Superstar chef Tyler Florence on the secret to making the right hires

If you care at all about food, then there is a very good chance you know who Tyler Florence is. The Food Network star has been a household name for the last 15 years in the ever-growing, ever-trending, ever-Instagrammable world of cuisine and all that comes with it. He has hosted numerous shows including How To Boil Water ( a show for people like me who personally struggle with this), Food 911, The Great Food Truck Race, Food Court Wars, and Worst Cooks in America and Tyler Ultimate as well as various specials. He is also a regular guest on The Today Show, The View, The Tonight Show, and Good Morning America amongst others.

He has written at least 12 cookbooks, including many best-sellers, and restaurants including the notable Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco. In other words, he’s basically the king of food. And as the king of food, he knows a thing or two about being a leader as he runs eight different companies.

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Ladders caught up with Florence at the PGA Championship in Long Island, New York, where he hosted the PGA Championship Welcome Dinner on May 15 and also created a special dish that was sold in the Chase Sapphire Cardmember Club. He was on hand in the Chase Sapphire Cardmember Club on May 16 to tape an episode of ‘The Erik Anders Lang Show’ podcast, and we had the chance to chat after that.

On the most important thing, a leader can do

The most important thing you can do as the head of the company is your hiring decisions. The potential can be there but maybe the execution is not there and you bring somebody in who doesn’t meet everybody’s standards. You want to create a level of excellence that is self-policing. What if there is something deconstructive about their contribution?

On finding the right talent

That kind of thing gets figured out pretty fast. My level of leadership hiring people who get the vision and get the storyline. In the hospitality industry, we call it having the “b-positive blood type.” You have to be positive and that needs to be your blood type. When you get people in that mix and their part of the culture and they provide great content, either food or video or books, then you just let them do their job.

We see it pretty fast. When we bring someone new into the group we all speed date them on quick little 10-15 min interviews. Someone is gonna say something like, ‘They were very interesting, but it was very telling when they said this.’ We’re a medium-sized company but also very intimate. Hiring is the most important thing you can do.

On turning down ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Apprentice’

I think both of those are the wrong energy. You are a product of your path and if your path is full of a bunch of clunky misfires it’s not going to work. It’s OK to have a couple of L’s in your column but you can’t have it out shadow your wins. L’s are healthy if you are trying hard, but not if you have a lot of misfires. You have to be very particular and listen to your own internal compass at all times. There is power in the no.

On failure

If you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough. That’s kinda cliche and I’ve heard it about 1000 times but it’s true If you’re not really trying to make strides into the known you’re not breaking ground. You’re not doing anything innovative. You are mimicking something you’ve seen or read. Sometimes it takes a while. You can’t just walk into a meeting and go ‘Hey guys! Imagine this…’ You need to go ‘Hey guys, watch this’ and that’s when you get better at filtering out your own thought process.

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