By Samantha Critchell
The Associated Press
Growing up in Greenville, S.C., Tyler Florence spent Saturday afternoons with his father in front of the television set, switching back and forth between Super Friends cartoons and old episodes of Julia Child's The French Chef.
Since he knew he wasn't ever going to be Superman, Florence says he pretty much decided then that he'd become a chef.
Now he's on television, as the host of the Food Network's Food 911, which began airing in 1999, and Tyler's Ultimate, which follows the 32-year-old chef to the source of his favorite dishes, such as paella in Valencia, Spain, and bouillabaisse in Marseille, France.
The travel - often to remote villages - can be taxing at times, says Florence, especially with language differences and six-floor, walk-up hotels with unreliable plumbing.
Conversely, some things Americans do for convenience baffle others, he says. "Certain parts of the world would be horrified that we have cheese wrapped in plastic in 64 individual slices."
New episodes of the first season of Tyler's Ultimate air through June (Mondays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Fridays at 9 p.m. and midnight.) The second season of the cooking show will begin in January.
Food 911 airs Mondays at 2:30 a.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays at 1 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.; Fridays at 1 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 a.m.; and Sundays at 1:30 p.m.
Florence includes recipes for sage-roasted pork tenderloin with dried plum sauce and baked eggplant with sesame yogurt and mint in his new cookbook, Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen (Clarkson Potter; $26.95).
Question: The second season of "Tyler's Ultimate" will include scenes filmed in your Manhattan apartment. Is this a step toward reality television for you?
Answer: Having the kitchen in my house, the show will be more personal. It'll be another connection with viewers, but it's not a "reality show." You won't see the rest of my apartment.
Q: What's in your refrigerator?
Well, right now I don't have a kitchen since we're redoing it for the show, so I have a stack of takeout Chinese menus.
A: Does your 7-year-old son like your cooking?
When he was younger, I'd make all his baby food and I used to make this dish of risotto with peas and it has little shrimp in it, and he loved it. But then he started going to (school), and when you get 20 kids together they see green food and they won't eat it, so he decided peas were yucky - but he's starting to come around again.
Q: When you go into people's homes for your "Food 911" show, do they dress up for their cooking lesson?
A: Not really, the show is incredibly casual but they do clean their houses really well.
Q: How do you balance out a diet that seems to include a lot of butter, cream and cheese?
A: I do take my running shoes wherever I go.
Talk show guests
Live with Regis and Kelly (9 a.m., Channel 9): Arnold Schwarzenneger
Wayne Brady (10 a.m., Channel 9): Famke Janssen
The View (11 a.m., Channel 9): Nancy Grace
Caroline Rhea (3 p.m., Channel 19): Kevin Richardson
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