When you meet someone and they are really great at what they do, chances are it didn't happen overnight. This is clearly accurate when it comes to Atlanta native and chef extraordinaire G. Garvin. With a fiery passion for cooking that started at a young age, Garvin's dedication, skill, and masterful approach to simple yet refined preparation led him to a successful career and has allowed him the opportunity to give back as well. His commitment to charity is only part of what makes him such a fantastic guy, though.
The biggest part of what makes him so fantastic, of course, is that this man can cook!
And man, oh man, can he cook! Well-respected in the culinary world, G's a restaurateur, the author of several cookbook's, has been nominated and won awards. This May 7th at 6pm, he's kicking off the second season of his popular show, Road Trip with G. Garvin on the Cooking Channel. This season, it's all about checking out the Southern-inspired cuisine the country has to offer and each episode gives us a chance to take a culinary adventure to explore offerings we might just have passed over….but we won't again. Before the show's premiere, we had Chef Garvin guide us through the season and as usual, we got our digs in about how our favorite city of all was passed over. Let's see how G (who has a cookbook called Turn Up The Heat) handled it when we turned up the heat on him.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): As a Jew, it warms my heart that I read you cooked the food of my people. Did you cook in a kosher kitchen? And follow up question, gefilte fish: gross right?
G. Garvin: [Laughs.] My mom worked in a kosher kitchen and I would go through and hang out with her. I did witness the experience of the Rabbi blessing everybody and everything, but I couldn't really go in there and cook. And well, gefilte fish is an acquired taste like everything else.
Fair enough. The premiere episode starts in your hometown of Atlanta so was it hard to pick the places to visit? I'm sure everyone was hitting you up and trying to bribe you.
You know, it's funny because everyone has a place that they think I should go to but it's not like we announced where we were going. In the first season, we just knew there were so many great places that we couldn't get to so we knew where we wanted to go back to this time. Not all of my favorites made it, but they are places that I like and that I thought would also be great for the show.
Since there are a lot of Southern-inspired restaurants being visited this season, do you have an all-time favorite dish or is that just too hard to pin-point?
Oh man, that's an impossible question! It really depends on what's going on. I like southern food but I also like the creativity with things that are being done a little differently. I think the South is doing some really unique things and if you go to Atlanta, there are some really great restaurants. It literally could be anything from pulled short ribs rather than the way it used to be, to doing braised rabbit and mixing it with kale and beets. So it really just depends on what it is. Also with this season, we're giving it a southern "influence" but then again, some of the dishes aren't very southern. So there really is a little bit of both which is good.
I noticed your travels took you to a lot of places in California but you passed over Orange County. And being that you are talking to OC Weekly right now, I mean…what's up with that?
Well you know California is a big place! [Laughs.] I appreciate you, but it's not as easy as you would think. Maybe we'll save that for season three. We'll have to make that our Orange County special. We'll have to squeeze that in.
OK, I set you up for that but we'll take a visit at least! I like that your show not only introduces us to restaurants, but then you also jump in the kitchen and cook too. It's interactive of sorts. How would you breakdown the show?
Oh yeah. I try to get involved, I like to get in there and get messy. There are some great shows within the network but I really wanted ours to be destination-driven. We go to places that we really think people will want to go and enjoy. I try to focus on showing people that if you are going to Oakland, here's a place you should go to. If you are going to D.C., here's a place you should go to. When you go to certain places like Las Vegas, you can gamble and you can go see shows, but we found a really great restaurant also so we're hoping that you'll go visit it too. And that's what I think that people are really going to see this season. It's one of the things that I was striving for.
Season two of Road Trip with G. Garvin premieres Tuesday, May 7th at 6pm (PST) on the Cooking Channel. For more information go to www.CookingChannelTV.com. You can also find recipes, pick up G's books, spices, and more on his website www.ChefGarvin.com and follow him on Twitter @ChefGarvin.