Chef Gavin Smith

"Gavin Smith," water-based ink. —Richard Limber

Edible grilled Gavin Smith, 35, aka The Food Minded Fellow, a personal chef, fisherman, gardener, writer, and husband. Among other things. 

How’d you get to MV? 

The abridged version is that after eloping with my wife Angela in 2013, we came to the Vineyard for a few days and decided to stay. 

What was your first cooking job? And the one after that?

When I was 13, I got a job frying French fries at the state fair where I lived in upstate New York. After Angela and I moved to Atlanta, I managed a huge restaurant. I worked seven days some weeks. For fun, Angela and I started a supper club with friends at our home. That’s where I fell in love with cooking, and the experience of creating for people in a smaller setting.

Is that why you’re a personal chef, instead of a caterer or restaurant chef?

I like to make custom meals for people, in their homes. I wanted to work seasonally and locally, and that’s easier on a smaller scale in homes, rather than in restaurants or catering services. And I like the interaction with clients. 

Shortest time between catching a fish and eating it?

Twenty minutes. 

You have one ingredient to add to fish. What would it be?


Five ingredients/things you always carry with you to a client’s house.

Good salt, fresh herbs, olive oil, knives. 

Favorite season on the Island? 

I love early fall. I’m not as busy as mid-summer, things are still open, fresh greens are abundant, fishing the Derby — all of it. 

What do you cook for your wife?

We eat a lot of greens and protein. She loves MVM mushrooms as much as I do, so those get cooked a lot.

Playlist while you cook at home?

Big variety. My parents started me in Suzuki violin at age 2; I play several instruments to this day. I like things with a good backbeat that keeps things moving. I just appreciate good musicianship. If not music, podcasts. 

How many feet of counter space in your home kitchen? 

Not many. I did recently install butcher block countertop that I was able to refurbish. That greatly extends our counter space. We live small, and it works for us. 

Last cookbook you consulted?

Room for Dessert by Will Goldfarb.

Wisdom you’ve learned from a client?

My first client told me not to undervalue myself. I worked so hard, he took me aside after a weekend of cooking for his family. He told me I did far too much for what I had charged. He was very kind, thankful and encouraging.