Since opening his first restaurant in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as one of the nation’s leading chefs and restaurateurs. Today, he is the owner and operator of more than a dozen restaurants in five cities. He is the 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only a few chefs in the country to hold the coveted title of Iron Chef. Chef Garces is the author of The Latin Road Home (Lake Isle Press, October 2012), a culinary and cultural tour of Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Peru, and his debut cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, Fall 2008).
An American born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Garces’ culinary training started early in life, in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother, Mamita Amada, where he learned to prepare family recipes and came to love food and cooking. After graduating from Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, Garces worked in top-rated professional kitchens from Spain to New York City before moving to Philadelphia in 2001 to make it his home where he lives today.
Chef Garces’ eponymous Garces Group operates restaurants in Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Scottsdale, AZ; Palm Springs, CA and Atlantic City, NJ. His award-winning concepts range from authentic Andalusian tapas and modern Mexican street food to European bistro fare and artisanal American food and drink. In addition, Chef Garces is the owner of 40-acre Luna Farm in Bucks County, PA, where he and his team grow produce used throughout his East Coast restaurants.
His Philadelphia ventures are each counted among the city’s best: Amada; Tinto; Distrito; Village Whiskey; Garces Trading Company; JG Domestic; Distrito Taco Truck and Garces Catering, a full-service event planning division that designs and executes gatherings ranging from casual business luncheons to formal black-tie weddings. In addition, Chef Garces creates menus for all special events and concessions for the Kimmel Center, Academy of Music and Merriam Theater. In fall 2013, Garces will debut Volver at the Kimmel Center.
In Chicago, Chef Garces is the executive chef of Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, where he works in collaboration with Sage Restaurant Group. In partnership with Atlantic City’s Revel, Garces has opened Amada; Village Whiskey; Distrito Cantina; Yuboka; and Distrito Taco Truck.