In this week's Chef Chat we've been getting to know Chef Jose Garces of Distrito in Old Town Scottsdale.
Located at The Saguaro Hotel, Distrito bears the same name as Garces' restaurant in Philadelphia, although he says this location will cater more specifically to the Scottsdale community. The restauraunt offers a "vibrant celebration of the culture and cuisine of Mexico City," and "featur[es] interactive decor and an expansive menu of Chef Garces' famed small plates."
Yesterday, Garces shared how his grandmother's influence and presence in the kitchen helped inspire him, and today we'll talk about what family traditions he still carries on.
Is there any other type of cuisine beside Latin that you'd like to explore?
I'm constantly finding new and exciting cuisines I want to know more about. At the moment, I'm really into exploring all of the different expressions of Latin cuisine that are here in America. There are so many interesting regional specialties, and I want to try them all! I was also inspired by my trip to Japan during The Next Iron Chef, and I'm getting into sausages; they're an important food for so many cultures, and my team and I have been grinding out own burger meat, so grinding sausages is a logical (and fun!) next step.
Did you ever imagine that becoming a chef would catapult you to such stardom?
I have been incredibly lucky in my career, and in a word, no - I never imagined my life would take the path that it has. I just knew that I would work hard to be successful, and I've had the good fortune to reap the benefits of my hard work in surprising and unexpected ways.
Who cooks for the holidays in your family? What culinary or food related traditions are the most special to you?
Thanksgiving is a very special meal in our house - it's a time to gather our entire family and spend the day celebrating each other. Cooking is a group effort, and even my kids get involved. Some recipes are classics, like my mother's mashed potatoes, and others are reinterpretations of them, like the potato gratin that I prepare with Spanish cheeses.
How do you balance the demands of running your many restaurants with spending time with your family?
I have always maintained that a chef can only be in one kitchen at a time, so in order to run more than one restaurant, you need a team of talented, dedicated, like-minded professionals to support you. I have built an amazing network of people who treat my guests as I would treat them when I can't be there, and that network allows me to branch out into other things - and to spend time with my wife and children.
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Can you give us a secret people might not know about you? And I already found out about the high school wrestling so that doesn't count...
I practice Vinyasa yoga twice a week.
Tomorrow we'll bring you Chef Garces' recipe for esquites, a traditional Mexican corn dish.