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Chef G. Garvin

Chef G. Garvin’s culinary expertise is a win for State Farm Arena!

Chef G. Garvin

If you’ve visited State Farm Arena recently, you may have noticed new food options for concertgoers and basketball fans. Chef Gerry “G.” Garvin came onboard as chief culinary officer in late fall 2023 and hasn’t looked back. “Food is my life,” he says.

A James Beard Award nominee, cookbook author, TV personality, and founder of LowCountry Steak in Midtown, Garvin started his career as the youngest cook at the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta and worked his way through fine dining restaurants including Morton’s, Pricci and Veni Vidi Vici. At his now-defunct eponymous spot in Los Angeles, he hosted celebrities such as Halle Berry and President Bill Clinton. Today, he creates culinary shows such as “City Eats” on Aspire TV and judges “Grocery Games” on the Food Network with Guy Fieri.

At State Farm Arena, Garvin oversees the food from concessions to club level to suites—and even prepares meals for the Hawks players at times. We spoke to him to learn more.

What attracted you to this role?

The ability to work with the iconic brands—State Farm, the Hawks and Levy Restaurants—traditionally known for an elite level of excellence in hospitality. I did an activation last year with State Farm and BMW and met some folks looking for something new. They wanted to take a good existing program and partner with someone who could make it great. Everything I’ve done in my career has been around hospitality and food. Being a Georgia boy through and through, it made a lot of sense.

What changes have you made to the culinary program?

I’ve been getting in there and listening to the fans and the internal team, trying to understand the scope of what it takes to feed so many folks successfully, working with leadership to incorporate enough vegan options and traditional Atlanta options, and speaking with local chefs to identify signature Georgia dishes we can implement.

What new dishes can people expect?

Quinoa jambalaya, tabouleh, couscous, vegan pastas, rosemary lime chicken breast, brick chicken, warm clay pot chicken. I’m working to make sure we have an elite culinary program throughout the arena.

Tell me about your philanthropies.

I grew up with a single mother with five kids in Buckhead. Trouble was easily accessible. Food didn’t change my life, it saved it. Now I enjoy giving back to the culinary community. I highlight minority- and black-owned businesses by selling their products in my steakhouse. I consult for startups and do culinary mentorships. Every July, I host a weeklong culinary boot camp where we teach food and labor costs, recipe development, and how to use a knife and fork— everything around what it means to be a real chef. Every Thanksgiving, we give away 300 turkeys and bags of groceries for families in need. It’s about supporting people who don’t have the means.

How do you balance it all?

I’m very selective. I start my day at 5:45 a.m. and don’t allow anything that’s not positive, productive and forward moving. Nothing functions without my family. I’m at every soccer game for my son (age 10), and train him one-on-one. I talk to my daughter (who is at college) twice a week. When I’m not working, I have dinner with my wife and son.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy quiet time, do a lot of meditation, take drives and love classic movies. I’m a closet writer. I’ve written seven books [five have been published]. I’m a motorcycle rider. I was a speed demon in my 20s and want to get a Harley soon. Motorcycles are my free space.


PHOTO: Erik Meadows

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