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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Countdown to the 2019 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival - Interview with Sarah Gavigan

The ninth annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival kicks off on Thursday, May 30 and runs through Sunday, June 2. The acclaimed talent that is set to cook is overwhelming, but we have rounded up a few of the amazing culinary minds to chat with us in a countdown to the BIG event. To kick things off we talked with Nashville chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, Sarah Gavigan of Bar Otaku and Otaku Ramen.

Sarah Gavigan (Photo: Emily Dorio)

Why did you want to get involved with the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival? When I was a mere pop-up ramen shop in 2014 the ATLF&W team invited me to participate and I fell in love with the event.

What events will you be featured? UMAMAI Demo MASTER STUDIO: Kitchen Nightmares SHADES OF ITALY Dinner

Do you like meeting foodies at festivals? Of course! That’s what we live for is meeting foodies.

Is it good to talk to chefs at the festival and swap ideas, or are you a secretive bunch? I am a big idea sharer. I have probably given away a few of my secret ingredients, but I love to share.

What sets Atlanta apart from all other cities, food-wise? It’s a beautiful mixing pot with the hospitality of the South and the soul of a big city.

Any new Atlanta restaurants or chefs on your radar that you're looking forward to checking out? I just want to eat at Staplehouse!

What is the best music to cook to? Different every day - every crew. Impossible to answer that.

Do you stream Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, or classic tapes/cds/vinyls? Music is a huge part of The Otaku Group restaurant experience. We work with music supervisor who creates playlists for each location once a month.

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Right now, I am listening to with Anderson Paak, Big Data, Lazy Boy, Tokimonsta, Toro y Moi, and when I need to get deep I am really into Banks & Steelz; a musical collaboration between Interpol frontman Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA.

Do you have music playing in the kitchen at home and is it different than in the restaurant? I was a music supervisor for over ten years. I was responsible for taking a piece of film and matching the right piece of music to it. So I literally had to listen to every piece of music there is. The delightful side effect of that is that I have very broad taste in music. So its always different in may world.

Finally what's one tip you can give festival goers? Don’t ever be afraid to ask Chef’s questions about cooking - I still do it and learn a lot every time I ask.

For the full lineup, including Learning Experiences, Master Studios, Dinners and Events, visit For those traveling from out of town, the Festival will be headquartered at the Loews Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly and referring to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Room Block. For more information on travel and lodging, visit

About Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Launched in 2010, by Atlanta entrepreneurs Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is a four-day culinary experience dedicated to shining an international spotlight on the rich food and beverage traditions of the South from Texas to the District of Columbia. With an Advisory Council of 71 award-winning talents from 13 Southern states and the District of Columbia, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is one-part conference and one-part party, offering carefully-crafted programs and events to entertain and educate consumers about Southern food and drink.  The Festival also celebrates the flavors of other Southern regions around the globe including Southern Europe, South Africa, South America, Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) and South-of-the-Border for Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Caribbean. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is a member of the IWSC Group North America’s portfolio of events.  Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns to Midtown Atlanta Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2, 2019.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Follow Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter#KnowTheSouth #AFWF19


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