Today kicks off the third season of Road Trip with G. Garvin on Cooking Channel. This culinary adventure is guided by the fun-loving, big personality of Atlanta native G. Garvin. We caught up with him after his road trip to see what makes season three different and what it is like behind the scenes of his show. Pit stops this season stretched along the East Coast from New York City and Connecticut down to Miami.
As a native to Atlanta, what do you think of how the food scene has evolved?
One word: explosion. I think it’s phenomenal. It’s unfortunate there aren’t enough things to do beyond that because people who live here are financially stable, food savvy and more culturally rounded. I can’t wait until the city evolves into art galleries and museums, similar to Chicago or Los Angeles.
You got your culinary start here in Atlanta. What was your first gig?
I grew up in Buckhead off Howell Mill Road. When I was nine years old, I worked for Pano Karatassos. I literally used to break down boxes outside Pano’s and Paul’s.
And then years later, you went on to become the Sous Chef at Veni Vidi Vici. What did you learn from Karatassos and Buckhead Life Restaurant Group?
It was funny, because Karatassos didn’t remember my beginnings. Working for him gave me an understanding of how restaurants are run because each restaurant operates specifically and diligently. He takes the time to train all his chefs in specific cuisines.
What is your “elevator pitch” for season 3? What can we expect that is different from past seasons?
This is the ultimate foodie road trip. We wanted to open it up to great people and increase the culinary intelligence of the viewer. We really set a new level for where people should go when they travel and delve into the food scene as a whole. That’s my elevator pitch going to the 21st floor.
You’ve found hot new places that serve up phenomenal food, and some that are off the grid. What was one of your most interesting finds?
In Hawaii we went to a house on the side of the road. It was literally a woman and her kid. They cook and serve from the living room of their home and they sleep in the back. And that food was amazing.
Walk us through what a typical shoot day is for you on-set.
After producers have scouted out and approved the location, I show up and the shoot is tedious. I do a walk-through with the talent so that I can make them comfortable. If they’re nervous we’ll take a walk around the block, or I’ll give them a hug. I want them to realize it’s not that serious. When we’re shooting I try to be a student. Even if I know the answer, I ask the question so my viewers understand.
Do you find many of the chefs get nervous being on-camera?
I’m a chef first so I understand them. I tell them to teach me like it’s my first day and they are training me. I think about the restaurant and who the chef is, and I work out the best way to talk with them based on their personality.
You have a great on-camera presence. Do you have any professional training?
You know, I don’t. I do my homework though, watching people like Jay Leno and Larry King to see how they deliver to the camera. I am always working on it and I want to get better. For instance I changed my greeting “It’s your man G. Garvin” because I felt too old for that. Now I say, “Hey, I’m G. Garvin.”
So where in Atlanta is the most unlikely place to find you?
Besides the gym? I gotta tell you one of my favorite places is The One Sushi + in Brookhaven. It’s a hidden neighborhood spot, and family-oriented so I can take my children.
For more about G. Garvin, check out Access Atlanta’s video from last year on “3 Questions with G. Garvin.”