By Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun
1:36 PM EST, December 4, 2012
As the patient and sympathetic host of shows like "Food 911" and "How to Boil Water," Tyler Florence has been a welcome presence on the Food Network for 16 years. But some fans have trouble pinning him down, Florence said. They'll say, "What do you do? You're not the Italian guy, you're not the New Orleans guy."
The chef will be in the Baltimore area Saturday, signing copies of his new cookbook, "Tyler Florence Fresh," which was to be released Tuesday. Florence's ninth book is a departure from his previous titles.
"A lot of the cookbooks I've written before are about creating simple, amazing meals," Florence said. "This is the other side of the coin, the artistic side of it." The book's gimmick-free approach to cooking is supported by its photographic style, which is uncluttered and free of irrelevant props and vignettes.
"We wanted to make it as focused as possible," Florence said. "When I dream of food, this is what it looks like.
"We didn't really have a name for the book for a long time. It kept boiling down to the idea of fresh," Florence said about the book, which begins with a lengthy introduction about the deleterious effects on the nation's health of packaged and processed foods.
We've been convinced we don't know how to feed ourselves, said Florence, who hopes that "Tyler Florence Fresh" will be part of a bigger discussion about bringing Americans back into the kitchen. "I want to have that conversation with as many people as possible," he said.
The Williams-Sonoma book signing with Florence starts at noon Saturday, 1705 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis (410-571-0589). For information, go to williams-sonoma.com. The Wegmans book signing starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, 122 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley (410-773-3900). For more information, go to wegmans.com.
Sweet and Charming Look for Reisterstown native Joshua Rosen on Thursday night's episode of "Sweet Genius." Rosen, the founder and owner of Charm School Chocolates, a Baltimore-based vegan chocolate company, will be competing against other baking and pastry whizzes for $10,000 on the Food Network competition show.
Producing good vegan chocolates is notoriously difficult, but Rosen's background helps. The McDonogh School alumnus started out as a mechanical engineer before switching careers. "I always wanted to figure out how dessert worked. I've always been really hungry to pick up anything and everything I could," Rosen said.
After graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Rosen taught baking and pastry classes, worked in Mario Battali's Del Posto restaurant and was the pastry chef on a luxury residential cruise ship.
The inspiration to start up a vegan chocolatier, Rosen said, was partly inspired by friends and family who were unable to try his chocolates because of allergies or other food problems. "I'll make everything accessible to everyone," Rosen recalled thinking. Rosen launched Charm School Chocolates in June after two years of research.
The company's lineup of handmade tofu and soy-based products, vanilla bean and soy milk chocolate bars, praline bonbons, dipped apricots and flavored barks is available online and at stores like Ma Petite Shoe in Hampden and John Browns Store in Cockeysville.
The "Sweet Genius" episode with Josh Rosen airs at 10 p.m. Thursday on the Food Network.
Monumental eating The food offerings at the 41st annual lighting of Mount Vernon's Washington Monument on Thursday will be more diverse than ever, according to Michael Evitts of the Downtown Partnership, one of the event's organizers.
Clustered in a holiday village in the west park of Mount Vernon Square, the vendors will be selling items that include sunchoke soup, fried Oreos, short ribs, tacos, sliders, scallops, falafel, crepes, gumbo and "more cider than you can shake a stick at," Evitts said.
The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Call 877-225-8466 or go to godowntownbaltimore.com
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