NATHAN LYON
emmy-nominated chef + cookbook author

"The moment I first experienced TCHO chocolate, about 10 years ago, it was love at first taste."

NATHAN LYON
emmy-nominated
chef + cookbook
author

"The moment I first experienced TCHO chocolate, about 10 years ago, it was love at first taste."

Fave TCHO Chocolate:
"The 70% Dark Chocolate from Ghana. It’s what chocolate dreams are made of - pure chocolatey-ness"

Fave Season:
"The fifth season. Chocolate season."

Fave Kitchen Tool:
"Espresso machine, because nothing happens without coffee."

ABOUT NATHAN LYON

Chef Nathan Lyon HeadshotEmmy-nominated Chef Nathan Lyon is known for his simple, innovative cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients. You may recognize Nathan as the Culinary and Culture Ambassador for Curiosity Stream, the host of Good Food America with Nathan Lyon (Z Living), chef and co-host of Growing A Greener World (PBS), creator and host of A Lyon in the Kitchen (Discovery Health and Fit TV), co-creator of the Fiber Fourteen meal plan or from the second season of The Next Food Network Star. In addition to receiving a degree in Health Science from James Madison University, Nathan has earned a Culinary Arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu. He has worked in renowned restaurants and has dedicated over a decade of his life to working with local growers in California farmers markets. Nathan’s cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, made the Washington Post’s esteemed “Top Cookbooks” list and received quotes of support from Alice Waters, Graham Kerr, Jamie Oliver, and Curtis Stone. Nathan’s accomplishments and awards also include Sustainable Seafood Ambassador with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Culinary Ambassador with the City of Hope Hospital, and the honor of an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Culinary Host.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHEF

Where did your love for culinary arts start?

NATHAN: When I was five, my grandfather took me under his wing to teach me how to garden from seed to harvest. My grandmother taught me how to can and freeze all that produce and my Mom taught me how to cook with it. My grandfather also taught me how to fish and crab in the Chesapeake Bay when I was growing up. My grandparents exposed me to the world of environmentalism and caring about your surroundings - a solid foundation that informed all of my future culinary endeavors.

How did you know this was the right path for you?

NATHAN: I remember a conversation with Mom in my mid 20’s where she asked me, “if you won the lottery tomorrow and money wasn’t an issue, what would you want to do?” I immediately responded that I always wanted to be a chef. She said, “you only get one chance this time around, you should be happy with what you do with your life.” The very next day I was calling around to different culinary schools.

What inspired you to write a cookbook?

NATHAN:  While working at farmers markets for over a decade in Southern California I was constantly exposed to a wide variety of produce not readily available in grocery stores. I found great joy in experimenting and creating recipes with such an amazing bounty of food. During those years at the farmers markets, I also learned what no one teaches you when shopping in a grocery store (or in culinary school, for that matter) - how to pick and choose the freshest, most flavorful produce on offer and how to properly store that produce so it lasts the longest. Near the end of my stint at the farmers market, I was able to bring my love for seasonal cooking to life in my very first cooking show, A Lyon in the Kitchen, on Discovery Health and Fit TV. After developing numerous recipes for the 3 seasons of my show plus those developed over the years working at farmers markets, I had created a rolodex of “best recipes” to choose from which I put together in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh.

How would you describe your cookbook?

NATHAN:  Great Food Starts Fresh is a 350-page seasonal cookbook which not only includes a ton of recipes, but also has a robust section in the front on how to choose and store seasonal produce as well as a list of essential kitchen tools and ingredients.

We noticed that you have a 5th season in your cookbook, can you tell us more about that?

NATHAN: When I was reviewing all of my recipes, I noticed that an extraordinary number of them involved chocolate. So, I decided to put out a poll on social media to help me decide which recipes to keep or remove. The feedback was overwhelmingly clear that I had to keep them all, so a 5th season in my cookbook was born - Chocolate!

What was your introduction to TCHO?

NATHAN: The moment I first experienced TCHO chocolate, about 10 years ago, it was love at first taste. I was always fascinated by the behind the scenes of chocolate making and was fortunate enough to score a visit to TCHO’s factory in San Francisco. It was there where I met Brad, the Chief Chocolate Maker, who showed me how TCHO chocolate was made and also explained their sourcing practices and how TCHO empowers the farmers they work with by giving them the tools they need to make the best product possible. TCHO’s philosophy naturally aligned with mine and ever since then I’ve been using TCHO.

How does TCHO connect with your sustainability philosophy?

NATHAN: My philosophy revolves around the importance of caring for the environment and respecting the people who grow our food. It's a really easy marriage as we both feel the same way about food, the farmers, and the environment. I love it.

What brought you to Austin, TX?

NATHAN: After growing up on the East Coast, and then spending 20+ years on the West Coast, I thought it was time to split the difference and settle in the middle. Austin is a wonderful city with an incredible amount of nature and a booming food scene!

How has the food scene in Austin changed your cooking style?

NATHAN: One of the culinary pillars in Texas is barbecue so once I settled in Austin I was excited to be immersed in this culture. I am happy to say that I am now a proud owner of a smoker! I am also fortunate to be living in a neighborhood filled with pecan trees and it has been a lot of fun to forage local pecans - many of which I add to my chocolate chip cookie recipe that took me three years to perfect!

What is something that people may not know about you?

NATHAN: People don't know that I’m a stained glass artist and photographer. I actually took every photograph in my cookbook. Oh, and also I do a mean Donald Duck impression.

NATHAN'S RECIPES + CHEF DEMOS

DO IT ALL FOR "THE COOKIE"

After working on this recipe for years, TCHO Pro chef Nathan Lyon finally cracked the key to a cookie so good it needs no other name. Chock-full of hearty chocolate chunks, nutty browned butter, pecans, and a hint of orange zest.

Watch his process here to learn more!

DO IT ALL FOR "THE COOKIE"

After working on this recipe for years, TCHO Pro chef Nathan Lyon finally cracked the key to a cookie so good it needs no other name. Chock-full of hearty chocolate chunks, nutty browned butter, pecans, and a hint of orange zest.

Watch his process here to learn more!

"THE COOKIE"

INGREDIENTS
50g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
50g (¼ cup) refined coconut oil
125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons baking soda
5g (1¼ teaspoon) kosher salt
215g (1 cup) granulated sugar
100g (2 large) eggs
8 g (2 tsp) vanilla extract
30 g (2 T) cold water
80g (1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
1 T orange zest, zested with a Microplane (about 1 large orange)
225 grams TCHO 60.5% Dark Chocolate, chopped roughly
100g (1 cup) roasted, salted pecan halves, chopped roughly
215g (2½ cups) old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. Heat until the butter melts, bubbles up and turns brown, swirling the pan occasionally. Remove from heat, add the coconut oil and swirl to melt.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda and salt to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and water together until very few sugar granules are left, about 1 minute. While whisking, stream in brown butter/coconut oil mixture.
  4. Add the dark brown sugar and orange zest. Whisk until just combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients. Fold with a spatula or wooden spoon (do not whisk) to combine. Add the chocolate, pecans and oats. Mix until very thoroughly combined.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  7. Adjust an oven rack to the middle-upper position and preheat the oven to 375oF degrees.
  8. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
  9. Pack the cookie dough, straight from the refrigerator, into a ¼ cup (75 grams) measuring cup and roll into compact balls.
  10. Evenly space 6 balls on the parchment-lined sheet tray.
  11. Cook for 7 minutes then rotate the pan. Continue cooking for 8 minutes. The cookies will still look slightly undercooked and puffy and will crisp up and deflate slightly as they cool.
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

NATHAN'S RECIPES

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