Tyler Florence Fresh: “The Anatomy of Flavor, One Simple Idea”, Authors at Google

Tyler Florence Fresh: “The Anatomy of Flavor, One Simple Idea”, Authors at Google


LIV WU: Hi everybody,
I am delighted to welcome Tyler Florence. It’s lovely to have you here,
so inspiring to share food with you at lunchtime and
hear you talk about it. TYLER FLORENCE: Thank you very
much, Liv, I’m so happy to be here, guys, how you doing? LIV WU: I love how sensory the
book is, the photographs, they’re just– no clutter, just food. TYLER FLORENCE: That is the idea
behind “Fresh,” which is just clean, simple delicious
recipes, that are kind of innovative in a sense, and
when you take a look at recipes that are so vibrant,
especially because we all live in California, so you
guys will get it. Clearly, that there’s so much
incredible flavor to be had and nutrition behind
that, so it’s not about a bowl of salad. It’s about creating a spectrum
of nutrients and taking those ingredients and then
doing really crazy fun things with them. And that’s what I like about
food and that’s what I like about cooking. And that’s what I wrote
about in this book. LIV WU: And in fact, people
think there’s the divide. There’s healthy food and then
there’s gorgeous food. But in fact what you’re talking
about, nutrient density, is flavor, right? That’s what winemakers
talk about. TYLER FLORENCE: I’m actually
a winemaker as well. I’ve been making wine with
Michael Mondavi in Napa, and what we harvested this year
is our fifth season. And it’s really kind of paying
attention to nature. It was a fabulous harvest,
by the way. 2011 was kind of a disaster,
just because it was so cold and foggy up in wine country,
but this year it was sort of the classic storybook kind of
cartoonish California summer. Just long, like lovely warm
days, kind of cool foggy nights, and produced just a
bumper crop of sauv blanc, pinot, of zin, of cab. Not just quantity but also
quality, so it was a really amazing season. And when we blend the wine, and
we won 13 medals in three seasons out. And I think our scores are
speaking volumes of our passion for the product so
we don’t have to scream so loud about it. And I really, really love
what we’re doing. And when you get a chance to
kind of concentrate flavors, and take it from a very, very
natural focus, so it’s about taking the idea of a carrot. If you guys get a chance to eat
in the cafeteria earlier, like the idea of albacore tuna
with confit carrots and a carrot puree on top of that,
so you’re taking the same ingredient and kind of using it
in a couple different ways. So you’re having lunch, but
you’re also eating 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C.
I think that’s kind of interesting. Because that’s what it
should be, that’s what food should be. So it’s not about the idea of
gluttony, it’s about taking smart ingredients and just
doing something very compelling with it. So when you walk out of that,
you don’t have the meat sweats, you actually
feel invigorated. You shouldn’t get the meat
sweats eating lunch. I know you guys work 80 hours a
week like I do, so I’m sure sometimes you’ve
got to make do. The book is about taking one
step closer to hopefully everybody that reads the book,
that we can have a conversation together about
health and nutrition and what you put your body on
a daily basis. And hopefully you can take that
information and have a conversation with somebody
else about it. LIV WU: And you started telling
me earlier, this path is taking you to having
your own farm that supplies you with– TYLER FLORENCE: Yeah, well to
me, in our restaurant, have you guys been to
our restaurant? In San Francisco,
Wayfare Tavern? Have you guys been up there? It’s good, you like it? It’s good, right? I think we’re getting better,
thank you, thank you. Well it was OK, service
was a little slow. My fried chicken wasn’t as
hot as it was last time. But we’re actually thinking
about, kind of getting, making, closing the gaps between
what we serve and where we get it. I have three restaurants in the
Bay Area, and we spend a ton of money on produce. And a lot of things you don’t
necessarily get a ton of value of that money just because
there’s only a few pipelines to kind of get those particular
products. So if it’s micro greens that
are bused in from Ohio, and it’s $15 a clamshell, and you
get 50% usage out of that, just because it’s been on
the road for 48 hours and picked 72 hours. And then, you take that and
add it up over the year. It’s the money that we’re, we
could be getting value out of, vs. money we’re spending. So we’re actually looking at
some property, I think tomorrow and definitely next
week when I get back. But we’re actually looking at
either buying a farm or leasing a farm, and actually
growing our own produce for our own restaurants. Because we spend the
money anyway. So instead of having the same
cool little micro green that you see on every single
restaurant in town, because people kind of get on– when the catalogs come out, from
like, little micro green companies, everybody jumps on
like hearts on fire sorrel. You kind of see it
over the place. And we want to start– we want
to be able to plan our own thing and really think
it through. So, clearly you can’t make a
phone call, you’ve got to plan the seasons out. But we’re really excited
about that. And just to have that story,
just a little closer. Between, by the time you get it
on your plate, and where it came from, it’s a very
small circle LIV WU: It really aligns
with our values on the food team here. And going back to nutrition,
when it travels less there’s more nutrition retained. TYLER FLORENCE: Absolutely. And also, you kind of keep
your money in a tighter circle, too. I’d much rather invest in a
family that take care of our restaurants and what we serve,
than necessarily just write a check to a company. Not that we don’t get value from
the company, but I just think, again, just trying
to get one step closer to the truth. And that’s what we always want
to do, which is get one step closer to purity and clarity
and focus and flavor. And that to me is just
growing it yourself. LIV WU: And same philosophy
to seafood, right? You were saying earlier, love
the anchovies, the sardines, they need to get sexy, right? As much as ahi tuna. TYLER FLORENCE: Absolutely. So if you get a chance to read,
flip through “Fresh,” there’s very interesting
stories. And one story that I wrote,
it’s quick little stories, it’s about eating on what they
call the trophic scale. And the trophic scale is
basically the food system. So the kings of trophic
scale are predators. So it’s tuna, and shark,
and things like that. And things at the bottom of the
trophic scale are things like sardines, and anchovies,
and then you get into plankton and phytoplankton,
things like that. But if you can eat things from
a little more diversified, so it’s not so much things at the
top of the trophic scale, because they have to consume– they consume the entire
ecosystem on the way up. So it’s a little fish that gets
eaten by the bigger fish, and a bigger fish, and a bigger
fish, and then you catch that biggest fish. From a calorie standpoint, that
thing consumes 10 times the calories that it’ll ever
give you from a nutrient standpoint. So that is not sustainable. That is 180 degrees from
sustainability. So what we have to eat are
things that have a shorter life span, that reproduce
quicker, like octopus for a second, you guys like octopus? So if you see octopus, octopus
is certainly something that you’re probably not going to
find in a grocery store. But if you get it in a
restaurant, especially if it’s local, there’s amazing octopus
up and down the Pacific coast. The octopus only live about a
year, and they reproduce in six months. And they consume such a minute
amount of the environment, and the way they’re fished, with
basically a bucket and a string, there’s zero
impact on anything. And they’re loaded
with omega 3s. And there’s like virtually
zero mercury. So my point is, if you can eat,
make a decision, and make anchovies sexy, and make
sardines sexy. Almost like a Mediterranean
culture. Every time I go to Greece, or go
to Spain, that’s all we eat are like small oily fish. And I love it, it’s
so delicious. You’re actually doing the
environment a gigantic favor because that product gets
caught, and then about 90% of it either gets turned into fish
food that feeds farmed fish, or it gets turned into
bait to catch other fish. There are enough calories to
feed the planet, hands down. We’re just not using it
in an efficient way. There’s plenty of food, but
we’re just not using it. We’re throwing most of it out. LIV WU: That saying, eating
salmon is like eating tiger. It’s that high on
the food chain. TYLER FLORENCE: Absolutely. The salmon, to me, is another
thing which I think is really kind of fascinating, because
everybody sees the demise of the California salmon as
something that’s sort of a recent phenomenon. But there’s been a steady
decline since like the 1860s. As populations moved west and
started building whale towns, up and down the Pacific
Northwest, and then started building dams, we’ve
been killing salmon for a long time. It was a vital resource that
now is starting to affect a much, much deeper part of the
ecosystem and that’s what’s called biomass. So when salmon do their last,
most valuable thing on the planet, that’s reproduce, their
bodies just die, because it’s the last thing they do. And as the carcasses start to
fold into the soil, that is the reason that Sequoia trees
are where they are, if you really think about it. Because they’ll swim up through
the inter-coastal waterways and up in through
the estuaries. And when they die, they
feed the trees. So the mighty redwoods of the
Pacific Northwest, and starting in about California
up to Oregon, that is there because the salmon population
was there. And if you start to take
that away, what’s the other side of it? Because there’s not that
much fuel for them necessarily to eat. It’s a very interesting
thing, and everything inside the book– I tell people this all the time,
it’s very Google-able. You can look up every single
thing in the book and it’s all the truth. So it’s not just about recipes,
it’s food, but it’s also food for thought. And there’s a lot of different
things that you can do, every single day with your wallet
and your dollar. Because you’re a lot more
powerful than you think you are, even with social media,
because you can just turn people on to very, very
interesting things just by suggesting them. And when you do the right thing,
it’s like dropping a rock in the water, and
you watch the rings sort of circle out. That is where we all stand right
now, because we’re all very, very powerful. And as social media becomes
accessible to everybody, and one person that has a smart
blog, and a lot of followers on Twitter, or whatever, they
are just as influential as newspapers, as major
news sources. So we’re all very powerful
people, and I think it’s so fascinating. LIV WU: So your journey through
being a young cook, and television shows, and
books, and then this connectedness to nature and the
chain of life, is that a path that you think, you and I
have taken, but do most young cooks take, who are
in the profession? TYLER FLORENCE: It’s an exciting
time to be a chef. And it’s an exciting time to
be a young chef, because I think there’s a lot of very
accessible, attainable information. And there was a beef, I don’t
know if you guys follow this stuff or not, but David
Chang is a big chef in New York City. He took a very, very publicized
swipe at chefs in California and San Francisco. He said the most difficult thing
a chef in San Francisco has to do is go shopping. You know what I’m talking
about, right? I think the most difficult thing
that any chef can do is go shopping. Because if you just blindly make
a phone call and say, I need carrots, I need tomatoes,
and it just shows up, versus actually taking time to
carefully plan out your menu. To try to source the best thing
from the best guy is incredibly important. LIV WU: And we add to the
taste when it comes in. TYLER FLORENCE: Because the
taste, it’s all the difference in the world. So the holy grail of California
cooking is all about the produce here. I lived in York City for 14
years, and when I moved out to California in 2006, it was one
of those things to me, it was probably the most important
moment in my culinary career is when I started to dive into
the California food scene and how amazing thing taste. It’s the difference between a
Georgia peach and a California dry farm peach. You can’t compare the two. So a Georgia peach, and there’s
no disrespect to Georgia peach farmers, because
I grew up in the south, so I grew up on a lot of– I was raised on Georgia
peaches. Because of the ample rainfall
that happens in the American Southeast throughout the summer,
these peaches are just really, really dense and heavy
and they’re filled with water. And water is just sort
of a flabby flavor. Where California peaches,
because the way the weather cycles throughout the season– like right now, we’re about to
sort of get our rain for the year, and the grounds just get completely soaked and saturated. And then throughout the summer,
it doesn’t rain for 120 days, 180 days. And so through that growth
cycle, the trees themselves– and it’s the oldest irrigation
plan on earth, and Mediterranean olives have been
grown this way, and grape vines have been grown
this way. So as the plants really have
to stress and find the moisture, and deepen their roots
system, they’re going to pull minerality out of the
ground as well as water. And so they get these really big
beautiful wide leaves, so they’re getting energy through
the sun, through photosynthesis. And they’re getting their
nutrients, and they get the minerality through the proper
channels, not just rainfall. So you’ll get this big, dense,
juicy peach, but instead of just like you bite into it and
it explodes with water, which is a really juicy
peach, it’s fun. But it can’t touch the flavor
of a California apricot or a California peach. LIV WU: You are so sounding
like a wine grower. TYLER FLORENCE: You just
can’t touch it. You bite into, like a California
peach and it’s ripe in season– I mean, it’s like, a Frog Hollow
peach, is just to me like one of the– I so look forward to the season,
and the first one, I start to well up a little bit. Because it’s just, that is the
definition of a peach. And it’s so fantastic. So to me, to answer your
question, to be a young chef right now, with so much
information at your fingertips, and also how chefs
trade information back and forth at lightning speed through
Instagram and through Twitter, is really transforming
and hitting the gas on how we share information
and how fast trends can swipe across
the country. So the old model of sharing
ideas from a culinary standpoint, I would have to get
on a plane, and fly to a city, and eat in this guy’s
restaurant, and take pictures and take notes to kind
of get the idea of what it’s all about. And now, I see what these people
post as specials every single night. So to me, like I follow–
if you guys follow me on Instagram and then kind of dig
through who I follow, I follow some pretty interesting
people. And probably some chefs you
haven’t heard of yet. But it’s so inspiring to
watch creativity just unfold at real time. It’s a very interesting time
to be a chef, because the curve, it used to
be a big curve. You had to like fill up your
passport, and travel, and taste, and I always recommend
that, because you can’t replace that. You can’t replace
the authentic. But you can certainly get a
very, very clear idea of what the authentic looks like, just
by sharing images and video through social media. LIV WU: Wonderful. Really passionate stuff,
thank you. TYLER FLORENCE: I love what
I do, I really do. LIV WU: I’m going to change
directions a little bit. You were in the studio 16 years
ago with your first show, “Cooking”, with
real life people. Have we changed? Are we cooking less? I’m afraid to ask. Or are we maybe be cooking more
because of social media because of the Food Network. TYLER FLORENCE: I think,
so I started in 1996. I was a guest chef on a show
called “In Food Today” and it was hosted by David
Rosengarten. I don’t know if you guys
know who this guy is. He had a show called
“Good Taste”? He was kind of a nerdy guy. I don’t know if David’s going
to see this or not. I think he’d tell himself he’s
kind of a nerdy guy. But anyway, he wore a
tie, he was very– you know what I’m
talking about? David Rosengarten? He hosted the show. So I was 25 years old and
I was executive chef at restaurant called Cibo, C-I-B-O,
in New York City, sort of on the cusps of Tudor
City, on 41st and 2nd. It was Italian, but it was
definitely sort of new American Italian. And one of the producers from
Food Network stumbled into the restaurant, and I was out
walking around saying hi to people, and handing me
their card, and said listen, call me. We’d love to have you on
this new cooking show. It was only in like New York,
and Chicago and Los Angeles. It wasn’t really coast
to coast yet. And I hosted one show, and I
mumbled and stuttered my way through four and
a half minutes. And I didn’t know one person
could sweat that much in four minutes, but apparently
it’s possible. And I thought I’d bombed it,
but the executive producer walked down and said, that
was fantastic, can you come back next week? So between ’96 and ’99, I
hosted probably 50 or 60 different guest appearances. And I was almost on television
every day anyway. And then in 1999, probably when
a lot of you were just starting college, I hosted
a show called “Food 911”. It’s true. So I host a show called “Food
911,” and it was a show where I traveled around the country
and I helped people out with their everyday food
emergencies. So you call 9-1-1, the cops show
up, and you call “Food 911” and I show up. We shot that show for about
five years, and I think we shot 150 episodes a year. I mean, it was a super
aggressive schedule. But what I got a chance to do
was really sort of down gear and down shift how I
related to people. Because a lot of chefs are
kind of like cops. They kind of speak this code,
and they kind of live this life that only other cops can
understand, so you speak cop talk, and chefs kind of speak
chef talk to each other. So I had to sort of like shift
gears, and rethink how I approached cooking and how I
approached the conversation of cooking of just really
civilian. Just real, real life people
who never went to culinary school, don’t know what the five
mother sauces are, don’t care what the five mother sauces
are, they’re never going to make a chicken
stock from scratch. So I had to sort of, kind
of like regroup. So it wasn’t so much about
my idea of what their food was all about. But really just trying
to fix their thing. Don’t hit it over their head. Just kind of give them
what they want. Like literally, like my tuna
noodle casserole is terrible. And I’d walk into it, I’m like,
you’re kind of right. But let’s fix your tuna noodle
casserole, because that’s all she wants. So we just kind of went through
the steps, OK here’s how you can correct this, here’s
how you can under cook this but cook it correctly
at the last minute. And we would take her recipe
and fix it, with her ingredients, in her kitchen,
and her stuff. And it was awesome. It was awesome, because and then
occasionally we did fun stuff like creme brulee, and
we shot so many episodes. And it was the first chef on the
Food Network to not wear a chef coat, and it was
the first to show to go out of the studio. And to me it was so compelling
because the Network was very chef driven, very New York
City chef driven. And now the conversation is
completely wide open, and if you watch the Food Network now,
there’s somebody on the network that speaks
your language. And not every chef is for
everybody, and not every host is for everybody, but you’re
going to find somebody who’s compelling on the network,
and I think that’s really spectacular. And recently, two, three years
ago, Food Network went through what I call cell division, where
they split off between Food Network and now the
Cooking Channel. And it’s very similar to what
happened with MTV when they realized, wow, we could actually
make a lot more money by just playing “The Real World”
over and over and over again, and these music videos
of what we used to do, we’re going to put those
over on MTV2. And so Food Network is now– again, you’re always kind of
giving people what they want, and people really like to watch
culinary competitions. So that’s where, so once you
get past around 12 o’clock, you’re going to see culinary
competitions. There’s going to be two people
in a room, cooking something, best man wins, all day long. All day long. Cupcakes, barbecue,
you name it. And it’s a lot of fun. So I only host a show called
“The Great Food Truck Race,” which I think is a lot of fun,
because it’s a rock and roll business show. “Fortune Magazine” wrote an
article on their online version, and it was entitled
the 10 things a startup can learn from “The Great Food Truck
Race.” It’s all solid business practices. It’s all solid points. And that’s what I really like
about the show, because we get a chance to hang out with young
hungry entrepreneurs who really want to get into the
restaurant business. And I have sort of traditional
models in restaurants. I raised $4 million, I went
through two years of red tape, of bureaucracy to get
the restaurant open. And with that, the statistics
for failure are enormous. 9 out of 10 restaurants will
fail in the first year. And that is a huge risk, but
that one restaurant is going to be really, really great. So the bar has been dropped to
a more approachable stance with “The Great–,” with food
trucks, because a guy with an idea, I want to do creme brulee,
I want to do tacos, I want to do crepes, I want to do
grilled cheese sandwiches, I want to do burgers, I want to
do Korean tacos, I want to do ribs, I want to
do chicken wings. There’s like, such a diverse
menu, which is so interesting and every city in America is
starting to really develop a food truck culture. I think, I had this idea this
season, this is why I really love the show and I think it’s
very important, because it’s now the new answer to
American fast food. It’s the new answer to
American fast food. It’s $6, where would you
rather spend it? I mean, would you rather give it
to the clown, or would you rather give it to some local,
hard working entrepreneur who just got the stuff at
the farmer’s market. You know it’s organic, you’re
going to look him in the eye every day, and he’s going to
make you a fantastic meal. When these trucks kind of get
together at night, and the thing called Off The Grid in
San Francisco, which is awesome, it creates its
own festival, it makes its own gravy. And so that to me is really,
really compelling, to get back to your answer. I think we’re cooking a lot
more than we used to cook. I think we’re on the dawn of
enlightenment, that we truly understand that we
are what we eat. We’re all machines, we’re all
animals, and we need high quality fuel to operate
at a high level. Your brain has no clue
what a calorie is. Your brain could care less
what a calorie is. Your body is satiated by
nutrients, not caloric intake. Your brain could care less. The higher quality of food you
put in your body, the less of it you’re going to eat. Because your brain is going,
cool, I’m good. The meter is full. The poorer quality food you’re
going to eat, the more that you have to eat before your
brain says you’re full. You have to eat a lot of it,
before you brain says cool, I’ve had enough. So we have been starving
ourselves, not from gluttony and eating, but from
nutrients. We are starved from nutrients. We’re eating such poor quality
food, mass produced food, loaded with high fructose
corn syrup, that your body cannot process. Your stomach can’t process it. It gets processed in your liver
as if it were alcohol. So you see adults with beer
bellies, and you see kids with soda bellies. So you have to ask yourself
a question. The old PR slap is that organics
are expensive, but I’m asking you what’s
more expensive? Healthy fresh produce, or
obesity and diabetes? Because that’s exactly what the
other side of the spectrum looks like. We’re fat, we’re sick, and we
got to do something about it. So I think we’re at the dawn
of enlightenment, finally understanding that you
are what you eat. You put high quality
food in your body– I was talking to a woman the
other night, I’m, you know, two week book tour across
the country. And this woman said to me she
switched, she stopped eating processed food completely, and
started eating 100% organics. I get teared up thinking
about it. She lost 40 pounds, 40
pounds in a year. And her doctor took her off high
blood pressure medication for the first time
in 20 years. You can heal yourself
through food. You eat really good quality
food, and you’re going to lose weight, you’re you going to
sleep better, you’re going to process, you’re going
to live longer. So we are cooking more, we’re
cooking better food. No one cares about you
more than you. These fast food, these companies
could care less about your health. If you get cancer, that’s
your problem. But they are happy to
sell you stuff, they just want your money. The same thing with like big
oil, they don’t care if they melt the planet down. They don’t care. They just want you to fill
your gas tank up, for hopefully another 10 years. That’s what they want. So it’s up to you, and you in
protecting your health and your family. And it’s got to be
100% organics, or you can’t trust it. You just can’t trust it. It’s got to be good high
quality food, because you’re worth it. You’re worth it to yourself. And what I like about the books,
it’s not so much about delivering just like
fancy chef recipes. When I dream of food, this
is what looks like, it’s explosive, it’s vibrant. But once you dive into it,
it’s about nutrition. It is about putting quality
nutrition in your body, it’s not about putting food
in your face. LIV WU: Beautifully
said, thank you. That’s wonderful. TYLER FLORENCE: I’m real
excited about this. I’m really passionate
about it. Because to me like– I fly, I travel, like you
guys travel, I’m sure. And you fly through Chicago, you
fly through Atlanta, you fly through Dallas, and like my
god, like we are evolving as people but it’s not– we’re
not evolving for the better. We’re heavy. And you know what I’m talking
about, and it’s really– I feel so bad for
these people. Because they drink,
they drink soda. And they drink Coke, and they
drink these things that, you know if you drink one Coke a
day, one Coke a day, you put on 15 pounds in a year. And also, high fructose corn
syrup blocks a hormone in your body called Leptin, and it
blocks the signal where your brain tells you that
you’re full. I mean, this is how food
is manipulated. I want you drink more of it, I’m
going to put salt in it, I’m going to create a chemical
that’s going to shut your brain off from telling you’ve
had enough, and I’m going to make it salty, and I’m going to
make you drink a lot of it. Awesome. It’s going to cost me $0.10 for
every 16 ounces to make, I’m going to sell it
to you for $6. LIV WU: And a can of Coke is
about two cases of broccoli, and you eat 1/10 of that case
and you’re completely full. TYLER FLORENCE: You’re
completely full. And this is my point. It’s about making decision
that you are going to put fresh food first in your life. It’s about making that clear,
honest, decision that healthy is the way to go. I want you to think about that,
and I want to have a conversation with somebody
else in your life. Because we all know somebody
that probably needs to have that conversation with. And then do something
about it. It’s like when people– we’ve all been convinced that
we don’t know how to feed ourselves anymore. We’ve all been convinced. But I think this generation,
like us, I think we know better. I think it’s our turn to stop
the turnstile of just bad information, and poor eating
habits, and just empty calories and blindly eating
things that aren’t organic, and you don’t know where
they come from. And we just insist
on transparency. That’s the new thing about
social media, it’s the new thing about so much information
being accessible, it’s about transparency. Like I said, everything in
this book is Google-able. You can search up yourself
and you can find the same information. LIV WU: So I’m sure people have
a lot of questions, but I’ll turn it over to let you ask
your one question to the engineers and your request to
the engineers in the audience. TYLER FLORENCE: So we
were just talking about Google+ earlier. How many team members are
working on Google+ in here? One? So this is going to the
guy in the back. This is really kind
of interesting. Because I just signed on with
Google+, so I’m trying to figure out how to
make that work. Because now I manage my Twitter
feed, my Facebook feed, my Tumblr feed,
my Instagram feed, and now my G+ feed. I manage like five social media
sites off my phone. And it’s kind of clumsy. So to me, I think instead of
trying to get into that bloody pool of sharks to compete with
that social thing, you should create a platform that exists at
10,000 feet, so people can manage everything
else below them. So that to me is probably the
smartest position that you guys can take, instead of just
trying to think through, OK how can I get another group of
people that want to go after fans and likers and that
kind of stuff. Because I mean, it just,
after a while, it’s like, I don’t really– you kind of put things
in priority. My Twitter account, I have
a half a million people following me on Twitter. That is a little more important
than my Facebook, because I’ve been tapped
at 5,000, and I don’t really know them. You know what I mean? So I look at their pictures of
their kids and stuff, and on vacation, and I don’t
know them. We’re friends, I mean are we friends? I mean really, we’re friends? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know you. I answer your question a couple
times a year, but I don’t know you. So anyway, it might be a smart
position to take, to not go here but go here. And let people– because they
still have their connection, they’ve got a big investment
in Facebook, because that’s where the grandparents see the
picture of the grandkids. And they’ve got a big connection
through Twitter, because I don’t really watch
live TV anymore. Do you guys watch live TV? And isn’t it amazing? And this is a generational
thing, too because as I travel around, and kind of talk to
people, my parents’ generation still love to watch
television. But my generation,
I watch my DVR. I love “Homeland.” I love
“Boardwalk Empire.” And other than a live sporting event,
I don’t really watch live TV for anything. It’s about how I extract
information out of the world, I don’t turn the television
on to get news anymore, I just scroll– I just go through
my Twitter feed. And it’s got national news, it’s
got local news, it’s got traffic news, it’s
got weather news. It’s got people I follow, like
Drunk Hulk I think, I don’t know if you guys follow him. He’s a funny guy. You should follow
him on Twitter. He’s angry, and he’s
had a lot to drink. And he talks in all caps. Drunk Hulk. Check him out. But how we extract information
I think is really great. So people have a lot
of investment– I’ve been on Twitter since 2008,
and it’s taken me a long time to kind of get a half
million people together. So I would never dump that with
a preference to something else because I appreciate those relationships that I have. I have different relationships
with people on Instagram than I have on Twitter. So it’s almost like a different
circle, and that’s always been Google’s philosophy,
about having different circles of people
and how they cross over. But it’s not so much about
that, as it is creating a platform that exists
above it all. So you can go in to one place
and kind of manage everybody simultaneously. That’s the missing thing. So it’s all about the
consolidation. So as Twitter and Facebook
consolidated the internet– because before that,
it was just a big gigantic phone book. So now that consolidation’s been
fragmented, now another consolidation of those
fragmented consolidations needs to happen. So I think that’s a very
interesting position to take. LIV WU: OK, heard. There’s a mic over here, if you
have questions for Tyler. AUDIENCE: You’re a person of a
lot of power, with the skills that you have, the platform
that you have, and the connections that you have. And you also talk about wanting
to create something sustainable, and being able to
kind of restore this world to the way it used to be. Or, to good. How are you using that power– like you talk about making
anchovies and sardines sexy– how are you doing that? TYLER FLORENCE: You know what? To me, like what I’m doing,
you and I having a conversation right now. So that’s what I’m doing
something about. I wrote a book called “Tyler
Florence Fresh,” and I think there’s so much great
information. You ask me what I’m doing
about it, like I’m writing a book. It’s not so much about the book
because honestly, like as far as what I do to make money,
I don’t make any money writing books. But I do think it’s a really
powerful way for us to have a conversation. LIV WU: There’s a chapter
on anchovies. A whole chapter. TYLER FLORENCE: That’s
what I’m saying. I can read from the book
if you would like. AUDIENCE: And then one
last question. Where does the chicken from
Wayfare Tavern come from? TYLER FLORENCE: Where does– the chicken? It comes from Mary’s Farm. It’s organic, air dried,
air chilled chicken, from Petaluma. It’s fabulous stuff. We actually buy so much
chicken that we dictate their feed. And it’s really, really
delicious stuff. DEREK: Hey Tyler, my
name is Derek. TYLER FLORENCE: Everybody
say hi to Derek. DEREK: I’ve always been a fan
of “Tyler’s Ultimate.” So I still have the spaghetti and
meatballs recipe in my head. Beef, veal and pork. TYLER FLORENCE: Thank
you so much, man. I appreciate it. DEREK: So one quick question
and then just one really quick question. You’ve obviously been very
successful, you’ve done a lot of TV shows, done a lot
of restaurants, done your own stores. Just for a takeaway for us, as
more engineers or people working at Google, what’s one
kind of trait or quality that you’ve really discovered going
through all this, that’s really key to kind of being
successful as a leader, being successful as a colleague, a
coworker and as a peer to the people you work with
every day? I’m just curious what’s
the kind of one thing that sticks with you? TYLER FLORENCE: I think you’ve
got to be honest. I think you got to be honest. You got to say the right thing,
I think you ought to listen to people, and
I think you got to tell people the truth. I think you got to be honest. I think that is to me– like when we make our wine, I
want to make a very honest, pure product. When people come in our
restaurants, I want to have a very authentic experience. When I write my book, I want
to tell you like from my perspective, what I think
is just the best. Easiest, quickest, cleanest,
clearest, most delicious thing you can make. And I think you’ve got to be
able to talk to people and answer them, give them
very honest answers. I think that’s the most
important thing ever is honesty and transparency. DEREK: Awesome. And a quick question, I know you
probably get asked this a lot, but I’ve heard it
asked to other chefs. Last meal you could ever have,
you’re going to be off this planet tomorrow, you
have one option. What is it? TYLER FLORENCE: So it’s all
about the pendulum swing, you understand this, right? So if you like chocolate,
you have to like your running shoes. You have to. And to me, like I think the last
thing I taste, I really want it to be the first
thing I ever tasted. And to me, like the rootsy,
authentic American cooking from the American South, the
heritage cooking is probably the last thing I
want to taste. So somewhere between like,
fried chicken and collard greens and barbecue and grits. Maybe one plate of that. I think I would be
very, very happy. DEREK: Thank you. TYLER FLORENCE: Of course. PHIL: Hi Tyler. Thanks for coming
to talk to us. TYLER FLORENCE: Of course. What’s your name? PHIL: Phil. TYLER FLORENCE: Everybody
say hi to Phil. PHIL: So you seem pretty
positive about food trucks, and food truck culture, and
that’s something I agree with. So do you think, like we have
enough food trucks? You mentioned that
they’re a viable alternative to fast food? TYLER FLORENCE: Have we had
enough food trucks? PHIL: Do we have enough serving
San Francisco and serving metro areas? TYLER FLORENCE: I don’t know, I
don’t know where the ceiling is for that as a
business model. But it’s very compelling. So “The Great Food Truck Race,”
we didn’t invent food trucks, but we’ve gassed the
industry so much, that we created two separate
fires, if you will. We’ve created a show that
shows how doable it is. Not saying it’s easy, but how
doable it is, from an operations standpoint, that
you can own a food truck. So the old business model of
putting in $4 million and going through two years
construction and that kind of stuff, and the failure rate
is very, very high. But a food truck, you can
lease a truck, have it skinned, get a business
license, get a health inspection, go to Costco and buy
some food, or go to like a local farmer’s market and buy
some food, and you can be in business next week and
for like $10,000. So that’s about lowering the
bar, and making it more accessible to everybody. The other fire that we created
is really about creating a fan base for the genre. So when we shot Season One of
“The Great Food Truck Race,” nobody knew what the
show was all about. So we would drive through these
like little towns in Tennessee and they were
like, food trucks what’s a food truck? But now we’re on to Season
Three and we’re in pre-production for Season
Four right now. Like 3, 4, 5, 6,000 people will
bombard a town because they know we’re going to be
there, and they hunt the trucks down as if it were
a treasure hunt. Now, so many different
municipalities, big and small, are starting to understand the
social value of trucks themselves, and when they gang
them together and get a band, and call it something,
it’s a really cheap festival to put on. And everybody wins, because like
the small operators get to make some money, and they
like being together, creating a whole culture of it. And as a chef, it’s a very
respectable, even cool thing, edgy, urban thing to go do,
to have a food truck. Especially something that’s
very popular. PHIL: So this is something
that I was actually going to ask you. Are you aware of young chefs
bootstrapping their careers out of food trucks? So this is happening,
this is– TYLER FLORENCE: Absolutely. People are sort of, instead of
creating a brick and mortar business, they’re creating
a food truck business and backing that into a brick
and mortar business. So you’re actually kind of
testing the business model on a very micro level where
nobody can get hurt. I mean if you lose $10,000 of
your aunt’s money, I mean, she may hate you at Christmas
but she’s not going hate you forever. You lose an investor’s $4
million in a restaurant, you got a problem. Our lawyers are going to talk. It’s about creating a new wave
of restaurants, these urban, wonderful experiences. That you can go up to a truck
and order something that a trained professional chef
is back there making. So they’re choosing this
business model over– so it’s four wheels
over four walls. PHIL: Thanks. TYLER FLORENCE: Thanks, Phil. RACHEL: Hi Tyler, I’m Rachel. TYLER FLORENCE: Everybody
say hi to Rachel. Hi Rachel. RACHEL: I have to tell you that
my husband and I dated for about five years, and he
proposed to me the same week I first made your roast chicken,
so I think there’s a– so thank you for that, thank
you for pushing him along. TYLER FLORENCE: It’s an
absolute deal closer. RACHEL: Best thing ever. So what I’m curious about is,
I’ve seen cookbooks from like the 1940s and ’50s, and there’s
just some horrific things going on in there
with, like Jell-o and stuff like that. TYLER FLORENCE: What’s
wrong with Jell-o? I think some of those books are
actually really gorgeous. RACHEL: They’re neat to
have, as like sort of an heirloom of sorts. But I’m wondering about trends
you see now that aren’t going to be sustainable. I mean, I think fresh food’s
one thing, I think– TYLER FLORENCE: Trends that
aren’t going to be sustainable. I think that’s the definition
of a trend. RACHEL: But what’s going on
right now that everyone’s like, this is going to happen
forever, that is not going to happen forever? TYLER FLORENCE: So we live in
a post molecular world. So molecular gastronomy that
sort of just caught the world on fire and the late ’90s blew
up in the 2000s, and then right now I think everyone has
kind of tasted and been there and done it. Figured out the recipes
and knows how to knock it off and whatever. I think some of that stuff is
kind of interesting, but the new trend which I think is
sustainable, is this idea of the sourcing list. So it’s not so much about
making a phone call and getting tuna flown in from
Hawaii, but making a connection with a guy on the
west coast of the United States who’s going to go and
catch the fish and drop it off at your back door. Closing the gap as
much as possible. If you follow me on Instagram
and kind of follow the chefs I follow, I mean how they source
stuff and where they get stuff from is just awesome. It’s just awesome. So to me, like having that
tighter connection, and keeping your money in a
pretty tight circle– there are mushroom geeks
in every major part the of United States. So if you can connect with a
mushroom geek, someone who’s going to go forage some
chanterelles for you, forage porcinis, or forage morels
in spring and even maybe cultivate some interesting
Japanese style mushrooms. Like that, to me is really,
really fascinating. And that’s where chefs now are
really trying their stripes. Because anybody can make a
nice scallop, but show me something I’ve never
seen before. Show me an ingredient– it’s not so much about the piece
of parsley, but it’s actually having somebody harvest
parsley at a very young age where it’s sort of in
its infancy, so you can see how beautiful it is. This stuff is amazing. Actually we got this farmer who
is going to start growing fava beans for us
in the spring. And then we’ve actually told
him to not clip it. I want the bean as it starts to
break through the shoot, I want the shoot, the bean,
and the root. And I want to wash that
off and I want to put that on a plate. That to me is really exciting,
because you see how gorgeous and simple nature really,
really is. And that’s sustainable, I think
a lot of chefs are doing that today. So when David Chang said the
hardest thing San Francisco chefs have to do is shop? You’re right it is. It’s very difficult. MONIZA: Hi Tyler, I’m Moniza. TYLER FLORENCE: Hi Moniza,
how are you? Everybody say hi. MONIZA: Hi everyone. I’m a huge fan, I follow you
on Instagram and Twitter. So I saw that you place
lot of emphasis on organic and clean food. In San Francisco, since most of
us live in the Bay Area, if there was one restaurant that
you could recommend to everybody in this room that– apart from your own– that really places an emphasis
on organic and clean food, what would you recommend? TYLER FLORENCE: I like Greens,
in Fort Mason, have you guys been there? It’s been there forever. And the food is always
so interesting. It’s a vegetarian, vegan restaurant, and it’s so delicious. It’s in Fort Mason. So if you guys are up in San
Francisco, that would be my go to answer for what
you’re saying. I love Greens. RACHEL: Me too. I love vegetables. Also one more quick question. So you and Bobby Flay are
definitely my favorite Food Network personalities. Is he as nice as he seems like
on the Food Network? TYLER FLORENCE: Can you guys
turn the camera off? I’m kidding. Bobby is a very, very
dear friend of mine. And Stephanie March, his lovely
wife, is a very dear friend of mine, and Sophie,
their daughter is a very good family friend. We vacationed in France
together. When I first started on Food
Network in 1996, Bobby Flay held my hand and introduced me
to agents, and introduced me to lawyers, and said this is
what you got do, here’s the first step. And no one else gave
me that sort of attention other than him. He’s a very very good
friend of mine. I wouldn’t be where I am
today without him. He wrote a foreword for my first
cookbook and made that successful. And he is an awesome guy. Nobody works harder
than Bobby Flay. MONIZA: Tell him I said hi,
next time you see him. I love him. TYLER FLORENCE: I’ll
be happy to do it. ALISSA: Hi Tyler, thank
you for coming to speak to us today. TYLER FLORENCE: Of course,
what’s your name? ALISSA: My name’s Alissa. TYLER FLORENCE: Alissa? Everybody say hi to Alissa. ALISSA: Hi. So I was actually going to ask
the same question of what your two to three favorite
restaurants were in the Bay Area. But since she just asked it,
I’ll ask another question. You speak very highly about
organic food and I think it’s become kind of a craze, it’s
become well accepted. But I’ve heard a lot of
different things about eating organic food. Some people are like, oh you
should only eat organic meat, don’t worry about
anything else. Or you just kind of blanket
organic food, from everything, from meat to thin skinned
vegetables. What are your thoughts
on that? TYLER FLORENCE: So you have
to eat as close to the source as possible. It’s really shocking if you
understand what the FDA and the USDA and the Department of
Agriculture– like how little they actually pay attention to
what’s in the food supply. So companies that create GMO
seeds, they don’t have to prove that it’s not healthy. And it’s one big massive
science experiment that started with high fructose corn
syrup in the early ’70s when it was introduced, and you
see where we are today. High fructose corn syrup is
probably the most poisonous thing you ever put
in your body. And then the idea of a
genetically modified seeds, so it’s not so much about trying
to make that more disease resistant, it’s about control. And when that kind of thing
happens you lose species diversification. You lose seeds. And if they develop a seed and
implant it, that has an insect repellent sort of designed in
its DNA, what do you think that’s going to do your body? What do you think that’s
going to do? So they don’t have to prove,
because it’s considered safe, from the FDA– they don’t have to prove
that it’s not safe. As a matter of fact they don’t
even have to be inspected. But if you have an organic farm,
you have to go through so much red tape to prove that
your product is organic. That’s by design. They want to make it very,
very difficult for you. So consumer choice
is up to you. So if you insist on that kind
of thing, and I would insist on it for your own health. Because you don’t know what’s
going in the product. And again, these companies
that create these things, they’re not interested or
concerned about your health. They’re just not. They’re really interested in
what’s in your wallet. And if you get cancer,
it’s your problem. But we are a very,
very hardy lot. We’ve been around since
the dawn of time. We’ve been eating food for a
long time, and these health concerns are only 30,
40 years old. I’m not saying that genetics
doesn’t have something to do with it, but as sick and as
obese as we are as a nation, it’s all diet related. So my question to you is, if
it’s not organic, can you trust what it is? Now there’s a lot of farmers
at the farmer’s market that produce organic goods but that
are in the process of becoming certified organic, and
that’s just as good. There’s a lot of things you
really got to think about. So economic recovery starts in
your very own community. So you got to keep
your money tight. You can’t take your money, spend
it, and have that source to be funneled outside
of your community. You have to keep your money
in a very tight circle. So if you buy your goods from a
guy who just grew it not too far from here, you’re helping
the economy grow. You really, really are. And so that to me is what
I would recommend. We can talk all day about the
health qualities of not just eating organic beef, but
drinking grass fed milk, organic milk as well. There’s the French paradox,
which is really interesting, about how people in France eat
a very high fat diet but they have such a low cholesterol
rate, and such a low rate of heart disease. They eat way more fat than we
do, but what they eat is purer than what we eat. And they eat a lot of pro-biotic
rich foods, like whole milk cheese, that has all
the molecules and really kind of good healthy bacteria,
that kind of keep your digestion system
nice and clean. So you got to eat pure,
clean food. It’s not hard. This is what I’m saying. We’ve all sort of, like– what’s the big direction? What’s the new diet? Is it Atkins? Paleo? Paleo is actually really kind
of interesting, I think. But you just got to eat good,
wholesome, healthy food. It’s simple. Just eat clean, fresh
healthy food. MONIZA: Thank you. I have one recipe request. If I could find it anywhere. Do you have the recipe
for the popovers you make at Wayfare Tavern? Not healthy at all,
but so delicious. TYLER FLORENCE: To me,
like, it’s actually– because it’s a big puff of air,
I haven’t like weighed out from a calorie standpoint,
what’s the difference between our popovers versus
whatever, I don’t know, focaccia or something. But it’s basically just a
big crusty ball of air. Yeah it’s like, the webby
crusty stuff is actually really beautiful. LIV WU: And the air doesn’t
have any calories. TYLER FLORENCE: There’s
no calories in air. Something really funny, I went
with my wife and a very good couple friend of ours to El
Bulli, in Rosas, Spain, last year before they closed. It was a very expensive
dinner. It was like $4,000 a couple. Very expensive dinner, but one
of those things you have to go do, because now it’s closed and
I could say I did it, and that kind of thing. Regret, is more, I think
is more expensive. But everything was just jacked
up with air, from a method standpoint. So everything was just spongy
and light, and air, and like effervescent. I’m like, wow, this guy’s food
cost must be awesome. Because you think it’s like,
instead of like putting it on the plate, he’ll puree it, whip
it with air, and put a spoon of that on the plate. I mean that’s how you
that’s how you get good food costs, man. Light as a feather. Anyway, so the answer
to your question. So the book I wrote before this
is called “Family Meal,” and the recipe for our popovers
are in that book. ALISSA: Awesome. I’m going to run
out and get it. ANNIE: My name’s Annie,
by the way. TYLER FLORENCE: Hi Annie,
how are you? ANNIE: So I try to cook a lot at
home, and I know you put an emphasis on organic,
healthy clean food. And I was wondering
if you have any advice on where to shop? You know, I try to go to the
farmer’s market on the weekends, but that’s not always available during the weekdays. So is Whole Foods the
best place to shop? TYLER FLORENCE: I thinks Whole
Foods is fabulous. I was just an Austin– so I bumped into one of the
media relations people with Whole Foods in Austin, and
I love their philosophy. Like not only do I buy food
there but I buy all my vitamin supplements and stuff
like that. So a big portion of my
refrigerator is just filled with vitamins, and Super Green
Food and things like that. So I can like really carefully
monitor my nutrition intake. And every piece of food in this
book was purchased at a Whole Foods. Every bit of it. I bought everything at Whole
Foods, like 7 o’clock in the morning, went home, prepped
for about two hours, three hours and then we started
shooting for the rest of the day. So I like them a lot. I mean I don’t work for them
or anything but I dig what they talk about. ANNIE: You also mention buying
within your area, buying local, but that’s not
always possible. So Whole Foods would
be a good option? TYLER FLORENCE: I do think
it’s possible. So let’s talk about
a ceremony. So there’s usually a farmer’s
market, there’s got to be a farmer’s market, right? There’s got to be. So on the weekend– you have to
kind of get into a mode of like, having a ceremony. Like a thing that you do all the
time, that you really like a lot, that you kind
of feel like that’s your church, or whatever. That’s your thing that you go do
just to have an hour or two that’s a great head cleaner. And I think strolling
around the farmer’s market is fantastic. It’s great. ANNIE: But you need to like
plan out your meal for the week, and then go shop
that one day. TYLER FLORENCE: You don’t. You don’t. This is what I’m saying. So this is where we have been
conditioned, to feel like we have to put so much work into
planning and writing down, taking notes, and planning
and planning. And that’s just exhausting. You should just go and
just be inspired. Just go and go, oh my god, the
broccoli looks fantastic, I’m going to roast that. So one of the best, easiest ways
to cook vegetables, and you need a sheet pan, a bottle
of olive oil, little bit of salt and pepper in your oven,
and it works for everything, is just simply roasting. So butternut squash, broccoli,
carrots, green beans, zucchini, cauliflower eggplant,
you name it. If you cut it into consistent
sizes, and you put it onto a sheet pan, a little bit of olive
oil, salt, pepper, in the oven, 350 degrees for
10 or 15 minutes and it transforms the starches
and sugars. And my kids love it. They’ll eat anything,
if it’s roasted. They love roasted carrots, they
love roasted Brussels sprouts, and so boiled
is kind of tragic. So anyway it works with like
big leafy greens too. I mean you can and
roast, like kale. Make kale chips, that’s
delicious as a snack. So you don’t have to– don’t
plan so much, because people like, it makes people panicky,
when they gotta, I gotta plan, what am I going to plan? You should plan a
dinner party. You should plan the holidays. But if you’re just cooking
Monday through Friday? Just go to the store. Just see what’s going on, and
you’re going to come back with more inspiration than you
walked in with, from a planning standpoint. Just go check it out. LIV WU: You have
been inspiring. Thank you so much. TYLER FLORENCE: Liv, thank you
very much, Google, thank you very much, thank you, I’m so– thank you. [JAZZY MUSIC]

10 thoughts on “Tyler Florence Fresh: “The Anatomy of Flavor, One Simple Idea”, Authors at Google

  1. Very interesting how Tyler justifies the killing of our planet (there are NO sustainable flesh, dairy or water creatures, no matter what the new-age profiteering propaganda being shared here is saying) and innocent lives. Especially since we now know that ALL flesh and dairy is killing us! How is it that a chef (supposed food expert?) not know that we humans are herbivores: veganzeitgeist. org/2012/02/10/our-beliefs-meat-and-dairy-mad-consumers-the-facts-plant-based-diet/

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