Since his recent move to Marin, Tyler Florence, television chef, author and retailer, has been busy. Besides settling into a new home, his wife, Tolan, gave birth to baby Dorothy Tyler in August; he opened his kitchen/cooking shop (Tyler Florence Mill Valley); and he negotiated his new position as dean of culinary studies, responsible for all food education and culinary instruction, at Copia in Napa. Oh, and he still found some time to flip a few flapjacks at the Mill Valley firefighters ‘ pancake breakfast. Tyler has also jumped feetfirst into local school fundraising, with an October 20 event at his store to benefit Kiddo! and celebrate the launch of two new books: Tyler’s Ultimate: Dinner at My Place and Tyler’s Ultimate: Stirring the Pot. We caught up with him (barely) to ask what he thinks of life in Marin.
You could live anywhere. Why Marin? Luckily for me, my wife, Tolan, is from Marin and she introduced me to the area and the lifestyle. I’ve been all over the world and have yet to find any place as beautiful and with such a high quality of life. I’m just a stone’s throw from the city and we are still able to raise our family in a safe and positive environment. And don’t get me started on the food…the farm-fresh produce. The meats, cheese, you name it. I like to say that this is the American Provence.
What makes you happy in Marin? My 1920s cottage on the creek in Mill Valley and of course, sharing it with my family.
What bothers you here? Long lines for coffee.
What do you value every day? Every day, I think about how lucky I am to have found the path that I’ve taken.
What is your personal idea of luxury? Truffle salt on my popcorn…make that truffle salt on just about anything.
What person has influenced you the most? There have been quite a few, both personally and professionally, but overall, I’d have to say my father, Winston Florence.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your work? Honestly, each and every day I go to work I have moments of fulfillment. As a chef, (I’d say) my goal is to make great food and share it with as many people as possible. And through television, books, restaurants, appearances, radio, et cetera, I have a lot of opportunities to feed people in one way or another. Every day I hear from people about how I’ve helped them get dinner on the table and make their friends and family happy. I love to hear from them and I really do find it fulfilling.
What’s your desert-island favorite book or album? I’m a huge music fan so it depends on the day. Today, it’s probably “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” from the Counting Crows.
What’s your favorite place to unwind? My house or anywhere other than an airplane.
Do you have a favorite Marin view? The view from the East Peak of Mount Tam is about as good as it gets.
What do you like about yourself? I can’t answer that. You should talk to my dog, Jake, because he seems to like me as much as anybody.
How do you want to be remembered? As a family man and a chef.