Food Network is celebrating their 20th year, Chef Tyler Florence is in his 17th year on television, and it's been 41 years since the Stouffer family entered the food business. There's a reason all have been around so long: quality.
Florence has teamed up with the Stouffer's Mac N' Cheese Truck as it makes its way to high school football games and doles out free samples of their famous mac n' cheese. The well-liked chef actually learned to cook when he was growing up by using their products as a base while incorporating his own special touches into the mix. At the Mac 'N' Cheese Truck, you can expect to see toppings such as bacon, chives, and buffalo chicken.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the chef to discuss his life and his passion for food. As the host of The Great Food Truck Race, he stated that he's “Really proud of the chefs and trucks we've turned out on the show," and went on to say that, “We've turned a lot of people on to a very creative subset of chefs and restaurateurs.”
The chef is quite candid and refreshingly down-to-earth, and opened up about the first meal he made for his wife, Tolan Clark, with whom he has three kids. Many women love a man who can cook, and he went all out for the first meal he made her by cooking seared duck breast with sesame soba noodles and roasted peaches. Unfortunately, he neglected to first ask about food preferences and dietary restrictions, and when he wasn't looking, his dog got what was likely some very tasty pieces of duck that she fed to him by the table.
When it comes to their kids, he and his wife take the team approach, and he says "We take them to the grocery store and let them pick out kind of what they want within reason.” He went on to explain that they are "firm believers in not caving to our children." The 42-year-old also says, “I think it's really important that children ... you insist that they try different things, and you cook, and they have these memory experiences where the house smells good, and they see you working the stove and they see you plating something.”
Although Florence currently resides on the West Coast, he's an East Coast native, and lived in New York for 13 years. When asked where his go-to spots are when he visits the city, he cited Peasant on Elizabeth Street and Balthazar as two of his favorites.
The Stouffer's Mac N' Cheese Truck will only be making its rounds until the end of October. For more information on when and where it's going to make an appearance, check out the Stouffer's Facebook page.