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Chef G and giving for a greater good

Used with the permission of and
Chef "G" Garvin's community, media, and interrelated projects cover the culinary arts and more. Check them out!

Doing something for the greater good.

It is a phrase that we hear from time to time. Likewise, it's a concept that a number of people understand in that the work that you do it not solely for yourself, but more for the immediate and surrounding communities and populations you are able to reach, empower, and simply make them feel better so they can be a similar sort of resource for their communities.

A consistent effort in doing so can truly make a difference, along with using the platform one has access to in order to share the message. Doing so can result in a positive impact on many.

One of the more notable celebrity chefs, restauranteurs, and TV personalities not only understands this concept, but with the work and partnerships established, is making it happen. During my 25 minute conversation with Chef Gerry "G" Garvin, I am able to find out more about what he is doing, along with what he is planning in making an impact that is meaningful and long-lasting.

The first partnership the Atlanta-based Chef G shares with me is his work with Allstate Insurance's "Give It Up For Good" campaign. With a year-round focus and spotlight on individuals and entities and their remarkable stories of good, ranging from good deeds, community involvement, grounded in a theme of simply giving back to their communities, unsung local heroes and their causes are able to garner the positive attention and encouragement needed.

"It provides a focus on overlooked pieces, as well as showing balance between what is normally reported", notes Garvin.

As an extension of this year-round focus, Garvin is working with the Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend in further sharing aforementioned stories of impact, along with recognition of people whose efforts are focused on sincerely doing some good in their neighborhoods and communities. As Garvin notes, "There are good things that happen year-round; this is a way to better tell and share their stories".

The partnership is more than just doing something for the sake of doing so. Service is truly a part of Garvin's professional and community journey. This is truly evident as he shares his process behind the creation and workings of his nonprofit, the One Bite Foundation.

Through the lens of the culinary arts, areas of concern related to child obesity, domestic violence, homelessness, and hunger are addressed. As Garvin notes, "Nobody show go hungry. Likewise, these are areas of concern to me, and I want to do my part in doing something constructive about it".

Through the foundation's partnerships and programs, families in need are able to gain the food support needed via food drives, donations, and other related programs. An additional component of the foundation is the Chef G. Garvin Culinary Bootcamp.

"The focus of the bootcamp is to provide exposure and opportunity to young people (considered at-risk), as well as encouraging interest in the broader field of culinary arts", emphasizes Garvin. The camp is a 7-day experience which provides young people with a series of workshops and hands-on learning covering a wide-range of skill sets and options. Atlanta is currently the primary market for the camp, but Garvin plans on gradually expanding it to other markets. Combined with partnerships and support from the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods, Kraft, and Allstate (among others), the all-inclusive camp (which costs approximately $4000 per student) can be fully paid for.

"With the help of our sponsors and others, we are able to take care of everything for the young people who are part of the camp; this includes their accommodations and meals", adds Garvin.

You would figure this keeps Garvin active and engaged enough with the partnerships and work with his foundation. However, as of July 15th, he adds another platform which is a combination of fun and giving back.

How did it start? Surprisingly, in the form of a (you guessed it) phone call.

"I received a call from Michael Webber (after doing a segment of the Road Trip with G. Garvin on the Cooking Network). He shared his concept behind his new show (as of July 15th on the Travel Channel, Underground BBQ Challenge). I am able to fly to Chicago to do the taping, and it's a very creative way to spotlight some local favorites and traditions".

The concept behind the show has local grillers from two different neighborhoods to create a meat (BBQ) for approximately 70-80 people. Part of their challenge on the hour-long show includes the initial ingredient they have to incorporate (from Chef Garvin) at the beginning of the process, and then having to incorporate a wild card ingredient at the latter part of the process. The winner (decided on by Garvin and local judges) not only walks away with bragging rights, but a $10,000 award.

All of the projects, partnerships, and work with his foundation extend from his upbringing, including his initial exposure to the culinary arts.

Garvin shares, "I came from a single-parent family household. It is at the age of 16 my experience at The Old Vinings Inn (as a 16 year old) caught my eye regarding the culinary arts. My experience with the food (French food-based) and the experience draws me in".

From that experience, to working at Atlanta-based hotels (and others) such as the Ritz-Carlton (as a 17 year old) to taking time to work at multiple hotels and learning on the job under multiple chefs, Garvin hones his skills. As a result, it leads to more opportunities in the culinary world, including the work he is doing today.

"My journey (may be unconventional)...shows you can still get the job done", concludes Garvin.

Given the work he is and plans on doing, he surely is doing his part in getting it done for a greater good.

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