East Village Tavern and Bowl run by San Diego’s own celebrity chef Kevin Roberts
San Diego Chef and TV Personality, Kevin Roberts is a widely recognized expert in American cuisine. He has appeared on Food Network’s Next Food Network Star and is the host of TLC’s reality TV series BBQ Pitmasters. He owns the popular East Village Tavern & Bowl, where wing are his specialty. Their tavern wings come in buffalo, barbecue, teriyaki and the famous tavern style sauce. In late July, they will be hosting their first Buffalo Wing Eating Contest where contestants compete for a variety of prizes.
The Entertainer was given the opportunity to chat with Kevin Roberts himself, and learn more about the San Diego “Food Dude.”
The Entertainer: You have come to dominate the food business with a diverse reach through your several restaurants, TV appearances, cookbooks and radio. What inspired you to enter the food and restaurant industry and become “The Food Dude?”
Kevin Roberts: I’m always moving forward. I was raised by single mom and grandma who taught me that the “Early bird gets the worm.” I’m a workaholic and love doing what I do.
The Entertainer: Your cookbooks Kissing in the Kitchen: Cooking with Passion and Munchies: Cook What You Want, Eat What You Like both make cooking accessible to men and encourage them to take charge in the kitchen. Is this an issue you struggled with before becoming a chef?
Kevin Roberts: I grew up hanging out with friends at our backyard barbecues. We would use food and cooking as a bonding experience and had a lot of fun. My newest cookbook, The Hungry Guy, brings young adults back into the kitchen. It’s coming out later this year.
The Entertainer: What inspired the recipes in Kissing in the Kitchen and Munchies?
In Munchies I talk about eating healthy while in college. Bring romance back to the kitchen. I speak at 30 colleges a year promoting healthy cooking and eating while you’re young. It’s all about enjoying your company and getting back into the kitchen and not living off of fast food. Kissing in the Kitchen brings intimacy back to the kitchen. It’s about relating to somebody through food. Chics love a guy who can cook. Its sexy. It’s a survival type of thing.
The Entertainer: You have many sauces and flavors used in your tavern wings recipe: far-east sauce, atomic sauce (with franks red hot), and your famous tavern sauce. Will there be a mustard flavored wing?
Kevin Roberts: We have mustard wings with homemade honey mustard served with chicken fingers at East Village Tavern and Bowl. I created tavern sauce by mixing the 1964 original Frank’s Red Hot sauce with Cattleman’s BBQ sauce. At home, you can use any kind of sauce you like. I like to keep it simple with bold flavors.
The Entertainer: Tell me about the new tavern wing eating contest you will be hosting at East Village Tavern and Bowl. When will the contest take place? And who can compete?
Kevin Roberts: It will take place July 17 after the Padres vs Giants game at around 5 pm. It’s free and open to the public. We will have some really good prizes for the winners. The tavern wings are the most popular food item at all my restaurants.
The Entertainer: How are those wings cooked?
Kevin Roberts: You boil them in your favorite beer for about 10 minutes, then throw them on the grill to finish. A lot of the fat is boiled out of the wings and grilling keeps the flavors intact. Then cover them in your favorite sauce.
The Entertainer: What projects are you working on next?
Kevin Roberts: I’m opening a new restaurant in NYC and my new book, The Hungry Guy, comes out at the end of this year.
The Entertainer: Good luck with everything and thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
Kevin Roberts: Munch On.
East Village Tavern and Bowl is located on 9th and Market near Petco Park and features flat screen TVs, 12 bowling lanes and a huge dining area open until 2am.
Roberts has appeared numerous times on national TV including the Today Show, CBS The Early Show, Better TV and more. He is a frequent contributor to Sirius/XM Radio and is also the author of two cookbooks, Kissing in the Kitchen: Cooking With Passion and Munchies: Cook What You Want, Eat What You Like. Roberts also speaks at different universities across the US in his College Lecture Tour giving fun facts on healthy eating and sharing recipes with live cooking demonstrations.