Tyler Kofoed is the Cooking School and Catering Director for Harmons. He’s also a woodworker, a vocal performer, and an all-around maker. As a maker, Tyler takes his job to a whole new level by not only catering events but also creating atmospheres. Whether it’s building a gazebo to get the right vibes or creating a new way to serve Harmons’ food, Tyler has made his job into what he wants it to be. With his “why not?” and “dream big” attitude, Tyler has worked his way up through Harmons to be where he is today. Having worked at the company for a total of 8 years, Kofoed is passionate about the locally run company and what he does there.
Becoming a Maker
“For as long as I can remember, I have loved creating things,” comments Tyler. This sort of ability to make and create has driven Tyler throughout his life—whether it was making a fort as a child or learning the ins and outs of woodworking. “Nothing thrilled me more than taking an idea and making it happen in the physical world,” he says. It’s this sort of mentality that can drive a person to make more out of anything. Being a maker doesn’t only mean that you can make art; it also means that you have the skills and mindset to create all sorts of things. The problem-solving skills and creativity that makers have allow them to make more out of anything—that includes jobs and situations. Tyler did this when he started as a part-time employee at Harmons. He’s now made himself an invaluable part of the organization with his unique set of skills.
So, how do you become a maker? It starts with a lot of trial and error. “First and foremost, I create to prove to myself that I can,” he says. “I love poring over design books, researching trends, and finding out what the ‘experts’ are doing, and then figuring out how I can recreate it with my limited resources. Sometimes it works out great, and what you envisioned in your mind comes to pass as planned, and often it doesn’t. But how thrilling is it to then figure out why it didn’t work and try again!” Turn your failures into lessons, and they won’t really be failures.
What is Tyler making for the DIY Fest?
Working for Harmons, a Presenting Sponsor of this year’s DIY Fest, Tyler Kofoed has been involved with Craft Lake City’s Annual DIY Festival for years. Tyler has run the Harmons booth for the past few years, and this year, he is also in charge of the VIP Lounge. Being the creative guy he is, Tyler is creating a unique atmosphere for the VIP Lounge with some DIY furniture pieces—that he’s making, of course—including buffet tables, wagon wheel chandeliers, and a brand new bar, all made of wood. He’s also working with all five of the Harmons Cooking School Chefs to provide catering and food demonstrations throughout the festival. VIP-goers can expect the best with new food daily.
Influence from the local creative community
Being born and raised in Salt Lake City, Tyler was highly influenced by the local makers community. “[My] entire paradigm of creativity was fostered by the Salt Lake community,” he says. “We are truly privileged here.” A choir conductor, Tyler has been very involved in the local music scene, having recently graduated from Westminster College in vocal performance. “What has shaped me most has been the choral music community. Through music, I’ve learned to experience life and all that it has to offer, both the good and the bad,” he says. “Mostly, it’s provided me an opportunity to set goals, decide how I will accomplish them, and then work through all the obstacles necessary to reach the goals. Knowing how to create something from seemingly nothing has benefited every every part of my life.”
As the Cooking School and Catering Director for Harmons, Tyler knows the importance of supporting local. Harmons is a local company, family owned and operated, that highly values supporting local. “It only makes sense that a company that has been supported by Utahns for so long would put so much effort into giving back to those same people,” says Tyler. Harmons has been a partner of Craft Lake City for years, supporting local makers through our organization.
Some advice from one maker to another
When asked what advice Tyler Kofoed would give to aspiring makers, he says, “Dream! Always dream! Who cares if the dream is not reasonable or even possible. No one has ever created anything of worth without dreaming big.” It’s this sort of thinking that has allowed Tyler to make the most of his situations, to lead a creative life. Tyler continues, “Always have a reason for everything you do. The difference between an amateur and a professional creator is that a professional has a well thought-out reason for every single thing they do. Nothing is haphazard. Everything is for a purpose, even if it’s unclear to others what that purpose is.” Tyler finds inspiration and purpose in his work—this fuels his creativity.
With a dream-big mentality, purpose in his work, and a little perseverance, Tyler Kofoed has the ability not only to be a maker of things but also to make more out of situations. This sort of ability is invaluable to anyone who wants to have a creative life. See what Tyler has thought up and made for the VIP Lounge at Craft Lake City’s 9th Annual DIY Festival in a few weeks!