Jose Garces

The 8 Coolest Things I Did in 2013

by Anne Maxfield on December 30, 2013

Accidental Locavore Chef Garces and RangeThis year a lot happened to the Accidental Locavore and in the spirit of a year-end round-up, here’s a look back at some of the cool stuff from 2013. It’s not in any particular order and it’s not all about food. Enjoy, and Happy 2014!

  1. Jose Garces lunch: While they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, this one started out free, but my lust for a BlueStar range may end up costing me thousands. As a guest of theirs for a launch party I was invited down to Chef Garces’ farm in Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful day, filled with great food in a lovely setting, with a charming host.
  2. Legends of the Ice: This time I was a guest of P&G and Walmart for the taping of a skating show soon to air on NBC. As a lot of you know, I skate and this was a great opportunity to watch American skating icons, past and present, from a center-ice perch, followed by an after-party where I got to meet the skaters-so cool! Look for a longer post at the end of January.Accidental Locavore Anne and Kristi
  3. Kristi Yamaguchi: As part of the P&G events, they and Walmart donated all the skates for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. On a very cold evening, meeting and interview Kristi was worth a (long) trip to the Bronx. She was charming and we had an interesting conversation about skating, concentration and the current scoring system. This too, will be an upcoming post, so stay tuned.
  4. Rescue Rif: Probably the most life-changing (or life-style changing) thing that happened in 2013 was when we decided to rescue a dog whose owner died suddenly. There was something very appealing about Rif’s photo on Facebook and he’s now become a much loved member of the family, even inspiring DIY dog biscuits.Accidental Locavor Rif
  5. Gabriel Rucker: Of all the classes I’ve taken at DeGustibus at Macy*s, this was definitely in the top two (the pre-holiday one, years ago, with the truffled grilled cheese sandwich is right up there too). He was charming, generous and made a memorable meal. I’ve made his sauce for the rabbit sausage and it was delicious. Next up, the pork confit and some of the salad dressings from his book, Le PiegonAccidental Locavore Hamachi Tartare
  6. Mazatlan: Sponsored by the Mazatlan tourist bureau, I was invited to a long weekend on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It’s the first time in years, that I’d been to Mexico and it was great to be back there! Everyone we met in Mazatlan was so enthusiastic about encouraging visitors and the food was terrific! While a visit to the market with a vegetarian wasn’t my smartest move, we did have a lot of laughs about it.Accidental Locavore Two Butchers
  7. Oysters: A frustrated post about oysters (or lack of them) had incredible repercussions! Before I knew it, Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms was in touch with me, wanting to make up for my failed Groupon. Although my absolute favorite oysters, the Totten Virginicas were done for the year, we indulged for days on Pacifics, Kumos, Olympias, etc. and I got very good at shucking oysters. What a treat!Accidental Locavore Taylor Oysters
  8. Waterfire: A trip to Providence, RI for the Taste Trekker’s Conference coincided with Waterfire, an event where a series of cauldrons in the river are filled with logs and lit by black-robed creatures riding in a Venetian-inspired gondola. The night I was there it was windy, which accelerated the fires and sent sparks flying-very dramatic! Along with a couple of days of great eating, it was the best time I’ve had in Providence in many years!Accidental Locavore Waterfire




Lunch With Iron Chef Jose Garces

by Anne Maxfield on September 30, 2013

Accidental Locavore Chef Garces and Range How many times do you get invited to lunch with an Iron Chef? Recently, the Accidental Locavore was whisked down to Chef Jose Garces’ Luna Farm in Pennsylvania for lunch. It was a gorgeous day, the kind that makes you start to really like September, a beautiful setting, interesting company and, oh yeah, great food!

Accidental Locavore Chef Garces GazpachoThe day was a launch party for BlueStar’s new Platinum line of ranges. They’re made a few miles away from Chef Garces’ farm and if you haven’t started your Christmas (or whatever) wish list, you have now. And it will probably take you that long to pick your options, starting with the 750 colors you can choose from. If that’s not enough, pick your size and burner options. They all come with easily changed grill/griddles and remove a burner and your wok fits right into the 25,000 BTU burner. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to about six colors, but haven’t moved onto the burner layout yet – Santa are you listening?

Accidental Locavore Grilled Iberico SecretoOk, so now that you know about my range lust, what did Chef Garces actually cook on it? We started with flutes of cava in a deep pink color. What a nice change from prosecco and something that I’ll definitely be serving soon. The best of the passed hors d’oeuvres was a skewer of lamb and eggplant (from the farm) wrapped in bacon and done on the range’s griddle. Lamb along with the smokiness of the bacon and eggplant was a great combination.

Accidental Locavore Eggplant and PeppersThe main course was the real star of the show. If you’ve had enough of pork belly, the next trendy pork part to lust over is Ibérico secreto. It’s the pork version of a skirt steak (however, if you can find it, the price tag more resembles an expensive aged rib eye), well-marbled and, when marinated in olive oil, thyme and garlic and grilled by an Iron Chef, probably the single best piece of pork I’ve ever had! This was served with a platter of eggplant and padron peppers that were grown on the farm and some creamed corn he made with bacon and smoked onions. Before the Ibérico secreto, Chef Garces served a superb gazpacho. His secret? Really good olive oil and a lot of time in the blender.

Accidental Locavore Olive Oil CakeAnd speaking of olive oil, I’ve wondered for a long time about olive oil cakes and now I know, they’re delicious! These were served in little jars and topped with cream, plums and pistachios so they not only looked good, but tasted good too.

Accidental Locavore Farmer GarcesAfter all that great food, a much needed walk through his farm. Farmer Garces has 40 acres, growing organic produce for his restaurants. Along with that are a flock of chickens and a couple of bee hives. He has spent a lot of time and money working the farm and improving the drainage. One thing that really resonated with me, as we were leaving the farm he said that while they would never recoup the money invested in the drainage system, “at least the ground would be growing food for a long time.”