Few chefs have seen as meteoric a rise to national prominence as our own Jose Garces. For many of us who follow this sort of thing, it seems like just a minute ago he was making a name for himself as the man behind the game-changing Amada, introducing a whole generation of Philadelphians to the glories of his unique brand of Spanish food. But a mere few years later, his name is enough to elicit star-struck glimmers and old-school fainting spells among a certain sect of celebrity-chef-attuned fooderati.
Now, in addition to restaurateur, Iron Chef, James Beard Award winner, entrepreneur, farm owner and brand-in-and-of-himself, he can add to his resume: honoree of the Geographical Society, which will be feting Garces at its annual dinner on Sept. 17 at JG Domestic.
It’s a fitting testament to a man who, regardless of all the fame he has achieved, is still focused on the food.
“My travels have shaped the chef I am today,” he writes in an email. “ I believe that you cannot fully appreciate a culture without tasting its food. People tend to generalize Latin American cuisine and place it under a single umbrella, but traveling throughout various parts of the world has helped me understand the nuances and unique characteristics present in the cuisine of each region. Each trip breathes new life into my understanding of Latin American food and helps me to be constantly innovating in my restaurants, coming up with new techniques, new ingredients and new ways to incorporate familiar elements into dishes.”
Fans of Garces’ cooking who attend this dinner will have the opportunity to understand better how he discovered each of his cultural-culinary influences—and the process by which he’s internalized all that they have to offer. The affair, which begins at 6 p.m. and costs $130 for members of the Society and $150 for non-members, will feature dishes from Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, Peru and Mexico. The entire menu looks fantastic, but highlights promise to include quinoa chowder with sweet corn and a black bass ceviche with yuzu. Guests will also received a signed copy of his cookbook Latin Road Home.
It’s a fitting honor for one of our top culinary talents, and yet another feather in a cap chock full of them.
Tues., Sept. 17, 6pm. $130-$150. JG Domestic, Cira Centre, 2929 Arch St. 215.222.2363. jgdomestic.com
PW's Taste of Philly 2014