Summer is upon
us and so it's the smell of grilling wafting in the air. To assist
us in our quest for finessing fine grilling exercises,
Channel has called on one of its vets,
Ė who has enjoyed popular success as chef, author, entrepreneur, and
television host Ė to entreat with some of the best cooking to be
found nationally. Starting May 29th, the
native debuts his new show,
Road Trip with G. Garvin.
built his culinary repertoire during childhood, his earliest
experience came with cutting and peeling vegetables alongside his
mother in the kitchen of Atlantaís
for the Aging. So besides the obvious local
inspirations he has a taste of another kind of orthodoxy to
Raised by a
single mom, surrounded by four sisters, the 13-year-old Garvin
traded after-school football practice for a job at Atlanta's
Inn, soaping dishes and soaking up the inner
workings of a high-end kitchen. Two years later, he became the
youngest cook at the downtown
where he held seasonal positions.
west, initially in 1988, to open the Ritz-Carltonís
Mirage resort in
At 20, he moved to
to further his culinary training and served as
Maharebachaís apprentice. Then he got kitchen
Warsaw, while documenting everything he learned.
After nearly two years, he returned to Atlanta to become
sous chef of the
award-winning Italian restaurant,
Vici. However, the lure of the West Coast drew him
back, this time, to Los Angeles.
Ď90s, he served as
executive chef, where he orchestrated dinner for the second Annual
Vanity Fair Oscar fete, as well as a lavish banquet for the late
Israeli Prime Minister
ďreally good foodĒ as the goal, Garvin ended up at the former
Hollywood watering hole
where he shaped a creative menu appealing to both gourmands and
show-biz execs alike. A year later, he became executive chef at the
which became a smash and earned Garvin great reviews and his highest
both business and creative success with food, he left there to
independently cater high-profile events, including two exclusive
Clinton, a private brunch for Senator Hillary
Clinton and meals for other notable clients.
years, he teamed with a catering client to open a restaurant. In
fall of 2001, G. Garvinís opened to critical acclaim, then expanding
two years later to more than double its size.
Plans for a
series of cooking DVDs brought him to the attention of
in early 2004, where his enthusiasm seemed perfect for a new network
looking to provide lifestyle programming for the growing foodie
audience. It was then that
Turn Up the
Heat with G. Garvin, came to fruition and now
his latest show this summer.
is something youíve always done. Did you start out doing Jewish food
since your mom worked at The Jewish Home?
My mother did.
I was in the kitchen, doing what I could, considering most of it was
culture. Just hanging out with my mom and watching what she did.
Then sheíd go home and make her own version of meatballs. A little
bit, but not too much.
Why is there such a fascination with food now?
learning to understand food in a way that itís not just something
you do. You donít just eat to live. The science of food, the
development of recipes, the new science. Itís become not just
something to do, itís become a lifestyle. People are savvy, where
people donít have desires to be chefs; they have desires to learn
how to cook, and make great meals, and understand why youíd do a
pinot noir with chicken and steak and pinot grigio with
seafood and pasta. Thereís a lot of intelligent information about
food where before there may not have been.
When you grill, do you grill everything? What canít you grill? Guess
you canít grill watermelon.
probably could. Grilling is a method, just like sautťing or baking,
or broiling. You can braise your leg of lamb or grill your leg of
lamb. For my show and the show weíre doing, not everything is
grilled. But this time of year, there are certain focuses for
people. If you want to grill it, figure out a way to do so. I love
throwing fish on the grill. I work out five days a week, so I throw
it on the grill, itís all smoky from the wood, and have it with a
salad. If you have a desire to grill, you certainly can, but you
just have to create a method.
I guess it depends on what sauces you use.
issue, and what people tend to forget, is when people grill, they
tend to create a big flame and turn it and turn it and get the grill
marks. The key components when I grill are hot, medium, and warm.
Start with whatever your cooking with a hot flame. If youíre using a
sauce, put it on at medium so it coats well because of the warmth.
The problem people have is grilling and burning. If you start it
super-hot, you get grill marks and flavor, slide it to the medium
side to actually let it cook, then finish it on the warm side, it
allows you to sauce it while grilling and getting that flavor
Are there meats or foods you havenít used that you want to explore
like, say, ostrich?
I have never
used ostrich. Alligator I love. I have cooked rattlesnake and bison
in the past. So I would think that the next thing for me, Iíve been
thinking about a good dish with some alligator.
Have you tried grilling insects?
I have not.
Supposedly people do a lot with grasshoppers.
that and seen different people do that all over the world. Itís
going to be less about me, and more the demographic that Iím cooking
for. It would be a hard sell. I think people are more open minded
about where things are going with food, but I think itís key to talk
You could throw it in as a side dish.
We got people
comfortable with escargot. There are certain cheeses that they have
with worms that people are eating in France. I think itíd be a hard
sell in America. But people are open to getting themselves prepared
for something. You certainly have to ease your way in.
Frogs legs are
great, I love them.
I never tried them grilled.
The grill is a
great component. It gets you out of the kitchen and into the
backyard or park. Grilling can really be fun.
large do you like your grilling environment to be?
Iím a big guy,
so I like a big-boy pit. I like to throw a whole tenderloin, whether
itís pork or beef, side of ribs, whole side of salmon. We actually
did that in Houston. Grilled a whole side of salmon, with brisket
and some shrimp. I like big, smoky, loud, big-boy grills.
How about tuna Ė do you put the whole thing on the grill?
You can, but
tuna is one of those delicacies. When I think tuna, I think cerviche,
carpcio, tartare. Navy black, I used to do a blackened pepper and
mint with shiitake tuna, but I donít know if Iíd ever throw the tuna
onto the grill.
Do you ever worry about carcinogens that supposedly occur in some
foods during grilling?
Iím just not
qualified to answer that question, unfortunately, so I couldnít
answer that question intelligently. Grilling has been around as long
as I can remember. It has changed, absolutely. Itís not harmful but
Iím not a doctor. If there is a concern, people should grill in
moderation, but I cannot speak intelligently on that philosophy.
Guess it depends on what you grill with.
There is some
concern. Oak wood, open flame, it canít be too harmful. Itís the way
of the caveman. Throw it on the grill with a natural flame and oak
So your preference is oak wood?
You have your
On the Road
series and then you have your grilling. Are those separate
environments or do they interweave?
They sort of
work together. The name of the show is
Road Trip with G. Garvin
and there are some episodes where we do grill, but primarily, itís
about road trips, finding unique restaurants, finding great things
about those places and working with those people and those places.
Where do you like to travel when on the road Ė where do you like to
What we love
is that we love to see something in a community that all the locals
are talking about. A mom and pop spot thatís not visible to the
regular traveler. Whether itís a burger, or a sandwich, or pasta, or
pie, we canít adhere to the culinary streets, if you will.
do you want to visit?
Weíve gone to
Austin, Houston, Nashville, Atlanta
York. Iím looking forward to going to
Philadelphia. Iím really looking forward to
Brazil. Iím hoping we can go to a lot of great
places where we can find some great dishes.
How small do you get or big do you get?
Nashville small and we get Austin big, so itís a little of both. We
get Lafayette small. But thereís big flavors and big things going on
in places like Austin. We hit
which was a great place, but small. We got both.
did you decide to move back to Atlanta after living in Los Angeles?
Itís because I
grew up in Atlanta. I started my food career there. When we decided
to do this show, the network wanted to do the first episode in
Georgia, so that was one reason. Iím opening a restaurant in the
Atlanta airport, thatís reason number two. I opened a studio in
Atlanta where we shoot videos and host parties. It just made good
food business sense to go to Atlanta, so I did.
You already have the media profile, so youíre not losing something
by not being there.
Thatís a great
point. Outside of the weather, thank God that Iím busy enough that I
donít need to live in
to work. Iíve earned the right to live outside of Los Angeles. I
love LA. Most of my adult life has been there. Itís a great food
town, but I also love where Atlanta is going as a new food mecca.
Thereís all sorts of genres of food. The scene is growing and I love
You didnít want to live in NY?
It just never
came up. I almost did, but right from Atlanta I got a job in
Iíve always been responsible, never really packed my bags and took a
chance. I went to California, loved working there, and thatís where
I ended up. New York has always been on the radar, but Iíve been
lucky enough that Iíve gone to places where people have interests in
Will the fascination with
haute cuisine encourage us to diet better or will we gorge
smart enough now toÖ one thing I argue is that people are more food
intelligent than theyíre given credit for. Listen, people like to
splurge some times, but everyone has their own personal health
requirements. People are smart enough to know what works with them.
Thatís the one thing Iíve always argued when I have a show or a
restaurant, I say people are more food intelligent than we give them
credit for. I donít think anyone is going to over-do it. A small few
will, as always, but the overall feels is that are going to indulge
less and learn to be responsible.
us Let us know what you