Long Bio (click here for short bio)
Chef Marvin Woods is an Emmy Award-nominated television host, chef and author of cookbooks The New Low Country (Harper Collins/William Morrow) and Home Plate Cooking (Thomas Nelson/Hill). Woods is loved by fans and peers alike for his infectious personality and wildly inventive approach to healthy cooking and traditional recipes, as well as his passion to create food rooted in influence from South and Central America, the Caribbean, the southern United States, and parts of Africa. All of these roots lead him to coin the phrase ‘Coastal Soul’ cuisine. His healthy approach to simple, affordable cooking has been regularly featured on television and in publications including Good Morning America, Food and Wine, and O Magazine.
Chef Woods was chosen as the first chef to launch and lead the charge for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! cooking series to help busy families create nutritious and affordable meals. Since the early 2000’s Chef Woods has been traveling internationally, cooking and teaching health-conscious food and lifestyle. At one point he partnered with several public schools in the south along with Sodexho and HMS host to create a program called Droppin’ Knowledge where his coverage ranged from planting gardens and trees to presenting live cooking demonstrations. The focus of the program was on positive ways to reduce childhood obesity and other health related issues in communities. Traveling internationally for appearances and cooking demonstrations, Chef Marvin consistently draws large audiences. He has been a guest featured several times at The James Beard House in New York City, Pillsbury Bake Off in Miami, FL, and as a guest judge in Birmingham, AL, for the nationwide Southern Living Cookoff.
A 20+ year veteran in the hospitality and restaurant industry, Chef Woods began his career at Harrah’s Trump Plaza at Atlantic City, Rockefeller Center, The Sea Grill, Windows on The World, Arizona 206, Café Beulah and Café Orbit. Many times in his early career, Chef Woods worked two jobs putting him on the fast track to excel in his craft. He also has led the helm in kitchens in London, England at The Milestone Hotel, Savannah Restaurant, The National Hotel both in Miami’s infamous South Beach, the Westin Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida and his own name sake restaurant, MWoods in Miami.
When Marvin returned from Europe he took over the Executive Chef position at New York’s Café Beulah, a restaurant featuring Low Country cuisine which won critics’ rave reviews and wide industry acclaim. He then caught the attention of the Food Network and the Publishers of William Morrow, leading to his first cookbook effort, The New Low Country Cooking. The book garnered national attention and the associated book tour featured him on CBS This Morning, Discovery Network, and Lifetime. Publishers Weekly proclaimed, “Woods’ inventiveness makes him a chef to watch!”
In 2000, Marvin caught the attention of executives at Turner South, a Ted Turner newly created national cable network, who were looking for a unique talent who could host a cooking show featuring food from all of the South with a special twist. Marvin was selected to host Home Plate – the perfect vehicle to showcase his charismatic personality and lighter approach on traditional Southern cooking. Home Plate aired for four seasons and attracted more than 7.2 million viewers until the network was acquired by Fox Network in 2006. This show inspired Marvin’s second successful cookbook, Home Plate (Rutledge Hill Press 2004). The book continues to sell on Amazon.com.
In February 2011 Woods was recognized by his alma mater for his fine work and trailblazing ways in the hospitality industry and was given a lifetime achievement award from The Academy of Culinary Arts.
In 2004 Woods started his own business – MAD Flavor – consulting with other businesses on anything food and hospitality. He consults on restaurant projects (all phases) – corporate to independent. He’s cooked as a personal chef to Oprah, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, Alonzo Mourning and Family, PDiddy aka Puffy, aka Love, and many other celebrities, dignitaries, and politicians including President Barack Obama.
Additional accolades include (but not limited to) celebrity appearances on Guy’s Grocery Games, TV One’s My Mama Throws Down, Celebrity Judge at The Pillsbury Bake Off, Oprah Magazine, The Today Show, Good Day, Food Network, Southern Living Cook-Off and Southern Living Magazine, Miami Food & Wine, Charleston Wine & Food, Atlanta Food & Wine and Barbados Food and Wine Festivals, The Bahamas Culinary Summit, among others.
Woods has been a spokesperson for The American Heart Association, The American Stroke Foundation, The National Dairy Council, Char Broil Grills, The American Diabetes Association, CHOICES (Center Helping Obesity in Children Everyday), National PAL, and The Boys & Girls Club of America.
Chef Marvin is currently working on several new books, one being a memoir. He’s also developing a health-conscious line of spices and sauces, and he continues to travel and speak Droppin Knowledge.
Chef Marvin Woods is a beloved Emmy Award-nominated television host, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and author of much lauded cookbooks including Home Plate Cooking, and The New Low Country Cooking. He was part of the team that created the Obamas’ first state dinner, and was later invited back to help spearhead Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Oprah says of Chef Marvin, “His dishes are light, sophisticated, exotic.” Woods grew up in New Jersey and remembers nibbling tomatoes right off the vine in the family garden. His early start as a professional chef was at some of New York’s famed and iconic restaurants including the Sea Grill at 30 Rock. He also “did stints” in Europe, South and Central America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Since 2004, Chef Woods has been leading conversations that illustrate a balanced healthy life through food and diet.