Edible TV

Interview with Food Network Star’s JAG

Originally published in 2009.

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Those of us who have watched Next Food Network Star the past few years have long lamented the disappointing finale of season 3. JAG (Joshua Adam Garcia) was sure to be a runaway star, much in the mold of Guy Fieri who won season 2. Well, that didn’t happen but all who watched NFNS 3 knew that JAG was far too talented not to be a cheflebrity.

Joshua Adam Garcia AKA-JAGFood Network’s loss is Tampa’s gain as JAG is heading up the kitchen at POSH 27, an exciting new restaurant and night club opening later this year in the Cigar City. Chef JAG was kind enough to give Edible TV a few minutes of his time via e-mail and here’s what he had to say:

The menu at Posh 27 appears to take flavors from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Was this planned or did it just evolve?

This was definitely planned out to showcase a hot new culinary style all on its own. My Latino Fusionè will be tasted in every culinary aspect of Posh 27.

What dishes on the menu are you most proud of? Which ones most accurately proclaim, “This is JAG?”

It would be unfair to the other dishes to proclaim “This is JAG” or that is not JAG enough! LOL… I stand behind every crumb laden morsel and cannot decide or discriminate towards which dish best represents myself or my cuisine. The whole damn menu is all JAG’ed up!

What is the scope of your influence over the operations of Posh 27?

I am currently the Corporate Executive chef and culinary mind of Posh 27’s restaurant concept.

One of the stated goals of Posh 27 is to seamlessly transition from restaurant to nightlife. What exactly does this mean? How is this accomplished?

That is our little secret… All I will say is that the changing of the lighting and ambiance alone will reveal an atmosphere specifically designed to tantalize your senses.

JAG, you remain one of the most popular contestants in the history of Next Food Network Star. How has that popularity translated into your post NFNS career?

Well… Lord knows I don’t see myself as Mr. Popularity but God has definitely blessed me with a loyal post-Food Network following and the much deserved opportunity to showcase my cuisine; for that alone, I am humbled and truly grateful.

With a name like Posh 27 and a celebrity chef manning the kitchen is it safe to say that the restaurant will be a “place to see and be seen?”

I would say so… You be the judge… If I were you, Stuart, I’d start making some plans to be in Tampa Bay surrendering your senses to the hottest combination of Dining and Nightlife to hit the restaurant scene since Emeril went green! To answer your question… YES! It will most definitely will be!

Is there an opening date yet for Posh 27 Tampa?

Our current opening projection is scheduled for the summer of 2009.

Now the segment that should have won JAG season three of Food Network Star:

Diary of a Wannabe TV Chef Part 9

This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career,” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most important elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.

I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night

So now I’m Stuart the food “journalist,” the food “critic.” And life is good, my friends. My editors love the style I have evolved of doing a paragraph or two about five or six restaurants in a given genre rather than the more familiar method of one article dedicated to a single establishment. Sure, part of the reason this has developed into my “style” is so that I get to eat at five or ten restaurants on any given assignment but also because I have a lot to say.

At the same time I begin writing for Current Publications I also start blogging for the foodie site Well Fed Network. Rather than being just one site WFN is exactly what it’s name implies, a network, or more aptly a syndicate. Several food related virtual magazines each focusing on different elements of food. I become a writer for Cook Smarter doing product reviews, Well Fed On The Town offering restaurant reviews and the two blogs I still contribute to Paper Palate (reviews and articles about food publications) and Edible TV (dedicated to TV chefs).

With this modicum of fame comes a few perks. Like being invited to the opening of Mobile’s first wine bar aptly named The Wine Loft. I am quickly ushered to meet the owners, the manager, the chef. I am treated to glasses of wine, plates of exquisite cheeses and various other sundry hors devours. It’s like being in a different world, Mobile is not a town where restaurants open with any fanfare so a gala like this is rare. Not only do I get good articles for both Current and WFN, but I also establish a relationship with an eatery that will play a reoccurring role in my pursuit of being a TV chef.

I meet so-and-so, who is a photographer for the society section of the newspaper that owns the rags I write for and he helps me navigate my first media event. I then meet what’s-her-name, who is the late-night weekend anchor for one of the local TV stations. That-guy-over-there is a city councilman. And I meet Wade.

Wade is working as a server to earn a little extra cash and to network the influential guests. As it turns out, he is the producer for an upstart local production company. They produce two regular TV programs and have been looking to expand their résumé with a cooking show. Cards are exchanged and a tentative meeting is set-up.

From the set-back of being laid off from my sous chef/kitchen manger job to being a food writer who is setting up a meeting with a production company is roughly five months. And it has been just four years since beginning this quest. This is merely the first big thrill on this roller coaster; there are plenty more twists and turns before the ride finishes.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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