By Leah Stone
Businessman and restaurateur, Chef G. Garvin, has quickly become a household name on the food scene. An Atlanta native, Chef Garvin has seemingly done it all from writing bestselling cookbooks to hosting successful television shows. As a chef, he has traveled the world from Atlanta to Poland, and prides himself on having worked with some notables along the way.
“Cooking for presidents and having dinner at the White House, cooking with Halle Berry … the highlights have been just the opportunity to work with amazing people,” Garvin says.
It’s a far cry from growing up in a single parent household where he discovered the love of cooking following his mother around the kitchen, but Garvin’s star has shown no indications it will stop rising. We learned more when we sat down with him to discuss food, Atlanta and what’s next on his horizon.
AT: You describe yourself as a serial entrepreneur, what is your favorite part of your business?
Garvin: I’m a producer now. I just finished a nine episode series for Magic Johnson’s network (ASPiRE TV) and I’m working on a new product line in addition to what I already have. I’m excited about being able to combine food and entertainment to continue growing my company while still learning to understand food in a way that is exciting for me.
AT: What do you love about the Atlanta eating scene?
Garvin: When you grew up in Atlanta in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you see what Atlanta has become — an absolute food explosion with great chefs who have taken the Southern region and really put it on the map. There’s just an incredible mix of restaurants that are typically known for Los Angeles, Chicago and New York; and now you have to add Atlanta to that conversation.
AT: What do you think is a must-try restaurant in Atlanta right now?
Garvin: O-Ku for sushi. Sushi is probably my all-time favorite [thing to eat].
AT: If you weren’t a chef, what would your profession be?
Garvin: Being a producer now for TV is pretty exciting to me because not everything is food related; but if I weren’t in the business at all I’d be a firefighter because I believe in the service of helping people. When I was growing up in Atlanta, the firehouse was where we always went after school and hung out and they looked out for us; I’ve never forgotten that.
AT: What legacy would you like to leave behind?
Garvin: Oh that’s easy. I just want to make the world a better place. [I want] better opportunities for African-American chefs, better opportunities for all children and I want my work to be represented not as a celebrity chef, but as one of the first African Americans to have his own primetime cooking show. I want to let people know it’s possible even though it’s difficult. I want my legacy to be hope, courage and excitement.
AT: Tell our readers a little known fact about you.
Garvin: I’m a closet writer. Scripts, stories … currently I’m writing something that may end up being a book of small quotes to the people I love.
AT: What’s next for you?
Garvin: I want to continue growing in the restaurant business, but the biggest thing for me right now is to get more African-American chefs on television. I’m in the business of food and entertainment and still very busy with making sure the integrity of the African-American segment in food is looked out for. I want to continue creating opportunities for the young chefs that may not get that break. AT