Kentucky Proud couldn’t have chosen a better name for their annual food show; incredible. From the staff and the vendors, even to the crowd; everything was incredible. The Incredible Food Show at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky was like a throng of foodies gone wild. There was everything from classic chocolate chip cookies to a sausage vending machine. This was the spot where different came to be normal.
The “main dish” occurred when Chef Tyler Florence took the stage. With his bright persona beaming from the stage, he made you feel like you were on an episode of Food 911 and he was in your kitchen. Not missing a beat with his culinary skills, Chef Florence subliminally educated the crowd on how to be at ease in the kitchen while cooking and entertaining.
What was on the menu? Venison bourguignon. Spinning off of the more familiar beef bourguignon, Chef Florence united amazing flavors such as red wine, cognac, and a “bouquet garni” to this hearty comfort dish.
While everyone came to view an expert at work and acquire a recipe or two, the real delight was the Q&A portion of the show. Speaking with candor and answering all audience questions with sincerity; Chef Florence graciously allowed the viewers into his journey to success.
Opening up about his family, Chef Florence, a father of three kids’ ages 5 to 16; shares that he feeds his kids “adult foods” to keep them from being picky. With favorites like roasted vegetables with almost every meal, and never bartering with dessert to make them eat. “They wait for you to give in, so if you let them, they’ll eat chocolate and watch cartoons all day.” jokes Chef Florence.
Admitting that his childhood idols were skateboarder Tony Hawk and world renowned chef Julia Child; Chef Florence stated that he learned how to cook around age 8 out of necessity and survival. A self called latchkey kid with his parents being divorced, he would come home after school and have to find a way to eat; with no microwave in the house. “When you don’t have anything, you don’t really know you don’t have anything,” said Chef Florence. From ages 15 to 19, he became the protégé of a local chef in North Carolina, and at 19 an executive chef at a Thai restaurant by lying about his age!
When asked where his favorite restaurant was, Chef Florence responded “My favorite restaurant is my house, when my wife cooks, I come home and it’s ready for us to sit and eat.” A real family man at heart.