In the next two episodes of the second season of “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on the Cooking Channel, the star of the series, former L.A. chef G. (Gerry) Garvin (Reign, Kass Bah, Morton’s and his own G. Garvin’s) will be showing off a handful of Los Angeles area restaurants with Southern roots or accents.
Actually, Garvin is not quite sure about the adjective “former.” True, he did go back to Atlanta a year and a half ago, and he does have a restaurant, Low Country Cooking by G. Garvin, at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport there. But he’s not admitting that he’s really moved, at least not yet.
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said.
The first season of his “Road Trip” series took him across the South. This season, he’s traveling the country looking into Southern-inspired dishes and great little venues.
In Episode 1, he visits the Original Farmers Market and stops by the Gumbo Pot. Next, he heads to Neal Fraser’s Fritzi Dog and then to Berri’s Pizza on West 3rd Street, next door to his former restaurant, G. Garvin’s. What’s Southern about pizza? Berri’s BBQ Chicken Pizza. He’s got to get some barbecue in too -- in this case from Woody’s Bar-B-Que in Inglewood.
He said he picked places that had “the combination of something about food, something about the place and something about the person.”
In the second episode, airing July 23, the Serving Spoon in Inglewood fits right into that concept.
“I had a thousand people saying we had to go,” Garvin said. “It’s a little spot, been there 25 to 30 years. Family-owned and operated, it was started by the grandfather. Every celebrity in L.A. has been there for their all-day breakfast. Popular dishes are the salmon croquettes, blackened snapper and cheddar cheese grits.”
Another place he said he discovered is Feed Body & Soul in Venice. “It’s a new concept,” the ebullient chef said, “healthy food, some of it Southern-inspired. They cook everything -- vegetables, chicken, salmon, pork, bison -- on a rotisserie imported from Italy. And I’ve never been to a bar that serves only liquor with no cane sugar in it.”
If you’re wondering how G. Garvin became a chef, I can tell you:
As a teen growing up in Atlanta, he was accepted into a Ritz-Carlton summer program. Instead of going to cooking school, he worked his way through the Ritz-Carlton organization and, in 1988, came out to Palm Springs to open the restaurant in the company’s then-new hotel there.
That’s how he ended up in California. The TV show? It was never his dream, but came true just the same.
[This post was updated July 15, 2013 at 3:34 p.m. An earlier version of the post incorrectly stated that the second season of “Road Trip with G. Garvin” begins Tuesday.]