Though many chefs on this list have appeared as contestants on cooking shows, few spend as much time in front of the camera as Tyler Florence. As the host of “Globe Trekker,” “Food 911,” “How to Boil Water,” “Tyler’s Ultimate” and “The Great Food Truck Race,” Tyler has become a household name among chefs. But don’t let his various TV appearances fool you: Tyler spends as much time honing his craft as anyone else on this list.
Tyler graduated from Johnson & Wales’ College of Culinary Arts in 1991, and using his formal education and informal experiences, he has become one of the most successful cookbook authors in the United States. He has published 11 books, using his unique storytelling style to add depth and character to the dishes he presents; in some cases, the books center entirely around the variations that can be had with just one or two simple dishes (“Tyler Makes Pancakes” and “Tyler Makes Spaghetti” come to mind).
In 2008, Tyler developed a plan to open Bar Florence in San Francisco’s Hotel Vertigo, and in 2009 he developed three restaurant concepts in the San Francisco area (Wayfare Tavern, Rotisserie & Wine, and El Paseo).
Specialties & Resources
Like many chefs, Tyler’s passion for cooking stems from “the need of people to feed their families well.” Simplicity is key here; Tyler’s overarching goal is to make good, simple meals. At Wayfare, the menu includes organic fried chicken with buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, herbs and lemon; herbed gnocchi with roasted winter squash, kale and pumpkin-seed pesto; fresh burrata and pears with quince membrillo, roasted Bosc pears, tarragon, hazelnut and toasted country bread; and roasted bone marrow with blackberries and watercress.
At El Paseo, the focus is “Classic California, Spanish Flair,” and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at the offerings on the menu. Menu items include charred tomato gazpacho with diced vegetable salad and crispy sliced garlic; salmon crudo with confit carrots & fennel, radish, and heirloom tomato vinaigrette; clam brodo with saffron and aioli toast; veal chop with crispy sweet potatoes, roasted garlic, whipped butter and sage; whole red trout with prosciutto, tomato couscous, frisee and dehydrated olives; a 32-oz. ribeye with charred leeks, whipped potatoes and creamy horseradish sauce; and roasted half chicken with saffron rice cake, succotash, and Aleppo butter.