and talk to diners. Now, I love it! At a recent wine dinner, I came out after the main course, which was a lamb wellington. Everybody started clapping and asking me how I got the lamb so tender. It was a great feeling,” Fluevog said.
Fluevog will undoubtedly have many more of those moments moving forward. It’s almost mind-boggling to think where her career may take her considering she already has a job many never get, let alone acquire in their early 20s. For now, Fluevog says she’s excited about hiring her first sous chef, another young woman, and teaching her the ropes the way Boston taught her.
Down the road, Fluevog says she wants to open her own restaurant with her husband, a chef at Kansas City’s Webster House. I personally can’t wait for that to happen, and knowing just a little about her talent and drive, I’m betting I won’t have to wait long. Meantime, here’s a hearty congratulations to the youngest executive chef in the Del Friscos’ group, another bright local light in the Kansas City culinary scene!
Dave Eckert is a partner with Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based gourmet food incubator and co-packer. Before that, Eckert was the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and AWE for 12 seasons.