How does a latchkey kid go from eating microwave burritos to being a world-renowned chef? In this episode of Before IT Happened, Donna tells the story of one of the early faces of The Food Network, Tyler Florence. Tyler is an American culinary star, author of almost a dozen cookbooks, an entrepreneur, and even a documentary director. Tyler’s love for food has taken him from working on the front lines of busy restaurants to collaborating with the World Central Kitchen and the United Nations to combat world hunger. Listen now and learn how this passionate risk-taker is constantly pushing his career to new and exciting levels!
Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.
Jump straight into:
(02:10) - Tyler’s latchkey kid childhood and how his love for food began - “I was never a kid who wanted to order off the kids' menu. I wanted the most adventurous, most expensive thing on the menu.”
(08:43) - Getting his first job as a dishwasher and getting inspired by food - “Nothing was as interesting to me as working in the kitchen and working in restaurants. So I graduated from high school and went to culinary school in Charleston, South Carolina.”
(14:25) - Moving to New York City to start his career as a chef - “I didn't have a job. I moved there with just an opportunity to show up and work for free to prove that you can even be there.”
(18:20) - Getting discovered by The Food Network and his career as a TV host - “I was the first chef on Food Network to not wear a chef's coat, just because I felt like it was some sort of invisible Superman cape, so I just took on the position of the everyday guy next door.”
(23:41) - His entrepreneurial spirit - “When you're famous, the phone rings, so there's a blend between fielding opportunities and creating opportunities.”
(26:16) - The future of the restaurant industry post-pandemic - “I think it's really important that we start to really harvest and dial in the next generation of up and coming talent.”
(30:31) - Working with the World Central Kitchen and the UN World Food Program - “40% of all food at a grocery store ends up in the dumpster and then 30% of food that comes home, ends up in the garbage.”
Be the first to eat at Miller & Lux, Tyler’s newest restaurant in San Francisco
Reserve a table at Tyler’s first San Francisco restaurant Wayfare Tavern
Donate or volunteer at the World Central Kitchen
Learn more about the United Nations World Food Program
See Tyler’s shows and recipes on the Food Network
Watch the trailer for Tyler’s documentary UnCrushable on California’s 2017 wildfires
Subscribe to Tyler’s Youtube channel Wolf it Down with Tyler Florence
Learn more about Tyler’s production company Monarch Collective
Learn more about Tyler’s alma mater Johnson & Wales University
Order you own organic baby food at Sprout
Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by Nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.