For the Love of Food
By Marla Tyler, Billing Specialist
The love of good food is in my blood.
I come by it honestly. I have grown up hearing stories of the Tyler Hotel in Upstate New York and the soda shoppe in my grandfather’s pharmacy. I’ve spent countless summers and a good part of four years with my mother’s best friend and chef in Los Angeles. I’ve watched as her restaurant, simply called FOOD, has grown from concept to prosperity and become a gathering place for all. And of course, there’s my mother's innate desire to leave anyone who enters her home fed and happy. Making memories while surrounded by food has been a part of my life and my family for generations. But, as a Biology major with a passion for the ocean, and the aspiration to be a marine scientist, I would never have guessed this would be my destiny.
My love of food is deep. I appreciate the joy it brings people, the memories formed around a special meal or dish and the people who make it their life’s work. Whether it is a wheel of cheddar from Montgomery's Dairy in the British countryside, the olive farmer from Nunez Estate in the hills of Cordoba, or grouper served fresh from the ocean at my favorite Bahamian field station, my fondest memories are those of the food that my travels and experiences have fed me and the people who produced it. Maybe that's how I ended up at Together & Company rather than at a marine institute.
My professional journey didn’t start as a research intern like many of my classmates, but at a deli, where a passion for artisanal food was ingrained from day one. Every specialty food show, every predawn Sunday morning in the kitchen, every slice of Nova (thin enough to read the New York Times through) built my passion and desire to make my way in this crazy, yet oh so fulfilling industry. I’ve done a little bit of everything when it comes to this profession… server, line cook, bartender, caterer, specialty food sales, restaurant manager, it has been a wild ride!
Through each trial and triumph one thing has remained steady: if you surround yourself with passionate people who are “in it” for the good of the team, it doesn’t matter if you are stuck frying fish for 13 hours or attempting to balance a sales report for the umpteenth time, all the pieces of the puzzle will lead to success. Looking back, I guess it's no surprise 20 years later, here I am here at Together & Company loving what I do.
So, why Together & Company? Flash back to Spring 2015. I had been living in Los Angeles for a few years, where the food scene was vast and ever changing and the cost of living was skyrocketing. I was spending my mornings helping to run FOOD (that little restaurant in West LA) and my afternoons at a restaurant accounting firm. I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t love the prospect of sending my daughter to middle school in one of the biggest, most failing school districts in the country and paying through the roof for a tiny Westside apartment. I had a former coworker-turned-friend back in Columbus who constantly raved about her job at an amazing catering company. If nothing else, the food truck menus she shared on Facebook were enough to reel me in. When I told her we were hoping to return to Columbus that summer, she had the perfect opportunity to blend both parts of my Los Angeles work life into one job. So, a few months later my then 11-year-old daughter and I shipped our car, packed some boxes and boarded the plane to reinvent our lives in Columbus.
Two years later, I still hold tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to join this fun, creative, and “fresh” company. My new colleagues quickly became family as we worked to set up kitchens, bars, and dining rooms in barns and fields across Central Ohio during the summer wedding season of 2015. (We even spent a good hour lost in a field of corn!) All the while I was learning the ins and outs of the accounting department. Each day since then has been filled with surprises and an occasional lobster corn dog.