Summer is around the corner and Nashville’s food scene continues to heat up with the arrival of Executive Chef Gavin Pera. Bringing over 10 years of culinary experience from the Sunshine State, Pera, and his creative culinary flair, is an exciting addition to the seasoned team at Loews Vanderbilt.

After starting cooking at the tender age of 15, Pera began his culinary journey with barbecue joints and mom and pop restaurants before transitioning to the hotel industry, with posts at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale and The Don CeSar.

Come along as we get to know Loews Vanderbilt’s new Executive Chef, Gavin Pera:

What do you love most about Nashville so far?

I love how you can be in a big city and then, after just 15 minutes on the highway, you can be surrounded by countryside. Also, southern hospitality is so alive and well here. Everyone I meet is so nice all the time.

Are there any culinary trends back home which especially inspired you?

In South Florida, there is a lot of Latin and Caribbean influence so I enjoy those flavors a lot. I also hope Nashville has an appetite for seafood because it is one of my favorite things to cook.

Would you say Latin and Caribbean are your favorite cuisines?

That’s a trick question! I like well-executed food and tend not to focus on any one specific cuisine.

You mentioned a passion for seafood. Why do you enjoy cooking it?

Because seafood is so delicate, it’s an art to cook it properly. There is also something about the perishability that makes it especially fun to work with.

Of all the food trends out there, what’s your favorite?

While I think the term “farm-to-table” is the most overused phrase in hospitality, I love how highlighting local products is so common these days. I appreciate how people want to know where their food is coming from.

What would you choose for your last meal?

The tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park.

What is your favorite music to play in the kitchen? 

Another trick question! I say no music in the kitchen, but if I did play anything, it would be rock and roll.

What is your drink of choice?

In no particular order, craft beer (I’ve recently been turned on to Yazoo’s Gerst Amber), Woodford Reserve bourbon.

Finally, what do you credit for your success as a chef?

I truly believe I am here because I was fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented chefs in the world. I have learned so much in my career and love how the culinary world never stops teaching you. The biggest responsibility of a chef is to pass that opportunity to those culinarians working alongside you every single day.

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