Scrambling the eggs in his basket 

I'm hungry. No, scratch that, I'm just hungover.

Regardless, I'm on nourishment duty, involving a hot guy who likes to cook while I watch. No news there, to be sure, except this hot guy is something of a celebrity, hosting his own two shows on the Food Network (which I do not get) and eliciting sighs and indigestion from a legion of big girls nationwide. Tyler Florence -- he of "Food 911" and "Tyler's Ultimate" -- is in town for a book signing at Barnes and Noble, and my stomach is simply in knots. Then again, my stomach is always in knots.

"I'm hungover, heh heh" I glub in the back room. He doesn't ever want to see me again. You know the drill.

Anyway, Florence has written the book (and written a book) on how to be cute and cook at the same time, so we must have something to talk about: I'm ugly and can't cook. But, unfortunately, Tyler's gotten a little pudgier than his previous Jack Wagner image might have implied. So, um, cute's out.

"Tell me about your new show," I yawn.

"It's kind of about travel," he doesn't know.

"But isn't "Food 911" kind of about travel, too?"

"It's sort of the same thing."

I'm kind of, sort of, really not interested. Mostly because food is like the evil stepsister I might have killed when I was 7: overdressed and in my way. But also because Tyler is sort of a stuttering, overweight fake.

"So there's, like, a network for food?" I binge then purge.

"It's the fastest growing network on cable. We've just kind of hit a cool plateau, reaching about 80 million homes," he kind-ofs, again. "Every city we go to, the fans are just great, man."

Ooooooh, he called me "man." Clearly, he's drunk, too. "You're obviously very famous," I pour it on. "Whatever do people say to you?"

"Usually, 'How do you get on "Food 911?'""

For those of you not in the know or who are terribly, beautifully scrawny like me, "Food 911" involves Tyler making house calls to ladies whose husbands are working or cheating. Common kitchen conundrums are solved, occasional Blind Date production embellishments are employed (speech bubbles!) and, in the end, Tyler ends up eating. And eating. And eating.

"Do you ever think that women don't really need you there, but just call because they, er, want you?" I decode.

"Sometimes," he chuffs. "Um, yeah."

In my intense research for this piece of prose, I witnessed Master Florence rescuing a buxom bovinity from her own -- possibly contrived -- rice issue. It seems said eater/breeder couldn't quite figure out how not to burn her rice, ruining every meal but still maintaining a body weight some 30 pounds over what it ought to be. Poor her.

"She was cool," he surfs. "The risotto was nice."

But Tyler's new show is far more ambitious. "Tyler's Ultimate" seeks to find the best of everything foodwise ... and gain a few pounds in the process.

"The "Ultimate" is a really gorgeous show," he uses the word "gorgeous" unnecessarily. "We kind of travel around the world and try to find the ultimate everything, not the most flash and expensive food, but, like, real stuff, like the fishing villages and farm towns and wineries and old dishes -- the ultimate chicken, the ultimate payaya, the ultimate omelet."

Mmmm, eggs.

"In the first half of the show, we're in Provence with this guy who is a winemaker," he piques my interest. "He makes a big huge colossal French omelet," he shoots it down, "and he talks about how slow you have to cook it. ... They serve it in pie pieces with a salad and cheese and wine. Then, the second half of the show, we went to this topless bar ... "

At least that's what I hear. "So, the ultimate belly-button shot, then?" I hiccup.

"Tapas, not topless," he takes off my shirt. "Ah, yeah. Great omelets at the topless bar in Spain, let me tell you. Ba dum bum."

Ba dum dum.

"So we were at the oldest tapas bar in Spain, it's about 130 years old, and they had this thing called a 'tortilla,'" he goes on, unnecessarily, "which is a big egg and potato pie, omelet style. So I get back, and I make my own omelet, and I tell the story."

"So why so many eggs, then?"

"The first thing a chef will have you do is, 'Make me an omelet,'" he holds my hand on the burner. "An omelet's really very simple, but it's easy to screw up. A good omelet is the sign of a good cook."

"So, um, do you love food?" I love handle.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he gains weight. "I just think that food is one thing that kind of brings all cultures together. And you really don't have to speak that language to understand where the food is coming from. You try the food, you get a sense of where it's coming from. I just enjoy it."

Wow, maybe we shouldn't talk at all, hmmm?

"I had some lady slingshot her panties at me."

I said shut up.

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