Sure, maybe now is not the time to discuss a man with a handful of Philly restaurants when indoor dining at Philly restaurants is set to shut down for six weeks. But, Chef Jose Garces is a resilient man, a man who has been through Heaven (he’s an Iron Chef on the Food Network), and Hell (the financial BS behind running a restaurant empire). And back again. On the verge of gearing up for re-opening indoors at Old City’s Old Bar, the Rittenhouse area’s Tinto, and more when C-19 2.0 hit. And the Mayor decided to harsh the mellow of indoor diners everywhere – at least until January 1, 2021.
What Garces has been up to – beyond crafting his own ‘urban garden’ atop his roof deck at his Manayunk townhouse – now involves keeping his Garces Foundation literacy and jobs programs afloat. With the addition of a community food pantry (each package feeds a family of four for a week). As a restaurateur beyond indoor dining, he’s doing a takeout window and a designer “bodega” sales setting at Distrito for all our Mexican meal fare.
Also a Basque region menu re-do and wine bottle shop at Tinto, a continuance of the tony outdoor dining scenario he’s built at the re-constructed, safely distanced Old Bar. There is so much more to discuss here, in relation to Garces’ fresh renovations, be they culinary, architecturally or indoor-design sartorially… Let’s save them, however, for Philly’s January 2021 indoor dining re-opening.
Even more unique within the Chef Jose Garces continuum, however, is the fact that the chef and entrepreneur just-wrapped up filming his own 24 episode web series.
“It’s my first executive producer, co-director role. A real bucket list thing for me,” said Garces of “Cooking Space,” a soon-to-drop YouTube show where mindfulness and being present meets making and eating great food and enjoying new music. “Each episode is 6 to 8 minutes long. I have original music tracks running through each show. I’m highlighting mostly one-pot meals. Great for home cooks, but with a professional twinge to it… Some high-end stuff. And the whole thing is focused on what it is to be present and enjoying your surroundings. Being focused on the food, the family and the friends you have sharing these meals.”
Garces was definitely inspired to do his being home and around his kids more during the pandemic quarantine downtime.
Chef Jose Garces is also preparing to launch ChefGarces.com. The site is a personal brand portal that will feature the “Cooking Space” content, live cooking demonstrations, and the offer of consulting services, menu planning and creating. The Garces website and consulting service – along with other surprises – will pop their tops shortly.