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The California Questionnaire: Tyler Florence VC_Questionaire.Tyler_.Florence_HERO_stock_ED_597185124_1280x640
Photograph by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

The California Questionnaire: Tyler Florence

The California Questionnaire: Tyler Florence
Chef, TV host, oenophile, motorcycle enthusiast—Tyler Florence truly is living the dream

Food Network fans know Tyler Florence as the debonair celebrity chef who is passionate about great cuisine and living well. San Francisco residents—and foodies who flock to the city—think of Florence as the creative force behind Wayfare Tavern, the cosy Financial District eatery that marries the atmosphere of a British pub with some irresistibly inventive cuisine.

The cuisine at Wayfare Tavern can best be described as classic American fare with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients that highlight the best of California’s culinary resources. The fried chicken is a real showstopper and is designed to be shared, enjoyed, and discussed long after the meal is over. 

Where do you live? Corte Madera, California.

Why there? My wife and I found a one-of-a kind Bernard Maybeck home finished in 1904 and we fell in love with it. It’s tucked back in the hills of Corte Madera. It’s a beautiful example of early California architecture. We love it.

Who or what is your greatest California love? That’s a tough one. There’s so much to love. As a chef, the local produce we get in our restaurants is second to none in the country. I love that. I feel lucky to get to cook with it every day. As a winemaker, I love the rolling hills of Sonoma. The microclimates produce so many different variations of fruit: the best Pinot grapes, the best Chardonnay, the best Syrah, the best Zinfandel. I fall in love with the process every year. But if I had to pick one thing that I love the most about California, it would be her coastline. Riding my motorcycle up old Highway 1 in western Marin County melts my heart.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? There’s a fine line between misperception and the truth. What would that be? That we all think we can change the world with a new app? Or we all go to the beach all day, or we’re wine snobs, or that our politics are liberal, or we’re too idealistic? Dreamers even? It all depends if you’re looking at the state from the outside because it all seems too good to be true. We’re the sixth largest economy in the world. We entertain the world. We get the world tipsy on our grape juice. Our tech community is creatively introducing new ideas and solutions that do make the world a better place. We love to dream big, and great things come from that. For someone to assume that we’re soft, or flaky, or shallow, I would say that we have mastered the art of having better things to do. Like taking off from work to go surfing. It’s all part of the creative process.

What is the stereotype that most holds true? The conversations about which highway did you take to get somewhere. Like “The Californians” on Saturday Night Live. That’s very true.

What’s your favourite Golden State splurge? I love going direct to wineries to buy wine. It’s really special to get the story of the wine direct from the winemaker. You get a whole new appreciation for the craft and get details about the wine you would never get from a wine shop. Some of my favourites are Three Sticks in Sonoma, Kistler in Sebastopol, Kosta Browne also in Sebastopol, and Matthiasson Winery in Napa.

Time for a road trip—where do you go? My favourite California road trip is the PCH from San Francisco to Big Sur on motorcycle. It’s the most beautiful coastline in the world.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would that be? It would be a three-way tie between Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, In-N-Out Burger (order a 3x3), and The French Laundry.

Best California Song? "California Stars,” by Billy Bragg and Wilco.

How would your California dream day unfold? A cookout with friends, chasing sun-kissed kids around the pool, and a cold glass of rosé.

 

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Explore California Luxury
Celebrity chef Tyler Florence shares how he fell in love with California's "everyday luxury."
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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12
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
23°
High
8°
Low
June - Aug
27°
High
14°
Low

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine. 

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me."  –singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

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San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Golden Gate Bridge

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See one of the world’s most famous landmarks, spanning an elegant bay

With towers soaring 227 metres into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay and all of it painted bright red-orange, the...

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Chao Kusollerscharlya/Shutterstock

Spotlight: Berkeley

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See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

Haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But while...

May

Rock rolls into the wine country with this three-day event in Napa that features 2019 headliners Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford & Sons. With more than 80 performers in the May 24–26...

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Jessica S./Flickr
The California Questionnaire: Tyler Florence vca_maps_sfbayarea
San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.
Rudyard Kipling
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a pastel coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

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John/ Flickr
July

Get the Spanish spirit at this colourful event. Stroll the grounds of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards with a glass of bubbly, and take in a whirl of passionate music, flamenco dancing and food....

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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
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SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class hotels and resorts. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills,...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favourite beaches

Sand, water, and children-it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. These sandy beaches offer appealing, family friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for...

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Alex Farnum
It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
Julia Child
SPECIAL FEATURE
Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

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George's at the Cove
SPECIAL FEATURE
Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
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According to legend, Winchester Mystery House's maze of passages and building oddities were designed to confuse the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...

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Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Tai Power Seeff

Livermore

Ranches, vineyards, and relaxed appeal east of San Francisco

With warm sun and wide open spaces cradling vineyards, ranches, and wine country estates, the Livermore Valley makes an appealing destination just...

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Eiojo Torpe/Getty Images

Sausalito

Explore this quaint town that’s just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a steep hillside covered in chaparral and eucalyptus drops from Highway 101 to a flat, sunny shoreline, two...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Prayitno/Flickr
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Vacationland

4 AWESOME WINE COUNTRY RESORTS

Luxurious spas, farm-to-table dining, and easy access to dozens of wineries—these Napa and Sonoma resorts offer the indulgent getaway you need

Ready for some “me time” amid decadent surroundings? Reserve your spot at one of these spectacular Wine Country resorts.

...

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Erica Davis/Getty Images

Half Moon Bay

This delightful little beach town possesses serious surf DNA and is just a short drive from San Francisco

Half Moon Bay is situated 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1, but it might as well be half a world away. Home to the world-famous...