The chef, cookbook author, entrepreneur and TV host recently finished filming the third season of “Road Trip with G. Garvin,” which premieres today at 9 p.m. on the Cooking Channel.
“It’s a dream job,” the Vinings resident said. “I’m all over the country. I get to eat at great restaurants, meet great people and hear great stories. But it’s hard work. I hit the gym in the morning or after the set [tapings at night]. But the overall experience is great.”
“Road Trip,” however, is just one item on Garvin’s agenda.
“It’s been a really busy year,” he said. “I also just finished filming ‘Underground BBQ Challenge’ on the Travel channel, airing in July. I’m looking forward to doing eight episodes of ‘Guy’s Groceries Games’ as a judge on the Food Network. I’m also doing a cooking demonstration in August at the Buckhead Theatre.”
Garvin has been hosting his own TV series since the early 2000s. His career has taken him all over the world to places like Hamburg and Warsaw but it started in Vinings.
Raised by a single mother in Buckhead, Garvin and his four sisters did a lot of the cooking while their mom was at work.
“We all had a competition to see who did the best dish,” he said.
Garvin was only 13 when he got his first restaurant job at The Old Vinings Inn in Vinings. Two years later, he became the youngest cook at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta.
“I was just hanging in my neighborhood and I used to break down boxes at [former Buckhead restaurant] Pano’s and Paul’s and mowed lawns. It was easy money,” he said.
“Once I started washing dishes, I realized there were some [career] opportunities.
“The Old Vinings Inn was a good introduction to food outside my home. The chef was French so I learned a lot about sautéing and grilling. The Ritz-Carlton was a phenomenal experience, working with chefs from all over the world and really understanding what gourmet food was.”
As an adult he worked as the sous chef at Veni Vidi Vici in Midtown and worked at restaurants in California. His clients include international dignitaries, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, then-U.S. Sen. Hilary Clinton.
Garvin’s memoir, “The Making of A Chef,” has been sold to HBO as a series and is expected to be released soon.
“G. is a triple threat — an acclaimed chef with an adventurous side and a warm and entertaining personality,” Michael Smith, general manager and senior vice president of the Cooking Channel said in a statement.
“All of this makes him the perfect guide to take viewers across the country finding some of the tastiest dishes around, along with getting to know the people behind them.”
Garvin is involved with at least three nonprofits. He has a culinary boot camp for children 16 to 19 through the One Bite at a Time Foundation. The camp will offer an experiential education in hospitality and restaurant operations management, as well as culinary arts.
As a victim of domestic violence, he supports the Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program in south Los Angeles.
He has also become involved with Second Harvest, the nation’s largest charitable hunger relief organization, through ongoing partnerships with Kraft, Tyson and Coca-Cola.
But lately his time has been focused on “Road Trip.”
“I go all over the country to find great restaurants,” he said. “All of them have something in common. They’re not Southern restaurants but they all have something Southern on the menu. I thought that was important because in American dining, Southern cuisine sometimes gets overlooked.
“Hawaii was interesting finding something Southern. There’s a restaurant in Chicago called the Purple Pig. I grew up eating pig ears and they serve a form of pig ears with kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg. I’ve never seen anything like it.”