Chef Van Hurd

We were able to catch up with former Hell’s Kitchen contestant and chef at Taino Smokehouse Chef Van Hurd to discuss his cooking as well as the food industry in Connecticut.

Local Connecticut: What was your favorite part about being on Hell's Kitchen?

Van Hurd: My Favorite Part of appearing on Hell’s Kitchen were the rewards. Getting to do things that you wouldn’t get to do otherwise in real life; such as flying and dog fighting jet planes over the Catalina islands, having Wolfgang Punk serve me his signature dish of Angry Lobster and enjoying a conversation and a meal with him, to name a few.

LC: Favorite dish to cook and why?
VH: My Favorite dish to cook is whatever I am cooking in the moment. Whatever I am craving, whatever I am inspired to create. I believe that this is a loaded question. It’s like asking what’s your favorite song? What’s your favorite movie?


LC: What do you want people to experience when they visit Taino Smokehouse?
VH: When you come to Taino Smokehouse you should experience hospitality. We want you to feel comfortable like you’re at home, like you’re our family. Food made with love and the finest ingredients. Lastly, we want you to experience theatre to ignite your senses .

LC: What is your opinion on the current state of the restaurant industry in Connecticut?
VH: The current state of the restaurant industry in Connecticut is HOT! It’s one of the top 10 places in the nation to open a restaurant right now. We have some of the most talented chefs with contemporary ideas. We have farms and artisans to source wonderful local ingredients from.


LC: Most universal ingredient to cook with? Why?
VH: The most universal ingredient to cook with, for me, is LOVE. If you put love into everything you make, the guest will be able to taste it every time.


LC: What inspired you to become a chef?
VH: The thing that inspired me to become a chef, initially, was a trip to a kitchen store when I was five years old. I was drawn to a little white skillet, which my Grammy bought for me. The first thing I made was an egg, and I fell in love with cooking at that moment. Later on as I grew into a young man, I found cooking as a way to bond with family and friends and it continued to fuel my passion for the craft.

LC: Describe your cooking in three words.
VH: My Cooking in Three Words... SOPHISTICATED, FRESH, PRIMAL

We’d like to thank Chef Hurd for speaking with us. If you want to learn more about Chef Hurd or Taino please visit their website listed below!