Garces' Volver Lives Up to its Name as it Returns With a Residency Program Featuring Seven Different Ethnic Chefs - Wooder Ice
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Garces’ Volver Lives Up to its Name as it Returns With a Residency Program Featuring Seven Different Ethnic Chefs

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Garces’ Volver Lives Up to its Name as it Returns With a Residency Program Featuring Seven Different Ethnic Chefs

Garces’ Volver Lives Up to its Name as it Returns With a Residency Program Featuring Seven Different Ethnic Chefs

Garces announces the much-anticipated reopening of Volvér on Kimmel Cultural Campus just in time for the return of in-person performing arts. For Volvér’s return, Chef Jose Garces’ will debut a brand new Chefs in Residency Program that will spotlight the region’s top rising stars and emerging chefs, with a focus on chefs from various cultural backgrounds that were affected by the pandemic. The inaugural Chefs in Residency invited for the 2021-2022 season will include Chef Kiki Aranita from Poi Dog Philly, Chef Phila Lorn from Terrain Glen Mills, Chef Jezabel Careaga from Jezabel’s, Chef Jennifer Zavala of Juana Tamale, Chef Alex Yoon of Little Fish and Chef Dane DeMarco of Sonny’s Cocktail Bar and Wine Dive. Each Chef in Residency will showcase their top signature dishes on the Volvér menu for six to eight weeks, alongside Chef Garces’ signature French-inspired dishes. Through a special donation program in partnership with the Garces Foundation, each Chef in Residency will have the opportunity to raise money to support their work with their current restaurant, or to use for the start of their next culinary journey. The doors to Volvér officially reopen for dinner service on Friday, September 24th, with the Chefs in Residency

Program debuting on October 6th with Chef Aranita. Volvér’s hours for the season will be from Wednesday to Sunday, from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, with a special pre-theatre menu served from 4:00pm to 6:30pm, and happy hour from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. Reservations are now available at www.volverrestaurant.com, via Open Table, or by calling 215-670-2302. . All guests to Volver must be vaccinated per Kimmel Cultural Campus policy. Volver is located at 300 S. Broad Street, in Center City, Philadelphia.

“With the Kimmel Cultural Campus opening up and the return of performing arts like the Orchestra, Broadway, and the Ballet, the reopening of Volver is a great sign of the city coming back to life pre-pandemic,” said Garces. “With our return, we are thrilled to launch Volvér’s new Chefs in Residency Program, intended to empower our resident chefs while introducing new flavors and culinary styles to visitors of the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Working through the Garces Foundation, we will support the resident chefs through resources and matching grants from our guests to help these chefs to reach their next pivot or culinary milestone, be it a new restaurant, new equipment, or backend operational support.”

For the return of Volvér, Garces fans, foodies, arts patrons, neighbors and visitors will once again come together to celebrate the art of fine dining in the dual-concept space that features a giant oval bar and lush lounge on one side, and a performance kitchen where Chefs bring cuisine to the center stage on the other.

The low-lit lounge and bar are perfect for an intimate pre-theatre dinner, post-theatre drinks, happy hour, girls night out and date night. Patrons will find all the big vibes that include a sleek marble-topped curved bar, plush oversized seats, velvety banquets, sexy mood light, and floor-to-ceiling windows. A bold and colorful mural by artist and designer Conrad Booker cascades across the back wall, with visibility from every seat in the house. Booker spent one year hand-fusing, dying, cutting and stitching the one-of-a-kind mural out of 200 yards of burlap and 4,000 fiber buttons. As guests transition from the bar and lounge to the kitchen area, they will pass floor-to-ceiling wine racks with a sliding library-style ladder that can house 1,200 bottles of wine.

Down the stylish corridor, past the bottles of white and red, patrons will find a sprawling open-island kitchen where Chefs will create their art in front of the entire dining room. Each and every seat has a clear view of the artists at work as they create their magic for eager diners who want not just a meal but a full experience. For those looking for center-stage action, the marble-top Chef’s counter offers seating for seven.

Volvér, which is Spanish for ‘to return’, will celebrate not only the return of the beloved restaurant after the pandemic shut-down, but it will also celebrate the much-anticipated raising of the curtains across the stages of the Kimmel Cultural Campus.

Volvér’s cuisine will continue to highlight Chef Garces’ culinary travels around the world. The ever-evolving menu emphasizes seasonal ingredients prepared with modern techniques that capture and amplify their inherent flavors. For this grand return, Chef will continue on his global journey and present French inspired cuisine that showcases his roots dating back to his classic training at the Kendall College of Culinary Arts. Dishes will include Milk and Cereal (Bacon, Glazed Chicken, Thyme Marshmallows, Puffed Rice, White Asparagus, Mushrooms), Madai Crudo (Cured Snapper, Champagne Cream, Black Olive Oil, Poppy Seed, Crispy Ginger), and Filet Mignon Philly Style (Caramelized Onion Puree, Toasted Sourdough, Red Wine Braised Shallots, Alpine Cheese Fondue), and many others.

The French menu direction and the idea for the new program was inspired by the 2019-2020 season that was cut short due to the mandatory closures in March 2020. That season, Chef showcased French dishes on the menu, plus Chef hosted pop-up collaboration dinners with the region’s top French chefs, including Chris Kearse of Forsythia, Jonathan Cichon of Lacroix and Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette, La Peg and Gabi. After working alongside the aforementioned talented chefs, and after Volvér and Kimmel Cultural Campus were forced to close down, Chef and his team worked during the pandemic to create an innovative new program that would foster new talent, support cultural chefs and challenge the palates of diners. It is a new idea nearly 17 months in the making, and is timed to launch for the return of Philadelphia’s indoor, in-person and live performing arts season. The new Chefs in Residency Program starts on October 6th with Chef Kiki Aranita. Patrons will find seven signature dishes by Kiki alongside dishes by Chef Jose Garces.

In addition to the exciting food line-up, Volvér fans will find a well-rounded bar program that is artistically approachable with options for every palate and to pair with every dish. Patrons will find hand-crafted cocktails, non-alcoholic mocktails, beer and cider on draft, and wine and champagne by the bottle and the glass. Cocktail highlights include the Brown Derby, with Old Grandad, Grapefruit, Lemon and Honey, and Pedraza with Corazon Tequila, Grapefruit, Aperol and Rosemary.

CHEFS IN RESIDENCY LINE-UP

Chef Jose Garces will shine the spotlight and support fellow chefs from the city and suburbs with a brand-new season-long Chefs in Residency Program that will feature the talents of seven emerging and cultural chefs. Each Chef in Residency will showcase their signature dishes as additions to the Volvér menu during a six to eight week period during the season.

Chefs In Residency is Chef Garces’ way of taking the idea of featuring chefs at Volvér to the next level. “This new initiative, Chefs in Residency, is something I’ve been working towards for a long time and I’m excited to be able to officially launch it at this time,” said Garces. “As a Latin Chef and business owner, I’ve faced my share of adversity and am grateful to be in a place where I can ‘pay it forward’ to those emerging onto the Philadelphia food scene with ambitious goals of their own.”

Chef Garces is proud to announce the inaugural line-up, as follows:

Chef Kiki Aranita (she/her)
Chef and Owner of Poi Dog Philly
October 6 to November 28, 2021
Opening Night Celebration Thursday, October 7, 2021
Funding will help support Aranita’s new line of sauces

Kiki Aranita is the Co-Owner/Operator of Poi Dog in Philadelphia, PA. After gaining her experience in various restaurants and food trucks, Aranita wanted to share her experiences of what people eat in her hometown of Hawaii, to the city of Philly. Along with the food of Hawaii, Aranita has taught classes on Hawaii’s culture at Penn Museum and recipe development at the university level.

“I’ve known Chef Kiki for years and have always admired her as a chef. I know what it’s like having to close a restaurant, so she was a natural pick to be our first resident chef. Her resilience and energy are awesome,” said Garces.

Chef Aranita said, “My menu for Volvér includes dishes that are refined interpretations of Poi Dog’s casual classics, with nods to Jose Garces’ Latin-based repertoire. My mission has always been to share the flavors of Hawaii that are dearest to me. My chef residency at Volvér will continue to fulfill that personal mission and show that journey that my fledgling sauce company has been on in the year since Poi Dog closed. Guava Katsu, Maui Lavender Ponzu and Chili Peppah Water have all woven their way onto my Volvér menu.”

“It’s a small homecoming of sorts, to be involved with Volvér. My first job when I moved to Philadelphia almost a decade ago, was at JG Domestic (as a food runner!). It was there that I gained the connections to start Poi Dog the food truck – in fact, the truck itself was purchased from a guy who worked the garde manger station at JG Domestic – and gained a foothold on living in this new city.”

For Aranita’s dishes, patrons will find the following additions to the Volvér menu:

Appetizers (or pupus!)

* Ahi Poke Tostada
Shoyu and perilla oil seasoned ahi on a crisp, handmade tortilla with sea salt and shiso

* Egg Tofu with Maui Lavender Ponzu
With Gamtae seaweed, ginger and cucumber

* Maple Salmon Gau Gee with Black Garlic Mayo
Dumplings delicately stuffed with salmon, cream cheese and dressed with black garlic mayo

Entrees

* Sesame Chicken Katsu with Fig Leaf Rice and Lightly Pickled Cucumber Salad
(Cooking with fig leaves imparts the flavors of coconut without using any coconut)

* Perilla Roasted Mushrooms with Forbidden Rice and Collard Lu’au (vegan)
(Lu’au is traditionally a stew made with taro leaves and coconut milk – this one is made mainland-style with collard greens)

* Kalua Pig Tacos with Shiso and Chili Peppah Water Pineapple Salsa
(Kalua pig is a smoky, Hawaiian-style pulled pork)

Dessert

* Andagi with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
Crunchy, eggy Okinawan donuts

The season will continue with the following Chefs in Residency. Menus and additional information will be announced closer to each residency.

NEXT CHEFS IN RESIDENCY

Chef Phila Lorn (he/him)
Currently at Terrain Glenside
December 1 to January 17, 2022
Funding will help support Chef Lorn’s first restaurant that will showcase Cambodian food, music and culture

“Chef Phila is a Philly guy through and through. He is named after Philadelphia and learned his love of cooking from his mother. I see many similarities in our stories – I chose Philly to be my home, my grandmother taught and inspired my love of cooking, and we both want to share those recipes and love of food with guests,” said Garces.

Phila Lorn has been up and down the block in Philadelphia’s food scene for 16 years, cooking with great chefs who taught him how to find himself. Teaching him what to do, what not to do and most importantly how to cook. After doing nearly a decade of Japanese food working alongside Chef ZamaSan of Zama, helping to run the kitchen at Stock with Chef Tyler Akins and learning how to see food as an art alongside Chris Kearse at Will, Lorn realized that his reason for cooking had changed. It no longer was a learning phase as much now. It no longer was the game of “beasting” the line. All of these great chefs and others who represent Philadelphia as an established “food town” helped Lorn realize that he wanted to cook his own food. Showcasing his culture’s flavors. Stay tuned for future announcements as Lorn looks to bring Cambodian food, music and culture to the forefront of the Philadelphia scene.

Chef Jezabel Careaga (she/her)
Founder, Maker and CEO, Jezabel’s and L’Atelier
Member of Sisterly Love Citywide Food Fair
January 26 to March 13, 2022
Funding will be used to support the initiatives of Fuerza for Humans, a non-profit focusing on mental health for the restaurant community

Careaga is an entrepreneur, chef, woodworker, designer, and community leader from Palpalá, Jujuy, NW Argentina. In addition to her degree in Tourism & Hotel Management focusing on international languages and business, she received a progressive education encompassing climate change, sustainability, and mental health – issues that she cares about deeply today. After a formative work experience in an 800-room hotel in Miami, she moved to Philadelphia to start her own business.

In 2010 she opened Jezabel’s with a mission to offer a welcoming and delicious NW Argentine experience while prioritizing environmental sustainability, community growth, and financial stability. In 2018 Jezabel’s relocated to West Philadelphia and expanded her offerings to include cooking classes and special events. Her latest venture is L’Atelier where her furniture designs and handiwork are showcased among a selection of artisan home goods. Over the last ten years, Jezabel’s has become a staple in Philly’s dining scene and her empanadas, alfajores, and a multitude of Argentine-style pastries have received critical acclaim and widespread popularity.

For Women’s HIstory Month:
Chef Jen Zavala (she/her)
Chef and Owner of much-anticipated Juana Tamale
March 16 to May 1, 2022
Funding will help Zavala leverage the opportunity for visibility for her community. As a Mexican woman, Mom and Chef, she plans to use these funds to put back into the community she is raising her family in.

Chef Jennier Zavala is an industry veteran, having spent 14 of her 27 year career in Philadelphia. A self-taught chef, Jennifer’s inspiration is drawn from her Mexican roots. Her career started in her home state of Connecticut, at a vegan macrobiotic restaurant. Zavala’s authentic style of cooking earned her a spot cooking in the kitchens of celebrities, Ozzy Osbourne, Britney Spears (HEY GIRL), Iron Maiden, Snoop Dog and many more. Previous credits include, Cha Chas (Los Angeles) and here in Philadelphia: El Camino Real, Xochilt, The Farmers Cabinet, Underground Arts and Will BYOB. Jennifer’s star was on the rise, and included a stint on the 6th season on Bravo’s popular cooking competition, Top Chef: Las Vegas. Accolades include, 2017 Billy Penn “Movers and Shakers,” Best Cannabis Chef for Philly Mag, Best Tamales-Philly Current Magazine. Jennifer is a proud member of Les Dames Escoffier, an international philanthropic organization. She is also a C.O.R.E ambassador for the Philadelphia region. Jennifer continues to blaze a trail for women by disrupting the food industry with her passion for Mexican cuisine. Chef’s next project is, perhaps, her biggest as she opens her own Brick & Mortar with a cult like following called “Juana Tamale” at 1941 East Passyunk Ave this fall. The menu will consist of her famous BIrria Tacos, Oxacan green corn tamales, and homemade, bavarian-filled Churros.

For Asian and Pacific Heritage Month:
Chef Alexander Yoon (he/him)
Chef and Owner of Little Fish BYO
May 4 to May 31, 2022
Funding will help build towards Yoon’s next project of opening a bigger restaurant.

Chef Alex Yoon, a Philadelphia native, first started at Le Bec-fin, in his hometown before traveling to work at other fine dining establishments across the world, including Mirazur and Benu. In 2016 an opportunity came calling when he heard Little Fish was for sale.

“This opportunity is a dream come true,” said Yoon. “I have long admired Chef Jose and all of his restaurants, especially Volver, so to have the opportunity to cook in that kitchen with Chef was something I couldn’t turn away.”

For Philly Gay Pride Month:
Chef Dane DeMarco (they/them)
Sonny’s Cocktail Bar and Wine Dive
June 1 to July 1, 2022
Funding will help support Hanks Sandwich Co. set to open in 2022 – a long-time new project by Chef Dane DeMarco

Chef Dane DeMarco recently launched the menus for the city’s newest feel good bar sensation, Sonny’s Cocktail Joint, plus the adjacent Wine Dive on South Street. Chef previously worked with LPNG Restaurant Group (American Sardine, Second District Brewing Company and South Philly Taproom), where they started as a Sous and quickly worked up to Culinary Director. Chef was known as Doreen (she/her) while working for LPNG, and Chef is now transitioning and at this stage of the process is using Dane and they/them. Chef hails from Willingboro, New Jersey in Burlington County, where they spent their childhood in kitchens next to their father, who was a chef. They started answering phones and the more they worked with their father, the more their passion for cooking grew. Chef moved to Philly at 19, and worked under some great chefs. They loved traveling and checking out new restaurants and quickly found they had an unquenchable thirst for new flavors and inventive cuisine.

One final chef will be featured between July and August as the grand finale and final curtain call to celebrate this new program. Please stay tuned after January 1st for the announcement of the final Chef in Residency.

During each Chef’s residency, the featured Chef will celebrate the launch of their menu on Opening Night, and the Chef will be invited to showcase their talents and have a presence during service as their schedule and their own restaurant duties allow. For information on each Chef’s schedule of live appearances, visit social media and stay tuned to the website.

CHEF MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM

The new Chefs in Residency Program will raise funds to support the inaugural line-up of chefs and their current and/or future projects. Donations can be made, similar to tipping a server, when the dinner check is presented. The Garces Foundation will match up to the first $5,000, giving each resident chef the opportunity to raise at least $10,000. The matching grant will be donated by the Garces Foundation, which offers additional resources for the hospitality industry like medical and educational services that the resident chef can take advantage of for themselves or their staff, and to help them reach their goal/pivot.

“We are thrilled to support these talented chefs and to be a partner in the chefs in residency project,” said Garces Foundation Executive Director Robin Morris. “Philly’s food scene is the best in the country because of the dynamic energy and work ethic of our immigrant food workers and the diversity of chefs and cuisines.”

VOLVER GENERAL INFORMATION

Volvér is located at 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Inside the Campus, Volvér is located near the Spruce Street entrance of the Commonwealth Plaza. This season at Volvér, patrons will be able to enjoy pre-theater, happy hour and a la carte menus in 80 seats in the lounge and dining room, seven seats at the Chef’s counter, and 12 seats around the bar.

Doors open for dinner service again on Friday, September 24th. The first Chefs in Residency additions will begin on Wednesday, October 6th. Patrons will find a special three course pre-theater menu running from 4:00pm to 6:30pm, every Wednesday to Sunday, for $56 per person. The menu will include items from both Volver’s featured menu as well as items from the Resident Chef. For those not heading to curtain call, happy hour will run daily from 7:30pm to 9:00pm with drink and small bite specials that will launch in early October.

To make or cancel a reservation, please visit the website, reserve on Open Table, or call Volvér at 215-670-2303. All guests to Volvér must be vaccinated per Kimmel Cultural Campus policy.

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