My name is George. I’ve worked tirelessly, and successfully, to blend my two biggest passions: food and travel.
Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, I spent the majority of my childhood in the kitchen, helping my mother prepare meals for the whole family—a family that consisted of my parents and three younger siblings.
My mother never worked in a restaurant, but she loved to cook, passing that love on to me at a young age. She taught me everything: how to slice and dice vegetables, how to craft homemade sauces, which spices to use and which ingredients to combine. A garden in the backyard allowed them to source their own produce—something that I carried with me into adulthood.
After graduating from high school, I began taking courses at the Louisiana Culinary Institute before moving to New York to attend the International Culinary Center. The immersive classes I took there deepened my knowledge for cooking and living in Manhattan allowed me to work at some of the hippest restaurants in the country.
During my time at the ICC, I took part in the school’s study abroad experience, splitting my time between New York and Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. A few months in Italy changed the way I cooked, but it also changed the way I viewed the world.
After I’d had my fill of local wine, olive oil and Prosciutto di Parma during the Italian classes, I started working as an apprentice to a local chef, where I developed my techniques, skills and even my knowledge of the Italian language.
Every chance I had to get away for a few days, I would travel to nearby cities, exploring everywhere from Rome and Paris to Berlin and Amsterdam. As I traveled, I was able to taste the treasures each city had to offer, widening both my palette as well as my culinary knowledge.
Once my apprenticeship was complete, I returned to New York, looking to work in one of the city’s fast-paced restaurants, my biggest thrill was creating innovative dishes that hadn’t been done before.
After working in various Manhattan restaurants for nearly 10 years, I was ready for a change and moved out to the West Coast. The Los Angeles food scene was heating up as well, offering me a chance to blend New York’s luxury with California’s flair.
Though I still traveled locally in my spare time, I was growing tired of spending time in restaurants. I often thought back on my time in Europe, but it was hard to get away—the demanding jobs I held required my expertise and experimentation.
After a couple of years in L.A., I planned a one-month trip through Europe. I researched the cities ahead of time, pinpointing which restaurants I wanted to eat at and which dishes I longed to taste. My vacation took me through seven different countries, but at the end, it simply wasn’t enough.
I decided then to quit my job as a chef. I returned to California long enough to get rid of some of my things and packed up the rest, then headed back to Europe.
Ever since, I’ve been traveling, offering tips to chefs in restaurants around the world and tasting as many dishes as I could get my hands on. I now work as a freelance writer for a variety of food, wine and travel magazines, which allows me to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do: travel, cook, eat and live life to the fullest.