He graduated from the College of Culinary Arts at the Charleston, South Carolina campus of Johnson & Wales University, and was given an honorary doctorate from the university for his culinary success.
Tyler has been praised as a Food Network star, restaurateur, celebrity chef, cookbook author, baby food entrepreneur, and now, winemaker.
But when Food Republic writer Richard Martin mentioned that Tyler has done commercials for some food companies with questionable reputations, Tyler responded by saying:
“If you are going to affect change, you have to affect change at a high level. Applebee’s paid me a lot of money, dude – they paid me $3 million for 10 recipes and 10 days of my life.”
Tyler went on to explain that he became involved with Applebee’s because he thought he could make a difference on a universally broad level.
Tyler claims he compelled Applebee’s to think about fresh ingredients. Instead of fried chicken, it was a roasted chicken.
“We got ingredients into their menu that actually had a pretty decent level of nutrition and tasted really great, and things that they had never thought of before. We were even in conversation to bring organics to Applebee’s.”
Tyler owns an organic baby food company called Sprout, which started nine years ago. He claims Sprout is the fourth largest baby food company in the U.S.
His latest book Fresh, to be released next month, explores using easy-to-find ingredients in unexpected ways to make simple yet sophisticated cuisine.
His 2011 book Start Fresh, was geared towards parents with young children.
“It gives parents a direction to go in from the first spoon of food and helps parents understand how children react to food so we can make a difference from a very early age.”
Tyler believes that when Jamie Oliver holds up vegetables to first graders and they don’t know what they are, it’s too late.
“You have to start making a difference in a child’s life via nutrition from the very first spoon of food that you put in their mouth. It’s got to be densely nutritious and it has to taste amazing.”
Tyler insists baby food companies don’t understand that concept because they’re designed by scientists and professional marketing agencies.
“No one in the middle took taste into consideration, because they assumed that children can’t taste or can’t complain. But would you eat something that you don’t like? Your infant feels the same way.”
Tyler and his wife, Tolan, manage three restaurants, three kitchen shops, a media schedule, a new wine label, a baby food company, and have three children.
“Cooking in our kitchen is the fundamental glue that holds us together,” Tyler says.