2017 Talent

Sarah Gavigan

Creator of OTAKU SOUTH

Sarah Gavigan’s career as a chef and restaurateur began after returning home to Tennessee following 17 years in Los Angeles in the film and music industry. Without a source in Nashville for the Japanese soul food she had grown to love, Gavigan taught herself the craft of creating ramen with zero experience in a professional kitchen.

In the summer of 2013, Gavigan launched Otaku South, a ramen pop-up shop which quickly achieved widespread popularity in Nashville. Gavigan then seized an invaluable opportunity and headed to New York to train with renowned ramen master Shige Nakamura of Sun Noodle. In May 2014, she established POP Nashville, a pop-up and event space that also became a temporary home for Otaku South. At POP, Gavigan welcomes a diverse mix of chefs, cultures and cuisines into the space, aiming to tell stories through food, art, and music. Through her guest chef series [City] Meets Nashville and her annual Xtra Large Ramen Festival, Gavigan brings world-renowned chefs and ramen masters to cook in Nashville on a regular basis.

In June 2015, Gavigan opened Little Octopus, the current restaurant in residence at POP, with executive chef Daniel Herget. The vegetable-driven menu features clean, fresh, and vibrant dishes—food you crave that you can also feel good about eating every day. In fall 2015, Gavigan and her husband Brad, will open Otaku Ramen in The Gulch neighborhood, their first brick and mortar restaurant and Nashville’s first dedicated ramen shop.