John Martin Taylor Donates Personal Book Collection
International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach, College of Charleston receive hundreds of publications from revered author’s collection.
(MYRTLE BEACH) Apr. 17, 2018 - Culinary historian, author, artist and photographer John Martin Taylor, also known as Hoppin’ John, has donated his personal collection of books and papers to Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach (ICI) and the College of Charleston’s Special Collections. Taylor will be honored at a private luncheon at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach on April 25th at noon, followed by a ribbon cutting of the “Hoppin’ John” John Martin Taylor Collection.
Taylor owned the famous Hoppin’ John’s® culinary bookstore and cooking school in Charleston, SC for 13 years. When he closed the shop in 1999, he donated hundreds of books to the Charleston County Library, but kept several hundred for his private collection. Taylor continues to run his website, HoppinJohns.com, where he sells stone-ground corn products, and he blogs at HoppinJohns.net. Though still sought after as a speaker and consultant to the food industry, Taylor wanted to find a new home for his personal collection as he focuses on retirement.
“My marriage and my garden are more important to me than my career at this point in my life,” Taylor said, from his home in Savannah. “I knew the books would get much better use in the hands of students, and I’m pleased that the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach and the Special Collections will be their new homes.”
For the recipients, the donation is a tremendous honor.
“Mr. Taylor’s gift is incredible,” said Harlan Greene, Head of Special Collections at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library. “His papers not only document southern culinary history, but so much more. We know John’s photography and art work, his friendship with poets, artists and musicians like the B52s will spark and satisfy researcher interest. And of vital importance to us – and to the future -- are the materials on LGBTQ life in the Lowcountry, a new and vital focus of our collection. Users of these materials will be thanking John for years to come.”
“John has inspired generations of southern chefs, and we are honored that he has chosen to donate his collection to our school,” said ICI Executive Director Chef Joseph Bonaparte. “South Carolina’s culinary heritage would not be what it is today without the talents of this man. His work has influenced the careers of all of our chef instructors, and we look forward to carrying on his legacy through our students for generations to come.”
ICI Chef Bill Twaler says his career would not be where it is today without Hoppin’ John’s®. Twaler was a student at Johnson & Wales and heard about the store from his instructors. After a discouraging tryout for the school’s hot food culinary team, Twaler made his way to Taylor’s bookstore. Twaler, then 24, got to chatting with Taylor and told him he was skeptical about his chances of making it in the business after his performance at tryouts.
“John gave me a pep talk about how it would all work out and how great Charleston was,” Twaler says. “At the end of our conversation he said, ‘I know you are a student and don’t have a lot of money yet, so you can use my bookstore as your personal library until you can afford to buy what you need.’ I was feeling pretty down on myself at the time, and John lifted my spirits that day and assured me better times were to come.
“It’s because of John and his encouragement and generosity that I not only stayed in the business but made it where I am today.”
Chef Twaler eventually made the Johnson & Wales culinary team and was soon able to purchase books from Taylor and his sister, Sue. The brother and sister duo helped Twaler land his first job after school at the Old Post Office on Edisto Island, where he met his wife. Their friendship continues to this day, as he relies on Taylor for culinary reference or a history lesson.
The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach at Horry-Georgetown Technical College boasts a new state-of-the-art facility at the heart of the Grand Strand. It offers Associate degree and certificate programs, including South Carolina’s only Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Internships and scholarships are available to qualifying students. Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Culinary Arts programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute, and graduates are eligible for ACF certification.
The Special Collections Department of the College of Charleston was founded to support the teaching and learning mission of the College of Charleston and to evaluate, acquire, organize, preserve, and make available rare printed and archival materials on the South Carolina Lowcountry and the broader Atlantic World. Its holdings include over 600 manuscript collections related to the history and culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the archives of the College of Charleston, the Spoleto Festival Archives, and more than 40,000 rare books and pamphlets. Special Collections also offers online access to collection guides, a robust digital library, physical and online exhibits, and is committed to public programming and educational outreach.