Arvin was portrayed on the show as the boisterous, Kentucky-homespun, avid UK Wildcat fan on the show, but in real life he’s a humble family man who said he’s grateful for his success on the show but it was just his personality woven in with a bunch of lines written by the producers.
There was some reality to his character shown on TV — he is a UK fan — but his real passion is for his family and cooking.
During the impromptu visit, Arvin spent time in York’s class sharing his life story, from growing up in Wilmore all the way to Hollywood — he even shared some trade secrets of the TV business along with some interesting cooking tips.
The culinary celebrity told the class what was most important in life was to follow their dreams and that it doesn’t matter where someone comes from to become successful.
“The household I grew up in wasn’t an easy one,” Arvin said. “But my mother always cooked as a way to get the family together and show us she loved us — so maybe that’s where I get it from.”
On Sept. 7, Arvin was booted from the Big Brother; he said he welcomed the change.
“The hardest part was being away from my family,” he said. “In the beginning, the whole house was literally closed off from the entire world — no newspapers, no TV, nothing, but I was very blessed to do what I love and be on the show.”
The TV show gave a shot in the arm to Arvin’s career and has given him the world to cater to with his food, he said.
“I mean 7 million viewers, 27 countries — it spring-launched my career, and I’m so grateful for that, now I have my book and other things in the works,” he said.
York’s class was enthralled with many aspects of the show but they also wanted to know about cooking, and Arvin was happy to share his personal taste.
“It’s all about fresh, fresh over dry; you cannot beat fresh meats, spices or vegetables,” he said. “Nothing tastes as good as the natural flavor of something, which is also why you should never bury the flavor in sauces and spices — simple is best.
“If it’s a quality meat, then sear the outsides, lock in the flavor, and that will be better than covering it in anything else.”
Salts and spices are what Arvin said he is currently experimenting with in his own home, but he warned the class to tread with caution.
After speaking with the class, Arvin signed free pictures and stopped by Nicholasville’s JD Legends later that night to sign autographs and talking to fans.
“It was really great to have him here for the class and openly talk about his past and how difficult his family life was,” York said. “I think many of the students were encouraged by his back story and how that even with the smallest beginnings you can do great things in the kitchen and in life.”