This year gave me my first opportunity to judge Iron Chef Jose Garces in Kitchen Stadium. Although I already knew he has always been held in high regard in the culinary world, it was great to experience, first hand, how he combines his superb technical skills with an ability to make seriously delicious food.
I hope I have many more opportunities to sample his dishes again in the future. In the meantime, I caught up with him for a few moments to ask 10 questions about his culinary background and beliefs.
May Madness hits Food Network this spring as Iron Chefs battle it out — one-on-one — in the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions
. With five episodes and a panel of revolving judges, the tournament features high-stakes, bracket-style battles between the best of the best in the culinary world. The tournament begins Sunday, May 5 at 10pm/9c
with a face-off between the two newest Iron Chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian.
Get the full schedule
We can’t fault Jose Garces for choosing one of his own restaurants as a top spot in Philadelphia: The guy has opened seven places there in the past six years. But after living in the city for 11 years, he knows some other great finds, too. Here are his top picks:
Middle Eastern Combo from the Sahara Grill
When Jose is really hungry, he goes to this no-frills Lebanese restaurant. It’s small, he says, but the platters aren’t. The Middle Eastern combo includes hummus, baba ghanoush, marinated carrots and mushrooms, tabouli, eggplant salad, feta and olives. “It’s enough for four people,” he says. $11 for lunch, $12 for dinner; 1334 Walnut St.; 215-985-4155
Jose’s top four places to eat
Chopped All-Stars is back for a second season, and this year’s tournament kicks off with some very heavy hitters. On Sunday night at 9pm/8c, four Iron Chefs will do battle outside their Kitchen Stadium comfort zone. Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces and Michael Symon are all determined to cook their hearts out and take home the win. Of course, only one of them will advance to the final round for a chance to score $50,000 for their charity of choice. Check out our list to see which charity each chef is playing for.
Needless to say, this round should be a nail-biter for judges Scott Conant, Aarón Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian. Who won’t make it past the appetizer round? Which two will go head-to-head on dessert? Tune in to watch four seasoned competitors throw down in the Chopped Kitchen this Sunday at 9pm/8c.
Join the #Chopped conversation on Twitter during Sunday’s episode.
So you’re in Kitchen Stadium, competing against a fierce challenger who is prepared and ready to make five camera-worthy dishes featuring a secret ingredient in just one hour. As an Iron Chef, how would you face the battle? Do you have a go-to signature dish or flavor profile that you’d use? Are you a calm and organized Iron Chef, or do you thrive on impulse and take risks? Would you be sure to stay away from that pesky ice cream machine, or would you embrace its creative possibilities?
Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Masaharu Morimoto, Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Jose Garces, Mario Batali and Cat Cora all welcome the challenges of Kitchen Stadium, but each has his or her own unique style and culinary point of view.
Head over to Food Network’s Facebook page, find The Next Iron Chef tab and take our quiz to answer Which Iron Chef Are You Most Like?
Tune in to The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs on Sunday, October 30 at 9pm/8c to watch 10 all-star chefs battle it out for a spot in Kitchen Stadium and the ultimate culinary title.
Guy Fieri recently met with a couple who have made a hobby out of traveling to all of the places featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. So far, Food Network fans Ben and Barb Stillwagon have been to 249 locations and have created a scrapbook collection of their travels. But it’s their latest stop at Guy’s own Johnny Garlic’s that brought them face-to-face with their inspiration and gave them a chance to share their memorabilia with him. SJ-R.com reports that “Guy asked Ben and Barb if they could leave the albums in Santa Rosa for a while so their souvenirs could be scanned into a computer for possible use in the future.” Ben described the meeting as a dream come true.
Don’t miss these videos »
Duff Goldman will appear with his band, Sand Ox, at the Wing Festival in Buffalo New York Saturday, September 3. The event marks the Buffalo Wing Festival’s 10th birthday celebration. Duff and members of his band will serve as judges in the birthday cake decorating competition. Visit the festival website for details on submitting a cake entry.
Iron Chef Jose Garces will be cooking at the 26th annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival in Pennsylvania on September 10, with a book signing to follow. Chef Garces is the author of Latin Evolution, which features the flavors and cooking styles of Spain and Latin America.
Find out what Bobby and Alton are up to »
Iron Chef Jose Garces will participate in The Great Chefs Event in Philadelphia, Penn. on Tuesday June 14 in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alex Scott, a young girl with a childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, founded the organization. Every year she opened a lemonade stand in front of her home with the proceeds going to benefit pediatric cancer research. Alex inspired people from all over the world, motivating them to hold their own lemonade stands and donate to her cause. In August of 2004 at the age of 8, Alex passed away knowing she had helped raise over $1 million dollars to help find a cure for the disease that took her life. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $40 million towards fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure by funding over 150 research projects nationally. If you would like to attend the event featuring Chef Garces visit: The Great Chefs Event.
Chef Marcela Valladolid stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon late last week to whip up recipes perfect for the warm summer weather. Marcela taught Jimmy the fine art of sipping tequila and guided him through the steps of making a Mexican style burger. Watch the video clip: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Read more »
- Chef Jose Garces's winning moment on Season 2 of The Next Iron Chef
Chef Jose Garces won Season 2 of The Next Iron Chef, and this Sunday he’ll join the judges’ panel to critique the efforts of our current rivals. We caught up with the newest Iron Chef about being in the rivals’ shoes just one year ago and what he’s been up to since his big win.
Read more »
Jose Garces has a big Iron Chef America battle coming up Sunday night, but he’s already a winner in my book. Our newest Iron Chef hails from Philadelphia—a city I love dearly (I went to college there). Garces opened his first restaurant, Amada, in Old City just a few months before I graduated, but it quickly became one of my favorite spots. His mini-empire has proliferated since, with restaurants all over Philly and one in Chicago.
Just a couple of months ago, he opened up a new gourmet market/cafe called Garces Trading Company, and he’s got more ventures in the works. You may have seen him this week on Nightline, talking about Cinco de Mayo and his Latin roots. With all this plus his Next Iron Chef win last fall, I’d say Garces has experienced a pretty successful five years.
On a recent trip back to Philly, I was psyched to lunch at one of his latest ventures, Village Whiskey. While all of Garces’s other restaurants are Latin-inspired (Amada does tapas, Distrito is Mexican, Chifa has Peruvian influences…), Village Whiskey is unapologetically American. Think burgers. Pulled pork sandwiches. Lobster rolls. Chicken-fried steak.
Inside, the narrow space has a speakeasy feel, with white-tiled walls, dark leather banquettes and wooden fans spinning overhead. Obviously, there’s a long list of bourbon and Scotch. But we came for the food. Specifically, for the burger—the Philadelphia Inquirer has called it the city’s best.
Read more »