A Minute with: Chef Tyler Florence

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chef Tyler Florence is a familiar face on the Food Network, thanks to shows like Food 911 and Tyler's Ultimate. Though he's had plenty of training and years of practice, he is able to make cooking seem easy. Tyler recently took a few minutes to answer some of our questions!

Q: Which kitchen appliances and gadgets should every home cook own?
A:I think that everybody needs a stick blender. Chefs use them all of the time, myself included, and I find that people generally leave them off of their gadget list. (Editor's Note: I LOVE my Cuisinart immersion blender. Expect a blog post on immersion blenders soon!)

Q: When you're short on time, what meals do you prepare for your family?
A: I always try to keep on hand some premade and then frozen pasta sauces to have ready in a pinch. Boil up some pasta, heat up your homemade sauce, and pop in some delicious garlic bread, and you've got a great meal, time crunch or not.

Q: We're big fans of your work, starting with "Food 911." Short of going on such a show, what advice would you offer someone who is clueless in the kitchen?
A: Set yourself up for success. You won't make it happen in your kitchen if you don't have the right tools, and that goes for your kitchen gear as well as your food items. Get the right pots and pans, knives and tools to make life easy on yourself, and you're off to a good start.

Q: What small changes can we make to serve healthier food without sacrificing taste?
A: Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Stay away from packaged and pre-prepared foods. Of course, you can do simple things like use skinless chicken, use a little olive oil instead of butter and use a lot of vegetables to balance out your meals. But of all things, I'd say portion size is the thing most people seem to ignore. Everything in moderation, right?

Q: You've got three children. How do you raise adventurous, healthy eaters?
A: I launched a baby food company called Sprout to address this very question. Babies begin to develop their lifelong tastes for foods as soon as they venture away from milk. If you introduce pure, fresh flavorts to them from the beginning--not processed, artificial foods and sugar-laden products--they will develop a taste for natural, healthy flavors and they'll be on the right patch to not just adventurous but healthy eating practices.

Q:We hear frequently from readers that they need help learning to like vegetables and other healthy foods. How do you prepare vegetables that are healthy and tasty?
A:Vegetables have a lot of natural flavor that people don't often reach to discover. Play with some cooking techniques and add flavors that are complementary without being too unhealthy. For example, sauté your broccoli with some garlic and olive oil instead of drowning it with processed cheese sauce. I think you'll like it.

Q:What about meat? Grilled chicken breasts and turkey burgers quickly get dull.
A: If your turkey burger is boring, build yourself an adventurous burger bar. Create a bunch of delicious toppings for your burger, like tomatoes with sea salt, olive oil and chives, chili ketchup, sautéed mushrooms, and herbed horseradish mayonnaise.

Q: How can people eat meat when they're watching calories?
A: Again, control your portions and use lean proteins. Don't overdo it, and you can still enjoy a little bit of your favorite meats.

Q:What cooking techniques should they use?
A: Grilling and roasting are great ways to cook without using any added oils or fats.

Tyler Florence has teamed up with Macy's for a series of podcasts and a cooking contest called Macy's Keeps America Cooking. If you like to cook, submit a video and try to win a trip for two to San Francisco for a $2,500 kitchen shopping spree with Tyler!

What questions do you have for other famous chefs and cooks? Do you have a kitchen conundrum?

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YMWONG22 12/18/2020
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thanks for sharing Report
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Great Article! Thanks! Report
I use my emersion blender a lot. My favorite gadget is my kitchen shears, i use them to cut skin and fat off before cooking, and there are so many other uses; I only use my shears on food items! Report
I love kitchen gadgets. I have an immersion blender, but have never used it yet. Report
Good info thank you SP & Chef Report
Will have to try some these ideas Report
I love garlic but dont think even that would help the taste of broccoli!! lol Report
Great article. Report
A Old blog, And a Great Blog! Happy to still see Tyler Florence on Food Network! Report
I really like Tyler and all the hosts on Food Network (especially Bobby Flay), oh but I can't forget Ina Garten or Gina D. or The Neelys et al. Hee, hee! Thank you Tyler for the info and I think it's wonderful that you started the organic baby foot company 'Sprout' - what a great name for a much healthier alternative for babies!

I have a new fusion 1,000 watt (that's really important); it is an OSTER and what I love about it is that I can put all my vitamins, whole fruit & veggies in it and it blends it wonderfully! It costs around $70 and it is great. I will check out the other blender as I'm not really sure what it is. Have a great day, everyone! Report
i love tyler's cooking style. i use his cookbook alot. Report
I love TYLER ! lol I had to read this. No really anything new I didn't know or think of but, he's an awesome chef. Report
Very interesting article. I was like Masterpigg and didn't know what a stick blender was. So I was able to get my SparkPeople web search point today by looking it up. I don't have cable either to I miss out on a lot of the cooking showes that I hear so many people talk about. I tried my Magic Bullet for chopping nuts, etc. but I have been disappointed with the resulting texture. Perhaps I need a little more practice. Thanks for the tips. Report
nice . . . but too expensive!! Report
now that i know he's one of us i'll have to start watching. i don't know what a stick blender is but i use my bullet alot. Report
Thanks for this interesting article. I liked all of the great tips, especially grilling and roasting meat, same could go for veggies,too. I don't have the stick blender. I use a large spoon, or old fashioned potato masher. Works good for me, and keeps me from losing muscles in those areas. I do enjoy reading what the chefs recommend ,though. Good chance they give a tip, or tips that I could use in my own home. Love the idea of pre-made pasta sauce. Report
love to watch his show and use his advice. Report
My hubby and I are BIG fans of Tyler's. and the Food Network. Since my hubby took ill he started a new hobby of cooking. He's come up with some FANTASTIC recipes using natural and fresh ingredients and spices.
We also have a stick blender. It's really handy to have around. And they don't take up much space at all. Report
Great advice from a pro! Thank you. :) Report
If you don't have an immersion blender, here is what is great about them. They are easy to pick up and use (be careful about your container, or they might spatter) and then super-easy to CLEAN, wipe down, and put away. Not like a regular blender or food processor. Great for making a smooth soup or milkshake or ANYTHING like that.

I love mine. Report
Chef Tyler may be on to something naming the immersion blender as the tool to have. It has its place here too. But I feel compelled to add that I tend to get off on the notion I am burning a few calories whilst cranking on that old egg beater recently rediscovered too! Report
I may be the only person in the world that thinks that stick blenders are a waste of space and money. I keep both my stand mixer (and ancient Sunbeam that still works like a champ) and my jar blender right beside each other on the counter. When ever I need to mix, grind, puree, whip, or whatever, they are both right there ready to use. I guess if you don't have much counter space, a stick blender might be handy, but there are some jobs that they just can't handle (e.g. crushing ice) or take forever to do (e.g. beating a stiff merange), so it's not like you can use it in place of a regular blender or stand mixer, and I just see any need for all three. Report
Everyone needs a Kitchen Aid mixer. OH MY GOSH, it is so much fun to use. Report
I needed this reminder from Tyler regarding the immersion blender. Mine burned out last summer. I used it for so many food preps. It was so easy and fast to use and then it would clean up great. It is now on my “to get” list. Report
An immersion blender is on my list to purchase for myself one day, but that day just hasn't come yet (procrastination). Report
I too love my immersion blender. I have had the same Braun one for years. It will blend pretty much anything. I also invested a couple of car payments in good pots years ago, and still love them. They are stainless and can still cook with little oil and not stick. The other thing I wouldn't be without is a couple of good knives. They are expensive, but last a lifetime. I have had a couple of them for nearly 25 years. I have a pro regrind the blades every couple of years and that's it. Report
I used my hand blender on a regular basis but it fell to pieces in the last squash soup I made but not before sucking some soup into the motor and spitting it back into the soup!YUK, YUK, YUK!!!I I checked out the hand blender from the link and will be picking it up anyday now, it looks a lot more sturdy than the one I just destroyed ;)
I cook all the time, but don't own an immersion blender - what kinds of things do you use it for? Report
My immersion blender I couldn't live without. Report
I love all my kitchen tools. But the stick blender and my Wustof knives are the goto, best investments I have ever made. My husband laughs that my knives and pot/pans cost more than all our clothing. As I explained to him, the difference is we will never outgrow them. Clothes get worn out! Report
I love love love my immersion blender. I use it all the time. Report
I have had an immersion blender for a few years now. I don't use it that much though because it isn't strong enough for more than mixing tomato soup. Maybe the new ones are better. Mine jams when I try to puree broccoli soup or fruit. Report
I love my immersion blender! I got it a year ago Christmas and can hardly remember life without it. Report
Chef Tyler is great! So I was delighted to read this interview. Hmmm I just may make 'buy a blender stick' a reward down the path in a few decades worth of pounds!

Questions do you have for other famous chefs and cooks:
* Other than batch cooking, what unique and freshly-cooked menu ideas do you have for single people on a budget?

Food question for chef:
* Chiles, a variety of peppers, and other ingredients that are healthy for a person can be too 'spicey' for some people's tastes. Meaning: even small amounts feel like fire burning inside. Is there a way to include these or perhaps substitute ingredients with these health benefits into food without making such a person (ME!) feel the need to run for a fire extinguisher?

My stick blender died a few weeks ago and I was so upset because I used it everyday. I found another one at walmart for $20 with less features but it still gets the job done. Report
I have always wanted one of these blenders but once again can't afford to have something like this. It is a very great tool to have. Report
I'm glad you posted a link to a stick blender b/c I had NO idea what that was! I am one of the kitchen clueless, unfortunately. I think it would be great to see more articles on handy kitchen tools. Report
Can we get a post on different kitchen gadgets, like the ones that Spark members use the most? I'd like to hear your thoughts on the Vita Mix, too. Since I'm getting into raw foods, some thoughts on dehydrators would be appreciated, too. Report
The immersion blender sounds like something I need in my kitchen. So many tips for it's use. Thanks for this article Report
I use my immersion blender all of the time. One of the best investments ever. Report
Stepfanie, once again... another GREAT article! Thanks for that Cuisinart site. After reading comments from-
5. ZORBS13
6. ANN-1958
I have GOT to get me one of those! LOVED the- sauté your broccoli with some garlic and olive oil- olive oil and chives and herbed horseradish mayonnaise on burgers... (tips from Chef Tyler) and THIS Macy's Keeps America Cooking site is GREAT! I'm actually preparing to 'do' the-
Lemon Pesto Salmon by Marisa Leig...

¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ *Annie Report
I will have to look at these blenders i love new kitchen things.. and i am a chef.. with over 25 years into it..i will watch shows and say god the salt and the fat that they put in would kill you !! over a pound of butter and the salt yuck!!! Report
I love my immersion blender. I used it last night to blend my cooked carrots and celery into a gravy to top off my pot roast. It's especially great for soup during these cold months. Report
Great Article, Thank You! Report
Thanks Sparkpeople for inviting Tyler to comment on some healthy cooking techniques....it was a fun and thought provoking post! I would have liked him to elaborate on what he considers "the right pots and pans, knives and tools".... although I suppose the would have been considered advertising! I frequently watch food network and hope to see more such posts from healthy celebrity chefs. Report
I love his shows, especially Tyler's Ultimate - droool! Report
That was a good article. Thanks for the veggie tips! Report