Tyler Florence cooked what?! … Gasp

Aspen Food and Wine Festival 2015 was a fun event. Tents were set up all throughout this beautiful town. The event is stretched over 3 days, and is filled with educational seminars, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and tasting of wines from all over the world. The seminars provided us with lots of insights and trade secrets, and became a great venue for inspiration and networking. Some of the highlights for me were: stealing a moment for a photo with the legendary Jacques Pepin; going to the Shack Shack party and meeting Danny Meyer; having a great conversation with fellow IIN grad Elizabeth Stein, founder of Purely Elizabeth; and the most exciting was the cooking demo by celebrity chef and TV show host Tyler Florence.

The ballroom of the St. Regis hotel is buzzing with anticipation. Cameras are rolling, shutters clicking. Once Tyler Florence appeared, the room got filled with his energetic presence. On the demonstration menu was Tyler’s famous fried chicken from his St. Francisco based restaurant Wayfare Tavern. Traditionally, the chicken was prepared using sous-vide method before frying, but Food and Wine magazine had requested a simplified version for home cooks. Baking the chicken at 200F for two hours was offered as a brilliant alternative. Once the dish came out of the oven, not a drop of water or fat was found on the bottom of the pan. All the juices were still inside the chicken. This prep can be done the night before; keep in mind: this approach will not cook the chicken for immediate consumption.

Now the attention of the audience is drawn to the bowl of herbs ready to be dropped into hot oil, to flavor it (the herbs will be later arranged as garnish on the serving platter). There was … marijuana on that plate. You read correctly! The pot went into the pot. Locally sourced and legal in Colorado. That gave the audience quite a reason to laugh. We weren’t offered any samples though. Once the herbs came out, battered chicken went in and out with the newly found golden color and sizzle. Tyler Florence had promised this to be the best fried chicken ever! You can find the recipe in his book “Inside the test Kitchen” – available on Amazon.

Watching this demonstration made me want to buy a plane ticket to California to visit the restaurant. But fried chicken is not on the list for most health-conscious people, so I had a chance to talk to Tyler about an alternative solution. For those of you living in Tampa – I will have a special cooking class to try out what we came up with for you. For those following us from other parts of the world – don’t you worry, we will get you covered with new web-based classes coming this fall.