We received an invitation to attend Tyler Florence's cooking demonstration at Macy's - Memorial City Mall on November 13. Tyler has been zipping around the country to promote his sixth cookbook, Tyler Florence Family Meal: Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better, in which he shares his rendition of family-style cooking with local ingredients. He is also introducing a line of red and white wine that he collaborated on with Robert Mondavi. If you're interested in purchasing a bottle, head to Central Market. We tried the red, and it was fantastic.
Over 200 people were in attendance. Not surprisingly, the majority the seats around us were filled with salivating, starstruck women equipped with sharpies for the book-signing to follow the demo. Tyler's culinary expertise, fast-talking charm and baby face went a long way with this demographic. But we were most impressed by Tyler's genuineness--him being a veteran celebrity chef with 12 years at the Food Network under his belt.
His cooking demo was conversational and fun, and his passion for food was evident in his Q&A session with the audience. We've always appreciated Tyler's southern-fried sensibility. His southern roots, and by extension, appreciation for abundance and bold flavor, cut through his classical French training. He was entirely gracious toward audience members and seemed genuinely excited to impart his culinary knowledge and love for seasonal cooking. As we've mentioned in prior entries, our favorite city in the U.S. is San Francisco, and Tyler made us green with envy with stories about his backyard herb garden, lemon/orange trees and his home's proximity to Muir Woods.
His cooking tips were helpful, and if it weren't for his handlers' prompting to wrap it up, he would have chatted with us about brining and infused oils all afternoon. Tips we'll keep in mind for next Thanksgiving: Deconstruct your turkey before cooking. You can even ask your butcher to do it for you. Why cook the whole bird at once when white and dark meats have different cook-times? Contrary to what Alton Brown will tell you, skip the brining. (Yes, we watched the Good Eats turkey episode). What's the point, he said. Your end goal should not be salty turkey. "I'll put my turkey up against Alton's any day," he quipped.
After the demo and Q&A came the book signing. A never-ending line snaked around the kitchen section in what seemed like a matter of minutes. We thought it might take at least a couple of hours before the blogger meet-and-greet. Sadly, we decided to skip the meet-and-greet to get back to our book. We're bitter about it, but we still had a great time. To celebrate Val's last final on December 13, we're going to pick up a bottle of Duckhorn and Tyler Florence Cab to celebrate :)