As someone who's more apt to set the table than cook what's served upon it, I was pleased to come across chef Tyler Florence's latest book, Tyler Florence Family Meal. A chronicle of informal (yet beautifully set) meals eaten at home with Florence's Mill Valley neighbors, the book offers visual sustenance for chefs and design voyeurs alike.
Florence moved to Mill Valley in 2007 (his wife and collaborator, Tolan Clark, is a native) and has since become a regular in town, shopping at the farmer's market, hiking the trails, and hosting neighborhood potlucks. In addition to his new SF restaurant Wayfare Tavern (with three more Bay Area eateries to follow), Florence owns a cookware store in town (stay tuned for a Napa location).
Taking inspiration from Family Meal, we've rounded up a few elements for recreating a neighborhood dinner party a la Florence. All tabletop items are available through Tyler Florence in Mill Valley: call 415-380-9200 to order. N.B.: Florence will be signing books at the Mill Valley store on October 20th from 4 to 6 pm.
Above: Tyler Florence's eponymous shop in Mill Valley, via Flickr.
Above: A communal dining table at the Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco; photograph by Brian Smeets.
Above: The Andover Table from Room & Board is available in custom sizes, in 1-inch increments of widths and depths (up to 96 inches). Wood choices include maple, white oak, cherry, or walnut; prices start at $659 for a 24-by-30-inch table. For an even longer table (up to 120 inches), consider the Shaker-inspired Hancock Table at Room & Board.
Above: The Sawkille Bench in oxidized cherry is available in custom lengths; contact Sawkille Co. for pricing and ordering information.
Above: Bertil chair; $39 at Ikea (available in birch, beech and maple).
Above: A Tyler Florence basic table setting, featuring a classic wine glass; $8.95, a simple glass tumbler; $6.95, and a rustic chef's plate, $30.
Above: Tyler Florence sells vintage silver in five-piece place settings; $29.95.
Above: Handwoven by Averil Eager, a Mill Valley artisan, Averil's Napkins are $12.50 each are made from thread sourced from the last operating textile mill in the US; custom colors are available upon request.
Tabletop photographs by Janet Hall.
Above: Tyler Florence Family Meal; $19.49 from Amazon. Family Meal jacket photograph by Jonathan Lee.