Under Cover: Chef Tyler Florence Shares Cooking Secrets

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florenceAnyone who is a fan of Food Network is familiar with Tyler Florence.

The popular chef is the host of not only his own cooking show, “Tyler’s Ultimate,” but also Food Network’s competition show, “The Great Food Truck Race.”

In addition to his turns as television host and cook, Florence has also penned twelve cookbooks, including three aimed at building children’s skills in the kitchen.

He also operates three Northern California restaurants, has a signature culinary essentials store, and produces an array of wines under his own label.

As a graduate of the prestigious College of Culinary Arts at South Carolina’s Johnson and Wales University, to say that he knows a thing or two about food would be a gross understatement.

Now, Florence, a resident of the Bay Area, is set to appear in our own backyard, as he prepares to visit Williams-Sonoma, South Coast Plaza to share recipes and sign copies of his newest book, “Inside the Test Kitchen.”

With so many volumes already under his belt, you might think that Florence would have exhausted his cookbook writing options, but that notion would be incorrect. In a fresh new take on the genre, he turned to social media and an iPad to create a book that gives the reader the feel of taking a trip through a tangible food blog.

Florence began by turning the direction of the book over to his fans. He took to Twitter and Instagram, asking his followers one simple question: What would you like to learn how to cook?

After an overwhelming response, Florence and his test kitchen team discovered that the things most people wanted to learn about were hardly revolutionary. Simple dishes such as pancakes, burgers, and fries kept popping up. All of the things that had been done a million times before, yet apparently, not perfected.

So, rather than creating new recipes, the team set out to perfect those that were already out there, examining each dish step by step, critiquing the accepted methods of preparation, then trying each variation until theyFood Best Food Books felt they had reached perfection.

By sharing simple steps to preparing ordinary food with extraordinary results, Florence aimed to provide the average home cook with the tools necessary to put a delicious meal on the table, whether that meal be for a weeknight dinner with the kids, or while entertaining guests with more discerning palates.

Regardless of what you’re preparing, or for whom, Florence has one piece of advice to follow for every dish — begin by purchasing the highest quality ingredients, in season and local whenever possible.

“The general principle of letting the natural ingredients shine is what drove this entire cookbook,” said Florence. “Seasonal, local produce and proteins taste better, and using them supports local purveyors. So, do shop locally as much as you can; you might be surprised how much better your food starts to taste, right off the bat.”

Once Florence and his test kitchen team determined which dishes to focus on, he made another decision that would determine the course of the book. Eschewing a professional food photographer, he chose instead to shoot the entire book using an iPad.

Everyone knows that food photographers are able to provide amazing images that make the dishes practically jump from the pages, but Florence wanted a more real-time effect, showing what was actually happening in the kitchen during the process of creating the dish. The end result is a book that feels more like a following a recipe you found online, instead of reading a glossy “special occasion” book. In other words, it made the final product a lot more real, and relatable.

Florence will be sharing the book, along with a little insider info, at Williams-Sonoma on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 12 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com for $40.87, which includes a ticket fee as well as a copy of the book.

For more information, call (714) 540-1397, or visit williams-sonoma.com.

Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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