Chicago, December 14, 2009 — Jose Garces, a 1996 graduate of Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, beat out Jehangir Mehta in a head-to-head battle on Nov. 22 to take home the coveted culinary title of "The Next Iron Chef."
As executive chef and owner of Amada, Tinto, Distrito, Chifa and Village Whiskey in Philadelphia and executive chef at Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago, Garces has spent years perfecting different cuisines in top-rated restaurants and is now well known for his signature Latin cooking style. Since 2005, the Chicago native has opened six restaurants, authored Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, 2008) and won the 2009 "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" award from the James Beard Foundation.
Studying culinary arts at Kendall College was excellent training for a young chef, says Garces. "Lots of discipline, which is kind of the opposite of family cooking. ‘A pinch of this, a touch of that’ becomes exact measurements that you’d better follow if you want to get it right!
A class assignment became Garces’ inspiration for Amada. “Our final project was to create a business plan for a restaurant we would one day like to open, and mine was a modern Spanish tapas bar, which is exactly what I set out to create, years later, in Philadelphia,” he says. “I called it Amada, after my grandmother who taught me to cook all those years ago, and opened it in October of 2005. It is a dream come true: full of energy and life–and some really good food–and I’m thankful for the encouragement and vision of my professors and advisers at Kendall.”
Mike Artlip, CEC, CCE, culinary director at Kendall College, remembers Garces as a passionate aspiring chef during his training. “It makes me feel great as a culinary instructor to see one of our students do so well in an arena that is widely respected and recognized around the world,” says Artlip, who has taught at Kendall for 22 years. “Chefs of Jose’s talent and achievement inspire others to seek rewarding careers in foodservice—people who realize that if they work hard enough and have vision and zeal, they, too, can achieve great things in their lives cooking professionally.”
Tune in to “Iron Chef America” on Food Network on Sunday, January 17, 2010, at 8 p.m. CT as Garces represents the Chairman in Kitchen Stadium for his first battle as an Iron Chef. For more information, behind-the-scenes videos and photos, visit: www.foodnetwork.com/nextironchef.
About Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts
Founded in 1985, the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College is among the premier culinary-training programs in the United States, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates in culinary arts as well as associate degrees and certificates in baking and pastry. The school occupies a stunning “Riverworks” campus near downtown Chicago. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts Associate and Baking & Pastry Associate programs since 1988. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009, Kendall College also operates Schools of Hospitality Management, Business and Education. Since 1962, it has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org, 800.621.7440). Kendall College is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. For more information, visit www.kendall.edu.