We're coming up on three years into Tyler Florence's Bay Area adventure. The celebrity chef has opened three restaurants, closed one, opened an outpost at SFO, launched a successful wine label, penned a couple of books, and remains one of the most recognizable faces in the American food world. He just sat down for an interview with NBC's Raj Mathai in which he says that he's still a chef at heart, and the whole celebrity thing was never part of his ambitions. "Being on television wasn't what my path was," Florence says. "It just happened to fall in my lap and I embraced it because I figured if I didn't I wouldn't know what it was like."
He also addresses what he felt was a conspiracy among the local food media to take him down as soon as Wayfare Tavern opened in the summer of 2010. And he admits it might be understandable given the "range" of chef caliber seen among his Food Network colleagues. To wit:
I've always been really humble about it. I understand what your pre-conceived notions [might be]. You watch Food Network and there's a lot of people on there of, you know, a range of cooking abilities in terms of what they can do and what they can't do, and I would say someone who watched Food Network might say [about some of the hosts] 'These aren't established chefs so much as they are home cooks with a good smile and some zippy one liners.' I could see how someone could think that. But you walk in [Wayfare Tavern] and you see we are as serious as any other restaurant in America.
You hear that, Giada? TyFlo's coming for you.
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