Vanessa Gonzalez, co-owner and a chef at Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry, was interviewed last week about the restaurant for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel show, “Food Paradise.”

Vanessa Gonzalez, co-owner and a chef at Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry, was interviewed last week about the restaurant for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel show, “Food Paradise.”

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant with international flavors chosen for Travel Channel show

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 6, 2018

 From left, director of photography Brandon Benning and gaffer Tracy Mailloux shoot footage of one of the special dishes on the menu at Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry in Grosse Pointe Woods for an upcoming episode of “Food Paradise” on the Travel Channel.

From left, director of photography Brandon Benning and gaffer Tracy Mailloux shoot footage of one of the special dishes on the menu at Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry in Grosse Pointe Woods for an upcoming episode of “Food Paradise” on the Travel Channel.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

 Director Renato Moore gives a cue to a Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry diner as a crew films footage at the Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel show, “Food Paradise.”

Director Renato Moore gives a cue to a Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry diner as a crew films footage at the Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel show, “Food Paradise.”

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Audiences around the world will soon be finding out why a local restaurant has become a hot destination for diners.

Garrido’s Bistro & Pastry on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods was selected for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel show, “Food Paradise.” A crew was on-site Feb. 28 to shoot footage of food preparation and diners enjoying cuisine at the restaurant, which is owned by spouses Vanessa Gonzalez and Christopher Garrido.

“My husband and I were Venezuelan, so there’s a lot of that influence and those flavors,” Gonzalez said. “But we didn’t want to limit the menu. We do a lot of seafood — that’s our specialty. … (The menu) is very eclectic.”

They also serve pasta, a beef stroganoff recipe that hearkens to Garrido’s German and Ukrainian grandparents, dishes from Peru and Brazil, and sandwiches called “arepas,” which Gonzalez explained are named for the Venezuelan round corn flatbread on which they’re served.

Gonzalez met her husband in engineering school, but both have had a lifelong interest in cooking. Garrido’s parents are both chefs, and they founded the High Training Educational Institute, the most prestigious culinary school in Venezuela. Garrido and Gonzalez both ended up training at HTEI.

“I went for my passion,” Gonzalez said of pursuing a career in the restaurant industry instead of computer science engineering, for which she earned a degree alongside one in the culinary arts.

She and her husband ran their own restaurant in Venezuela, but ended up in the Grosse Pointes because of a family connection: Garrido’s sister, Kathy Garrido, moved there because her husband grew up in Grosse Pointe Park.

“We fell in love with the Pointes,” said Gonzalez of herself and her husband, who initially moved to Grosse Pointe Park about four years ago, but now live in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Growing up, Gonzalez fondly recalls the Spanish dishes prepared by her mother, Adela, who hails from the city of Galicia. She also admired the culinary skills of her older sister, Susy.

“I was so blessed to have some great cooks in my family,” Gonzalez said.

She said she was surprised but delighted when they were contacted about being selected for the show by producers for “Food Paradise.”

Director Renato Moore said Garrido’s was an easy choice for “Food Paradise.”

“We came here because this is a Venezuelan restaurant that has an American flair,” he said. “(Gonzalez) is an amazing chef, and she’s female.”

Although cooking has traditionally been a role occupied by women, chefs are still largely male.

The varied menu was a draw as well. Besides an array of dishes, Garrido’s offers its own tea blends and grows fresh herbs for its dishes.

“We’re always looking for unique restaurants,” Moore said.

Tracy Mailloux, a gaffer on the Garrido’s shoot, said that “Food Paradise” is a hit with audiences. Each episode features about two or three different restaurants and hinges on a particular theme, but Moore said the theme is kept top-secret until the show is broadcast.

“When it airs, each restaurant sees an influx (of customers),” Mailloux said. He said that’s true even of repeats.

The film crew was in Michigan for the week shooting segments for different episodes at several eateries, including Cloverleaf Bar and Restaurant in Eastpointe and Bobcat Bonnie’s, which has locations in Detroit and Wyandotte. Moore said the Michigan restaurants likely won’t end up on the same episode because of the thematic aspect of “Food Paradise.”

While the cuisine might span the globe, the artwork on the walls is all local. Gonzalez said she and her husband featured Venezuelan artworks at their restaurant there, but here in Michigan, she didn’t have contacts in the art community. Enter artist and art educator Deborah Maiale, of Grosse Pointe Woods. Maiale offered to curate one-person shows by local artists, which she’s been doing for about the last 2 1/2 years.

“It needs to be thematic,” Maiale said she tells the artists, with whom she works to assemble the monthly shows. “It’s extremely rare for restaurants to even have original art, and (even rarer) for them to have work by local professional artists.”

Gonzalez is happy to be able to showcase local artists, whose work is also available for purchase.

“(Maiale’s) done a wonderful job making sure we have nice quality (artworks) for everyone’s enjoyment,” Gonzalez said. “It’s fun for people who might not walk into a gallery” to encounter the art in the restaurant.

Gonzalez said Garrido’s will celebrate its third anniversary this spring.

“Food Paradise” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on the Travel Channel. At press time, an airdate for the episode featuring Garrido’s hadn’t been set yet.