“We’re going to make a lot of people happy today,” chef Tyler Florence promised recently on Instagram as he stirred a massive stock pot of Thai green curry. Florence and a team of World Central Kitchen volunteers were feeding first responders and evacuees of the Kincade Fire, which hit Sonoma Country, at the Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds. More than 6,000 hot meals were served daily during the firestorm’s peak.
Florence, who calls Northern California home, will launch the 11th season of “The Great Food Truck Race” this month, which he hosts. Hosting and being part of TV shows is only one of his responsibilities. He recently established a lifestyle content and production company, Monarch Collective, producing the behind-the-scenes extras for “Race” and other assignments. “The Extra Mile” provides bonus content surrounding “The Great Food Truck Race.”
Slated for a 2020 opening, Florence’s steakhouse Miller & Lux will adjoin San Francisco’s Chase Center at Thrive City. (His eatery Wayfare Tavern is a San Francisco power lunch spot.) Already a cookbook author, Florence teamed with Innit to create recipes and tutorials for personalized food experiences.
In 2017, inspired by the impact of that year’s Sonoma and Napa North Bay fires, Florence traded his chef’s hat for the director’s chair. His feature documentary, “Uncrushable,” takes a look at the aftermath of the devastating conflagration, the resilience of survivors and the importance of community, set against the backdrop of climate change. The feature unspooled at numerous festivals, including the Napa Valley Film Festival, and was financed by non-profit Visit California.
But right now, for many who can help out with disaster relief, chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen (signups for volunteers in Sonoma filled up quickly: other celeb chefs working included Guy Fieri and Traci des Jardins) is first in mind. “Tyler Florence is an invaluable part of our chef relief team,” says Nate Mook, exec director of World Central Kitchen.