Authors@Google: In Conversation with Jose Garces


Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 07.11.2012

Transcript:

JEFFREY FREBURG: Welcome, everyone.
I want to introduce Chef Jose.
Thanks for coming to Google today.
JOSE GARCES: It's a pleasure to be here.
Thank you.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So let us know about your new book.
Tell us about the book.
JOSE GARCES: The book is called "The Latin Rode Home,"
and it's my second cookbook.
The first cookbook that I launched was "Latin
Evolution" in 2008.
And the book is really a much stripped down version.
It's not "Latin Evolution," it's like what "Latin
Evolution" became.
So it's those recipes that really turned into the "Latin
Evolution.'
It's also a travelogue.
It's a memoir of five Spanish speaking countries that
inspired my cooking for the last 10 years.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK.
So I know that you have 15 restaurants now.
Tell us about how you opened your first restaurant, and
about scaling so many restaurants in such a short
amount of time, which is pretty impressive.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
So my first restaurant, Amada, opened in 2005, and I
basically opened that with a small business loan, a couple
private equity investors, and we were
able to pull it together.
And Amada had quite a bit of success, and from that came
many opportunities, and I also had several other concepts
that I had brewing in my mind.
So with the opportunities, we looked at ways to develop
these concepts, and the rest is history.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah, so like I said,
you've scaled so quickly.
What kind of challenges have you had in scaling so many
restaurants in such a short amount of time?
JOSE GARCES: There's usually your typical construction.
And then with leases and negotiations, that sort of
business constraints.
But for the most part, it's been a pretty
smooth and easy ride.
I think, yeah, I feel pretty fortunate about that.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK.
So do you work with a design team to come up
with interior designs?
How much of an influence do you have on that?
And what do you focus on when you're thinking about your
next concept?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I have a design firm that I've worked
with since we started Amada in 2005.
They're called Creme Design, and they're out of
Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
And the chief designer, Jun Aizaki, is now a
close friend of mine.
We've designed probably 85% of my restaurants
has been with Creme.
And so we usually would walk the spaces together.
We might travel somewhere.
So, for instance, in order to design Amada, we were in San
Sebastian and Barcelona, and started to really get a look
and feel for the cuisine and the culture and the
different--
and really, really to capture that feeling of a Spanish
Tapas restaurant.
For Distrito, our Mexican concept--
modern Mexican concept--
Jun and I both traveled to Mexico City, and we brought
back some of the flash, the glamour, the energy from
Mexico City to design Distrito.
So those types of travel experiences and working hand
in hand with Jun for many years has given us the ability
to design some pretty neat spaces.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So I just want to go back a little ways.
How did you get involved in cooking?

JOSE GARCES: I always enjoyed cooking as a kid.
My mom and my grandma were fantastic cooks.
They cooked great meals for us at home growing up, and it was
typically an Ecuadorian meal.
So I had that kind of Latin upbringing.
And with time, I went to two years of undergrad, and still
hadn't really found something that was driving me or a
passion at that point, and I realized
that I enjoyed cooking.
So I visited a culinary school in Chicago called Kendall
College, and kind of like the minute I got there I enjoyed
seeing the discipline that was involved--
the white coats, the tall white hats,
that sort of thing.
And it was just like, it just felt right to me.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So are there are certain things that your
mom made that are just that go to meal for you or anything?
Or anything that kind of really focused you on cooking?
JOSE GARCES: I think that there were several experiences
that I had growing up, whether it was having empanadas on
Sunday watching a Bears game--
I grew up in Chicago--
or having had this [? locro, ?]
which is an Ecuadorian potato chowder with avocado, poached
egg, pork skins that are cooked into the chowder.
I would say those are just two examples of hearty, wholesome
dishes that always bring me back to my childhood and have
inspired me to this day.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So where are most of
your restaurants located?
JOSE GARCES: Well, my home base is in Philadelphia, and
that's kind of where we started, and so we have seven
restaurants in Philadelphia.
I have a restaurant in Chicago called Mercat A La Planxa.
And this year, we did a big push, and we do the food and
beverage management of two hotels, one in Scottsdale,
Arizona called the Saguaro, we have a Distrito and Old Town
whiskey there.
And in Palm Springs, we have Tinto, which is our Basque
tapas brand, and El Hefe, a new tequila and taco concept.
JEFFREY FREBURG: See, the reason I was asking why so
many restaurants are in Pennsylvania is because I'm a
Chicago boy, so how come--
are you going to plan on putting more restaurants in
Chicago, or--
JOSE GARCES: Yeah, we really like Chicago.
I mean, I get there at least four or five times a year for
the restaurant.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
It's a great restaurant town, too.
JOSE GARCES: It's a great restaurant town.
I've known it for years.
We just haven't focused our energy on it, but it's top of
the list right now.
JEFFREY FREBURG: And can you tell us some of your favorite
restaurants in Chicago?
JOSE GARCES: Sure.
I have a good friend who I worked with on the National
Pork Board.
We were both celebrity chef ambassadors, pork lovers, and
his name is Paul Kahan, and he has some of my favorite
restaurants in Chicago.
He has Publican, he's got a great taco and whiskey concept
called Big Star, and Avec, as well.
So I like his places.
And when I get to Chicago, I also--
right down the street from Mercat, which is located on
the South loop, I go to kind of an English pub called the
Gauge, which is just homey and a favorite.
And of course the Wiener Circle as well.
JEFFREY FREBURG: That's the best place for a hotdog.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So when was the last time you cooked for
your family, and what are some of the go to
meals that you prepare?
JOSE GARCES: So typically, we cook on Saturday and Sunday.
When I say we, my wife and I, Beatrice.
She's of Cuban descent.
So that's our favorite time to bond, to kind of spend some
good family time.
And so we'll do some menu planning, and she'll actually
do a lot of the prep.
So she'll get her board, get her knife out, and once the
prep is done, I'll end up cooking it all.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So that works out pretty well.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah, no, it's actually a great team effort,
and again, I think a great family activity.
And lately, some of our most memorable meals have been at
our farm, which we've had for about two years.
It's north of Philadelphia in Bucks county.
It's a 40 acre farm.
We have about a seven acre garden, which we planted, and
we are raising vegetables, produce,
chickens, bees, grown mushrooms.
And all that produce is going to the restaurants in
Philadelphia and Atlantic City.
So some of my most memorable family meals have been there.
We have this outdoor kitchen, and it's just really about
eating super healthy, super light, very fresh.
And they've been right off the farm, yeah.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
So I love the farm concept that you really incorporate
into your restaurants, and that's
something that we do here.
Why did you decide to go that route, which I really respect?
What was your driving factor with that?
JOSE GARCES: Well, to be honest, I was looking for a
second home, and somewhere that I could retreat to.
And we really--
most people in Philly do the Jersey Shore, like, head down
to the shore.
I was looking for something a little more relaxing, and so I
looked in Bucks County, and I just found a lot of these farm
properties that were available.
And it was hard to find the property that had the retreat
and the farming peace, and we were fortunate to find one.
And so once we got it, was really just going to be a
second home, but I saw the farm, saw the garden, and my
natural instincts took over.
And before we knew it, we had invested in deer fencing, a
new well, a tractor, an organic farm crew
that's there every day.
And it's become quite an undertaking, and one that I'm
proud of and look forward to seeing the
results in the future.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So how big is it?
I know you mentioned it earlier but-- and are there
any plans to expand that?
JOSE GARCES: Currently it's seven acres, and we farm--
it's a seven acre garden, and this year was more of like a
testing period, where we had about 100 different varieties
of whether it was peppers, herbs, micrograins.
The thought was to see what the soil would give so we had
a real accurate plan for next year.
But in addition to the produce, we have bees that are
producing honey that pollinate the crops.
JEFFREY FREBURG: And you can use that in your restaurant?
JOSE GARCES: Could use that in the restaurants.
We have these different logs that it's more of a log
mushroom farm.
And we also put in a pretty big greenhouse, so I'm excited
to see what we can do there in the wintertime.
And the thought is, and thus far this year we've been able
to do two deliveries per week into the 10 restaurants.
So we have seven restaurants in Philadelphia and three in
Atlantic City, which is just another hour south.
So it's been a pretty successful program.
And it's also forced our chefs to kind of really be local,
and really get creative with some of the varieties of
vegetables and herbs that we were growing.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
So how much produce comes from your gardens that you can use
in your restaurant?
Is it 10%, 20%?
JOSE GARCES: It's probably--
this year I would say it's been about 25% to 35%.
JEFFREY FREBURG: And so with the addition of the
greenhouse, do you have a set plan of what you want to grow
in there, or what you're going to try?
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
Well, we use typically--
some of my favorite micrograins are micro-arugula,
micro-basil, micro-cilantro.
And so we think that we can have a good yield on those,
and they're ones that can be quite pricey as
you start to like--
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah, I know.
JOSE GARCES: And then in the spring, we'll probably start
all our seedlings there.
But to be honest, it's an evolving process.
It's an evolving process to find out what the right
financial solutions are to making it a sustainable farm.
So we're under, we're in that mode right now, and I'd also
like to eventually have goats and make goat cheese.
It's one of my favorite cheeses.
But first things first.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
So do you know what you're going to try to plant next
year, and what didn't work this year?
JOSE GARCES: We had some soil erosion issues, which--
when it rained, water pockets collected in certain areas and
drowned some of the plants that we had.
So we have to grade our soil a little better this year,
create some drainage.
And so that was a learning experience for me.
That was one where we just didn't see it
coming, and it happened.
So we're looking to improve that.
And I think for the most part, everything we put in the
ground worked.
Potatoes didn't work, and we had a rough time with some
melons and certain varieties of tomatoes.
But for the most part, everything we put in worked,
and it was, again, quite abundant.
We had about 1,000 pounds that we were harvesting a week at a
certain point.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Really?
That's impressive.
JOSE GARCES: Not bad for Pennsylvania.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah, no, definitely.
Definitely.
So everyone always wants to know this.
What are some of your favorite kitchen tools?
And if you were to assemble a knife kit that really boils it
all down to, what's in there?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I think having sharp knives is the
most important thing.
And I have a Mac--
Mac knife, it's a Japanese brand--
which I really like.
It's an eight inch, really versatile.
It can do vegetables, you could clean fish with it.
And I keep it super sharp.
So I think the chef's knife is the most important piece of
equipment you can have.
A good cutting board.
But I like gadgets, too, so--
JEFFREY FREBURG: Do you have a favorite gadget?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I recently started cooking
more with my kids.
I have a nine and a five year old, and they
really enjoy the kitchen.
And again, it's a great time for us to bond.
So I've set up my kitchen a little more usable.
In the past, my home kitchen was--
it was there, but I cooked in the restaurant, so I wasn't
really like at home doing it as much.
But now that they're into it, I've bought some tools.
And actually my Kitchenaid mixer is a
great versatile tool.
I mean, from making ice cream to--
I could do an ad for Kitchenaid right now.
JEFFREY FREBURG: That's great.
JOSE GARCES: But we make fresh pasta, we make ice cream in
it, fresh doughs, pizza dough.
So it's been a great tool.
And I haven't discovered it as much as I
have in the last year.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So I just want to talk a little about
kitchen design.
So is there anything that you have learned designing kitchen
to kitchen?
JOSE GARCES: Sure.
Yeah, absolutely.
I think the most important thing is having a definite
idea of your--
let's just say professional kitchen, right?
So if you're designing a professional kitchen, really
having the concept and the menu down
before you design is--
I mean, it seems like a basic thing, but sometimes if you're
doing a new concept, the menu could evolve, it could change,
and that will totally change the flow of the kitchen.
So kitchen flow is really vital, and so if you have your
menu in place, and really thinking through the flow
process, how things are produced and how they're
turned out is super important.
So I'm actually designing a quick serve Peruvian
rotisserie chicken place.
And the menu--
at first we were like, OK, just
Peruvian rotisserie chicken.
And then we thought, well, how about empanadas as well?
And then we're like, well, we might want to add, like, beef
ropa vieja or something.
So the menu has evolved, and as the menu has evolved, the
kitchen design has continued to evolve.
And as long as before you bid it or have anyone do any work
on this kitchen you have that flow, that's the most
important thing.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So what do you think the commercial
kitchen of the future looks like?
Are we going to be only cooking on electric?
Are we going to be using an oven?
What are your thoughts on that?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I think it's pretty dependent on the
type of operation and the type of commercial application.
I think for me, I'm actually in the process of designing a
pretty evolved kitchen.
And I have several different pieces of equipment that I'm
bringing in.
It's going to be a small restaurant in Philadelphia of
probably only about 25 to 30 seats, in which I'm looking to
do one seating per night and really turn out what I think
is like, the most epic meal that I could produce.
So in this application, I'm going for a island style
kitchen with several different types of equipment.
A [? sieve app ?]
which is a--
You're familiar with a [? sieve app? ?]
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
JOSE GARCES: A piece of equipment that can cook to a
specific temperature and steam, and really just cooks a
protein to its perfect temperature.
I have a piece of equipment called the [? josper. ?]
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK, that I haven't heard about.
JOSE GARCES: Which is a solid fuel encased cabinet style
grill, almost like a [? plancher ?]
with solid fuel on the bottom, so you get wood and smoke.
And then there's other pieces, like [INAUDIBLE]
cooking, circulators, just to name a few.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah.
So we really try to incorporate green aspects into
all of our buildings and kitchens.
Is that something that you do as well?
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
I think as much as possible, I think from a sustainability
point of view, we're looking to incorporate the farm in
terms of how we operate.
So right now, all of our fryer grease from all the
restaurants in Philadelphia is being turned into biodiesel
fuel and soap for the restaurants.
The restaurants are also composting, so we're taking
those vegetable scraps up to the farm and
turning it into compost.
And those type of sustainable practices.
In terms of building, we're not 100% there yet, for sure.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Right.
So I just want to take you back to San Francisco.
How long are you here for?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I've been here--
I was here yesterday, and I leave tomorrow night.
So about three full days in San Francisco.
And I could say it's been a great time thus far.
I love the city, I love the energy of it.
It seems really dynamic.
And I had a great meal at Manresa last night.
JEFFREY FREBURG: That was my next question-- where are you
going to eat tonight, and what are some of your favorite
spots here?
JOSE GARCES: Well, thus far, we made a point to make it to
Manresa last night, which was amazing.
David Kinch cooked a fantastic meal for us, which was
probably around 15 or 20 courses.
I don't remember.
I lost track.
But pretty epic meal, really delicious,
really natural flavors.
I was pretty inspired by his subtlety, and his also unique
flavor combinations.
And then, let's see.
So a few recommendations that I've had-- we're going to
Quince tonight, which I heard is pretty good.
And then we're going to State Bird tomorrow, which I think
Bon Apetit gave it a best new in the US.
And I think Mission Chinese for lunch tomorrow as well.
So how's that list?
JEFFREY FREBURG: Good list.
JOSE GARCES: Good list?
OK.
Let me know if there's anything else I should hit.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Well, there's a lot.
I'm sure they'll tell you.
I just want to open up to the audience.
Any questions from the audience?
JOSE GARCES: So if you have a limited budget and you have a
stove, a fridge, you like the basic equipment--
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
JOSE GARCES: Got it.
Well, I think the best place, I know for me in New York,
there's the Bowery district, which has old restaurant
equipment, things that are used.
I mean, those things will last a lifetime, so I think you can
get the most bang for your buck.
I don't know what's here in San Fran, but--
is there, like, a used restaurant depot?
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yes, there is.
Are there any specific pieces of
equipment that you'd recommend?
Any kind of cookware that you recommend without giving an
endorsement?

JOSE GARCES: I would say definitely get a good quality
cutting board, because I feel like that's--
if you have one that has a lot of surface area, a really good
knife, I think pots--
yeah, a few solid like--
a stock pot, a really good cast iron, a sautee pan, and
that's only like $100.
JEFFREY FREBURG: And a Kitchenaid.
JOSE GARCES: You need a Kitchenaid or a blender.
AUDIENCE: Well, the Kitchenaid [INAUDIBLE].
AUDIENCE: What do you think the impact of media and just--
it seems like America is becoming more
of a culinary culture.
How do you think that's changing?
JOSE GARCES: Sure.
Well, when I was in culinary school, and I started culinary
school in 1993, there was Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali,
Jacques Pepin, and they were like the culinary TV
superstars.
And they were just doing kind of, they call it in our
profession dump and stir shows, where it's just
kind of a how to.
And obviously, it's evolved tremendously
over the last 20 years.
I've seen some impact on food TV just inspiring the youth,
where we have tons of younger fans who are really into the
cooking shows, but also just are more
knowledgeable about food.
So that can only make for better eating, hopefully
healthier eating going down the road.
And I think it's just going to continue to evolve
tremendously.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Do you care to talk about your experience
on "Iron Chef" a little bit more?
Is it really, like, pressure intense?
I mean, what's it really like on stage?
JOSE GARCES: Yes.
So "Iron Chef" has been an incredible experience.
I won the second season on 2009 of "Next Iron Chef." I
challenged nine other competitors, came out on top.
But then we started competing on a regular basis as an "Iron
Chef," and it's the most fun thing I'll do all year.
It's also the most intense period of the year.
The battles are really tough.
You're in a place that has lots of lights, it's hot,
there's fire everywhere, there's another chef who wants
to take you out, and so I get psyched out about it.
I get into it.
So it's been a great experience.
Also, the creativity that it spurs during that period of
the year has really been great, because then we're able
to take those creative dishes and--
JEFFREY FREBURG: Put them on the menu.
JOSE GARCES: Put them on the other menus, yeah.
So it's been a great period of time.
JEFFREY FREBURG: And then so on the "Iron Chef" do you
always keep the same team?
JOSE GARCES: The team has evolved every year.
And so the first couple years, I had a mixture of my
different chef de cuisines, and I kind of rotated
everybody around.
But this last year, I decided to go with just one team.
It was like a powerhouse team, like my best culinary person,
Michael Fiorello, my best corporate pastry chef, Jessica
[? Magardo, ?]
and so the three of us were really able to put
on a show this year.
So I'm excited about this year's season as it airs.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK, so can you give us any hints on this
year's season, or--

JOSE GARCES: Let's see.
If you want to pay my $2 million confidentiality
agreement, I'm happy to tell you.
JEFFREY FREBURG: I don't, personally, so I'm going to
pass on that.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE].

AUDIENCE: I did have another question about
"Iron Chef,' too.
Could you comment about the role of improv when you create
the dishes?
Like, how you practice that, how it's made its way into
your restaurants?
JOSE GARCES: Yeah, well, I think for the most part,
before we go on the show, we'll do some mock battles.
So I go on the show with kind of an idea of how we can apply
these different menus to the secret ingredient.
And then lately, there's been some curves that they've
thrown at us on the show, and so, like anything in life, we
improvise and it's been--
yeah.

JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah, he's tied to a confidentiality
agreement, so--
AUDIENCE: Do you find yourself improving more in the kitchen
in Philly now as a result?
JOSE GARCES: No, I don't think we do.
I think that we're actually planning more and becoming
more diligent about our
development, and I've actually--
so with all the different restaurants and all the many
concepts that we have, it's hard to create and evolve the
menus on a regular basis the way I'd like to.
So this year we've taken an approach to creating a
development team that really helps us push all of the menus
forward and evolve.
And in our business, which is really competitive and tough
and always moving, we're finding that it's important to
continue to evolve, stay fresh, and that's kind of
where we are with it.
AUDIENCE: All right, I have two questions.
The first one is what is your favorite non
Latin cuisine and why?
And the second question, if you were to die today or
tonight, what would be your last supper?
JOSE GARCES: Mm, okay.
Favorite non-Latin.
That's a tough one, because I'm a fan of cuisines.
I was in France this year, and had amazing--
I was in Provence and Paris, had amazing
French meals, more rustic.
I love Asian food.
We've been doing a lot of research on Chinese cooking
lately, so it's been a huge learning experience.
And so that's been part of my journey throughout all of this
is to explore different cuisines, different cultures
and so I don't know that I have a favorite one.
I mean, Italian is always a standby, in
my household, anyway.
We're big pasta lovers.
JEFFREY FREBURG: I'm from Chicago, too.
It's kind of--
JOSE GARCES: Yeah, exactly.
And so if I were to die today, I think if I had a meal that I
wanted, I'd probably ask my mom to make her empanadas.
They're just so tasty, they're good, they bring back such
great memories for me.
AUDIENCE: So I have a question about when you guys are
developing a new concept with your team, and you're
traveling to a new country, your book covers a bunch of
different countries.
So I'm wondering how you guys approach a new concept when
you're, say, visiting a new country.
Do you go there with no research and just sort of hit
the streets and see what's out there?
Do you focus more on the higher end restaurants to see
what people are eating?
Or do you just try to wander around and see what people are
eating, and then find inspiration through that?
JOSE GARCES: That's a great question, and I'll give you a
great example of how our research has evolved into
something that it is now.
So we opened a restaurant called Chifa in
Philadelphia in 2009.
It's a Peruvian Cantonese fusion.
And we went to travel there, and I went there in hopes of
finding this true fusion.
I'd heard of it, and what I found was Chinese restaurants
in Peru using Peruvian ingredients with some
Chifa-esque dishes.
But we really didn't find a true fusion.
And we looked and looked and couldn't find it.
What I found was several other things.
Great Peruvian food--
I found a gastronomic capital of South America, some really
great chefs who have really evolved the cuisine there.
And so we came back to Philadelphia with really not
much, and really we took it upon ourselves to do this
marriage of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine.
And with some success.

Fusion cuisine, I would say, is a difficult thing to truly
master and do very well in.
And for a cuisine to be highly accepted.
You don't go out and say, I think I'm going to have
Peruvian Chinese tonight.
So it's been quite a journey, but the research for that was
pretty fun and insightful.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So do you ever plan on opening an Asian
concept specifically, or what's on the horizon for you?
JOSE GARCES: Currently on the horizon is [? Volvere, ?]
which is going to be my 25 seat epic Jose does the best
meal that he can, and I really want to bring back this idea
of high level service.
I feel like it's kind of left for several
years for many reasons.
And so that's my exploration of molecular gastronomy, and
how I would apply it to my food is what I'm going to
focus on immediately next year.
And then I'm working on a few quick service concepts.
So applying what I've learned over the past 10 years and
putting it into a form which can be accessible, fast,
fresh, delicious.
AUDIENCE: I don't know if you're aware, but California
recently banned foie gras.
I'm curious what your thoughts are on that issue, and what
you would do if you had a restaurant here where you
wanted to serve foie gras.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah, it is a pretty controversial topic,
and several folks take several sides of the story.
I would say currently, we had a lot of issues with foie gras
in Philadelphia as well.
We had a lot of protests, and folks
wanting it off our menus.
So we actually obliged everybody and
took it off the menus.
And you know, personally, I can't say that I have a
problem with it.
I actually have a friend who's a farmer in New York--
upstate New York.
He owns Hudson Valley Foie Gras--
Michael [? Genore. ?]
And I know that he practices humane approaches to raising
his animals.
And so that's kind of where I stand on it.
But we did take it off just to keep things cool.
We're in the restaurant business, and we're there to
feed people and give great hospitality and service.
And so to be honest, my approach is not really to get
involved in much controversy.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Are there any other things that you don't
serve on your menu?
Do you serve veal?
JOSE GARCES: We don't serve veal, not because we think
it's inhumane, because it really
doesn't sell in our markets.
AUDIENCE: One of the most fun parts when watching "Iron
Chef" is when someone takes a ridiculous ingredient and puts
it into the ice cream machine.
Do you have any fun ice cream machine stories, either
something that turned out to be surprisingly tasty or not?
JOSE GARCES: I think we made a trout ice cream once, and it
actually was pretty good.
It wasn't too bad.
We're also--
I'm not a pastry chef, so making ice cream requires some
deft of hand.
And I think there was one point where we were making
truffle ice cream, and it overchurned, and it became
truffle butter all of a sudden.
So it was kind of like that improvisation that you were
talking about earlier.

AUDIENCE: So I know you have two kids.
I was wondering if they have any favorite dishes that you
cook a lot for them, or are their culinary tastes just as
diverse as yours?
JOSE GARCES: Oh, gosh.
Well, both of my children, they're nine and five, so
they're at that stage where they're continuing to discover
flavors, textures.
And so we emphasize vegetables and eating healthy and that
sort of thing.
And there's always the struggle that occurs at the
kitchen table.
And so we cut deals on a regular basis.
Like, okay, you can--
AUDIENCE: Cut deals.
That sounds interesting.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
You can have this, but you're going to have to have your
steamed broccoli.

But I think their exposure to all of this is only going to
be great for them.
I'd cook breakfast for them every morning.
It's kind of our family time that we get, because I'm
sometimes busy at night, or I'm traveling.
That's a part of the day that I always try to
connect with them.
And so we have full on breakfast spread that occurs
at the Garces family household.
Around 7:00, there can be anything from pancakes to
[INAUDIBLE]
to waffles to sheared eggs.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
JOSE GARCES: Sure.
And so that's a meal where I think
creativity comes into play.
And I have fun connecting with them on that level, too.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So real quick, how much of a role has
technology and social media played in your restaurants,
and how do you feel about that these days?
JOSE GARCES: Well, I think it's change the way we market
our restaurants quite a bit, and there's a whole--
I think 10 years ago, there was a way a marketing team or
program would occur for a set of restaurants.
So that's totally out the window at this point.
And I think that now, as we market our restaurants, there
has to be a social media side of things.
And I think it's really impactful.
I think it can really do good for those on the fly stories--
things that are, like, happening now.
And I'm curious to see how will go in the future.
It's always changing, evolving.
And from a business side, I think could be a great tool.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So do you have a G+ account?

JOSE GARCES: I believe so, yeah.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK, great answer.
Perfect.
AUDIENCE: I have two more questions.
What's your favorite midnight snack, or anything that you go
for from your fridge that's always
available and always there?
Second question, if you want to impress someone with like
the best thing they've ever had, like blow their mind,
what would you make?
JOSE GARCES: OK, wow.
All right.
Midnight snack.
Look at this.
I can't be eating at midnight.

But I would say if there's a slice of pizza in the fridge--
I'm a pizza fanatic--
that'll be something that we're always ordering pizza,
so there's usually couple slices in there.
So I'll heat it in the oven and have that.
If not, a piece of fruit will be sufficed.
But I think, let me go to your next question.
So blow somebody's mind-- something I would cook--
oh, wow.
OK.
I've been married for 10 years now, so I haven't had to go
that route in some time.
Usually we'll go somewhere.
But let me think about this for a minute.

That's a good question.
You caught-- my wife's gonna kill me on this one.

I'm a fan of raw fish, so going out and finding, like--
and we have access to great ingredients.
So possibly maybe some tuna toro or otoro with caviar.
I really enjoy having a true caviar
experience once in a while.
A lot of times, you'll get caviar, and it's in small,
small doses.
If you can swing it, get a big tin, get some [INAUDIBLE], a
nice bottle of champagne, and just indulge.
JEFFREY FREBURG: So in your restaurants, do you focus on
sustainable fish?
JOSE GARCES: Yes.
It hasn't been a primary focus, but we certainly like
to practice sustainability in terms of seafood.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK.
All right, yes?
AUDIENCE: Just because I like the questions that keep
putting on the spot.
You're on "Iron Chef," they're about to pull the tablecloth
back and reveal the secret ingredient.
What is the best dream ingredient you could possibly
see under there, and what is your worst nightmare to see
under there?
JOSE GARCES: Best dream ingredient is pork belly,
because we've been cooking it for years now.
We have that set.
I think worst ingredient--
I don't know that I have an awful one.
I'm a fan of all ingredients, and I think my job for the
last 20 years was learn how to take something from a raw
state and make it delicious.
So there's nothing, really, that would offend me.
Stinky tofu, maybe.
AUDIENCE: Jelly beans?
JOSE GARCES: Jelly beans.
You know, when they start incorporating, like, candy,
and like weird stuff into the show, it kind of offends me.
You're right.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Anyone else?
OK, yes?

AUDIENCE: Hi.
One of the challenges I've always had trying to follow a
recipe is not having all the ingredients.
So for example, smoked Spanish sweet paprika is not something
that I would have in my cupboard.
So I find myself often substituting or altogether
skipping ingredients.
As a professional chef, how do you feel about people doing
that to your very well crafted recipes?
JOSE GARCES: I think that it occurs, and I understand that,
due to time restraints, et cetera.
But I think in "The Latin Road Home," we include a sources
and substitutions list, so there you'll find where to go
get the sweet smoked paprika, or what to use if
you can't find it.
So we've thought about that, and I think it is important,
though, to get the right ingredients, because they make
or break the dish.
One ingredient might, like, twist it one way or the other.

AUDIENCE: OK, you've got this book here.
What would you recommend--
what would be the first two things they should go
make in this book?
JOSE GARCES: First two things.
OK, there is the [? Nikkei ?]
style ceviche out of the Peru chapter.
It's really tasty, very simple, and easy to make.
And then I would say the Ecuadorian fritata, which is a
roast pork and hominy salad.
Quite delicious.
JEFFREY FREBURG: Yeah, so what was your favorite country on
your travels?
Like, where did you love the food the most?
JOSE GARCES: Good question.
I've been a fan of Spanish cuisine for a long time, and I
think I've traveled there the most out of all the countries,
because you can get such great rustic tapas experiences, as
well as this other high end gastronomic adventure.
So I found that Spain was one of the best places.
It continues to inspire me.
I'm going back this year--
this coming year in January to continue to get inspiration
for my newest concept.
JEFFREY FREBURG: OK.
And then is there one dish that you're like, oh my god, I
have to go to this country and have this dish?
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
I went to Peru, and I wanted to have the cuy, which is
guinea pig-- roast guinea pig.
And I've always heard about it, and I wanted to just
experience it.
And what I found was crispy, almost like [INAUDIBLE].
Fatty, but pretty flavorful meat.
And that was an interesting experience.
JEFFREY FREBURG: All right, well, thanks.
Any other questions?
All right.
Well, I know that he has time to sign some books, so thanks
for coming.
I really appreciate it.
JOSE GARCES: Yeah.
Thank you.
Thank you all very much.