THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH...
Tyler ‘Tai” Davis is one of Saint Louis’ brightest rising stars. Within the realms of food, art, and music, his innovative, and unique interpretations have earned him accolades from the press and the public alike. Born in Mt. Vernon, IL, Davis spent most of his formative years in Milwaukee, WI, but at the age of 12 found himself back in his hometown. While attending school, Davis’ was introduced to the cello by his uncle, who was the orchestral director of several institutions at the time. It was here that Davis discovered his fondness for music and the arts. Soon thereafter, he started to take private lessons under the tutelage of the great Glenda Piek, and 4 years later was awarded a music scholarship to attend college at Southern Illinois University -Edwardsville, where he pursued a degree in Music Performance. After attending college, Davis moved to Saint Louis, MO, and decided to take time away from music and try his hand at other things, food being one.
While residing in St. Louis, Davis caught " Top Chef" fever, and began interviewing for culinary various positions, reading numerous books, and researching the best chefs in the world, to find out exactly what he wanted to set his focus on. Shortly after, he landed a position in a contemporary Italian eatery, called the Crossing, he knew this was one of the paths he wanted to follow. Through handwork and dedication, the self-taught chef had the privilege of working and staging in some of Saint Louis’ best restaurants including, Niche, The Libertine, The Demun Oyster Bar, and Element. 5 years into the culinary industry and Davis had already landed his first Executive Chef position, with two more Executive Chef positions soon to follow.
After ten years of following the culinary path as a savory chef, Davis, restless and relentless for knowledge, made a pivot into the sugary world of pastry, working as the Executive Pastry Chef of Element Restaurant (2018). While at Element, Davis made it onto Saint Louis’ “One’s to Watch” list, and during the same year awarded the title of “Best Pastry Chef-Saint Louis” by Feast Magazine. After Element, Davis moved to The Chocolate Pig Restaurant. During his tenure there, Davis’ culinary prowess and flair for molecular gastronomy was well received. It was here where he embraced his inner “Black Willy Wonka”, and by doing allowed his avant-garde desserts to shine, locally and nationally. Most recently, Davis has had the opportunity to further showcase his pastry skills on the Food Network Shows: Halloween Baking Championship and Thanksgiving Pie Fight, Germany’s Galileo Network, and Disney+’s Foodtastic. He has been featured in more than 40 publications for his culinary endeavors.
In 2020 Davis, quit his job and stepped away from restaurants, and on to his bigger purpose…to inspire. Because of this love for all things art, he knew he had more to offer, to create…more lives to live within this lifetime. Quickly he started to understand that focusing on one thing that he loved wasn’t enough. He wanted to meld and amalgamate all of his passions, into one career, thus rebranding himself. Now, without limitations, Davis creates contemporary art-inspired topics such as trauma, food, mediation, and sound. During his first year as an emerging artist, Davis was blessed with several commissions, his exhibition centered around the humble egg at The Cedarhurst Museum of Art and was one of several featured artists at The Angad Arts Hotel. His musical commitments include performing regularly with several orchestras, theaters, and vibrational sound practitioners within the Saint Louis Metro Area, and has shifted his culinary focus towards restaurant consulting, private dinners, teaching, food styling, bespoke desserts, and personal chef services. In addition to being an accomplished chef, artist, and musician, Davis has also released two books (Tai Davis: Pastry. A Visual Anthology of Culinary Works and Small Circle, Issue 4), and is currently in the process of finishing a 3rd, called Lineage.
“I never set off on some life-changing quest to become an artist, far from it…art found me. From an incredibly young age, I’ve always been inclined to look past what’s present and to dig deeper…always finding the beauty in the mundane or overlooked. Art, food, and music allow me to do just that and to use a voice that can be quietly loud, whilst fearfully and lovingly brave.”