Chef Jose Garces. Photo credit: Jason Varney
Iron Chef fans, you may want to keep those peepers on high alert. This week, the Bay Area hosts Iron Chef and James Beard Award-winning Chef Jose Garces, who will be in San Francisco touting his second book, Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru. The book is a "travelogue and literary food memoir" with chapters and recipes from each country. Many of his recipes have ingredients that can be found in, say, your favorite Mission bodega, and Garces gives tips on ingredients for newbies. Garces authored his first cookbook, Latin Evolution, in 2008 and will be at Omnivore Books on Thursday night at 6PM.
His eponymous Garces Group has 15 restaurants in Philadelphia (Amada, Chifa, Tinto, and Distrito), Chicago, Palm Springs, Arizona, and Atlantic City. An American born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Garces started culinary training as a youngster with his paternal grandmother and later graduated from Chicago’s Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. Chef Garces lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children and this year created the Garces Family Foundation, a non-profit to help underserved immigrants.
Bay Area Bites: How did the second book project come about?
Garces: I knew for a long time that I wanted to work on a second cookbook after finishing my first one, Latin Evolution. When I started coming up with recipes that I thought I might want to include in a second book, they all carried with them specific stories about how I learned to make them or made them my own. Those stories took on as much life as the recipes themselves, and it quickly became obvious that my next book should bring them both together and share not only how to prepare certain dishes but also why I love to prepare them and what they mean to me.
Bay Area Bites: Do you have any good stories from the book tour?
Garces: Up to this point everything has been running very smoothly! It was great to be back at my alma mater, Kendall College in Chicago and I had a blast at the Arizona Taco Fest in Scottsdale where Distrito took home a few trophies.