What’s Cooking?

Mediterranean gems from Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Tyler Florence’s book debut.

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It’s also flying off the shelves.

In just two weeks, more than 65,000 copies have been sold. Florence and his basic approach to food, it seems, are more popular than he ever imagined.

"You never understand the power of TV until you do something like this," says the chef, who also is enjoying his new status as a pinup. At a book signing on Monday in San Francisco, 550 fans showed up to watch him cook stir-fried beef with tangerine and green beans. The demographic he appeals to most — the ladies — came in droves. They screamed and some even cried. In Chicago, more than 450 mobbed Borders Books for his appearance. "It’s amazing to hear applause while you’re cooking. People come up afterward to say that they cook because of the show."

In addition to launching a new show, "Tyler’s Ultimate," on the Food Network, he is also filming 65 new episodes of "Food 911." At this rate, isn’t he in danger of burnout? "People get enjoyment out of what I do," he says, seemingly amazed by his celebrity, "so in that way, it’s kind of rock-star like."
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