Ladies, I think we can all agree that there is nothing sexier than a man who knows his way around the kitchen. I’m talking about a brother who can perfectly sear a tuna loin on both sides, whip up sweet basil gnocchi and blend a pineapple infused martini that will leave you reeling for more. Where can you find such a man you may ask? Right in your living room! Thanks to network television, TV One, allows us to tune in and Turn Up the Heat with critically acclaimed chef, G. Garvin.
Clutch was able to stand the heat in Garvin’s kitchen to bring you an inside look at his love for cooking and his goals for the new year.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in the culinary arts?
As a kid, I grew up in a household with four sisters and a mother who all cooked. It became one of my responsibilities as well. As I grew older, I would go to work with my mom at the Brewer Jewish Home helping her clean and make food delivery rounds after she and others prepared meals.
Later, I would help my mom peel potatoes, carrots and onions, stock and restock dry storage, wash dishes and anything else that would keep me busy. Ironically, I learned my way around the kitchen. When I turned 13, I began working as a part time dishwasher and prep guy at a local restaurant in Atlanta called The Gathering. This is where I developed my love for food.
Q: Is cooking a skill that you grew to love or a love that you perfected into a skill?
I would say that cooking was definitely a skill that I developed at a young age and I grew to not only love it, but also perfect it over the years.
Q: How did your mother and grandmother influence you with cooking?
My mother was a huge influence in my cooking career. I learned the basics watching and helping her prepare meals at the Brewer Jewish Home. More importantly, my mother managed to take care of an entire family based on that skill set.
Q: You blend an element of Hip-hop into your cooking. How has that helped you to relate to your audience?
Blending Hip-hop into my cooking was never my intention to relate to my audience. Hip-hop is just an element and one avenue I use to express myself. I think my audience relates more to me because I love what I do and my personality reflects that.
Q: There aren’t a lot of African Americans in the culinary world. Have you experienced any discrimination entering into the business? And if so, how do you overcome that without losing your cool?
There aren’t many African Americans in the mainstream culinary field, but I do believe because of my efforts from years ago, as well as today, to make a mark in the industry the possibilities and opportunities for us have increased.
Dealing with the issue of discrimination is much like any other less than positive issue. You must realize it for what it is, understand it, make your presence felt and under no circumstance do you allow any one to treat you like a lesser individual. Never let that issue handicap you. You just keep your cool and do your best because you have no choice but to handle it that way.
Q: What keeps you grounded?
My relationship with God keeps me grounded. My family and friends and their genuine belief and support of me in good times and/or bad times keep me grounded. The love I have for my beautiful little girl, Nola, keeps me grounded.
Q: At one point in your career did you step back and say, “I’ve made it!”?
I’m not sure you can ever truly step back and say, “I’ve made it.” You should always continue to achieve more, to do more than you did last month or last year. When you start to believe that you have somehow arrived, I think you lose the love, motivation and ambition to be the best in the culinary field, in any field. There is always someone waiting in the wings to take your place at the top. It’s when you pause to say, “I’ve made it,” that presents the perfect opportunity for he/she to move into your position.
Q: When you’re in your zone, creating a delicious meal, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
I would have to say Musiq Soulchild.
Q: You’re in the kitchen whipping up a delectable bite for your lady love. What’s one of your signature dishes that will have her begging for more?
Ahhh! A true gentleman never kisses and tells.
Q: What is your focus for the new year in terms of career?
My focus in the new year for my career is to continue to choose great opportunities to showcase my talent and build my brand to greater exposure. I have a new cookbook that was just released in February entitled, Make It Super Simple by G. Garvin. I plan to continue to promote that book and bring families together with delicious, healthy ways of eating. I’m also working on a third cookbook that will be out later this year/early next year.
Q: Are there any wonderful additions happening with your show? Will you have any guest features?
This year we will continue taping G. Garvin’s Road Tour where we go to various locations around the country to get a taste of great dishes. We will also tape new episodes of Turn Up The Heat with G. Garvin in which we will most definitely have some of the industry’s most talented guests preparing mouth watering dishes. You’ll have to stay tuned to TV One to find out who stops by my kitchen or who we may run into on the road.
Q: What advice would you give to our readers who are interested in becoming chefs and reaching your level of success?
If you can imagine it, then you can make it real. Work hard. Be strong. Trust in yourself, always be honest and true and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t make it. Expect difficulty and stress, but don’t break under the pressure. Always, keep your heart pure and your head strong and always remember to put God first. Exercise your mind and your muscle . . . and super-size your hustle.
For more information about Chef G. Garvin please log-on to www.chefgarvin.com