By Johnson & Wales University
Celebrity Chef and Johnson & Wales University (JWU) alumus Tyler Florence has been named JWU’s inaugural Food Entrepreneur in Residence. In this role, Florence will mentor students selected to compete this year in the JWU Future Food All-Stars Challenge, a JWU-sponsored competition to develop and seek funding for business ventures to support the food economy.
“We are pleased to welcome Tyler back to JWU so our students may leverage his expertise and experience,” said Jason Evans, Ph.D., dean of the College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT). “This is an exciting opportunity and partnership that illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and industry connections for which JWU is known. We are grateful for Tyler’s generosity and commitment to give back to the university that prepared him to follow his passion and achieve success in the culinary world.”
Chef Florence said, “It is a true honor to serve as JWU’s first Food Entrepreneur in Residence, a role that will allow me to mentor students and share the experiences I’ve had along my professional journey.” He continued, “My Johnson & Wales education gave me purpose and cemented the foundation of who I am as a person and a professional. As our industry begins to recover from the pandemic, there is tremendous opportunity for young innovators and entrepreneurs to play an important role. I look forward to working with JWU’s talented students, nurturing their ideas and passions, and preparing them to enter their field ready to lead.”
Chef Florence will lead the JWU Future Food All-Stars Challenge, a competition hosted by the university’s The Larry Friedman Center for Entrepreneurship (eCenter) and CFIT, where teams of students will identify a core business opportunity, develop a business model and product plan, and prepare for the opportunity to pitch their ideas to established investors. Three teams will be selected as finalists in late November to pitch their ideas to real prospective investors with a JWU panel selecting the winning team, which will receive a cash prize of $2,500.
Twenty-four-year Food Network veteran Tyler Florence, a 1994 graduate of JWU’s former Charleston, South Carolina campus, has captivated millions of viewers on numerous hit shows including The Great Food Truck Race. His reach and influence extends well beyond his cooking shows, as he has effectively launched brands in a variety of industries and built an ever-expanding business across many platforms. His limitless quest for what’s current and interesting in the food and lifestyle space among others has always positioned him at the forefront of new trends.