GET TO KNOW: IRON CHEF JOSE GARCES
After opening his first restaurant in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has quickly become one of the nation's leading restaurateurs. He is now the owner of more than 12 restaurants in five different cities with eight of these ventures are based in Philadelphia.
Chef Garces rose to international fame after appearing multiple times on the Food Network- he is one of only eight chefs in the country with the title of Iron Chef and he was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" award in 2009.
With a farmhouse in Bucks County, Luna Farm in Ottsville, PA serves as a countryside retreat for the Garces family. It is a self-sustainable and all-organic 40-acre farm that helps to supply his East Coast restaurants with locally grown fruits, vegetables, eggs and honey throughout the year.
Recently, Visit Bucks County had the chance to interview Chef Garces about his farm and his reason for choosing a cozy retreat in the countryside of Bucks County, PA.
Why did you choose to have your farm in Bucks County?
Bucks County is close enough to Philadelphia where I can jet out there without too much prior planning required, but it's still far away enough that it feels like a retreat. Ottsville in particular seems to have a "trapped in time" vibe that I find really charming.
What do you love most about the Bucks County area?
I live in downtown Philadelphia, so I love the fact that Luna Farm still feels so rural and peaceful. I'm looking forward to visiting Lake Nockamixon in the warmer months for some stand-up paddle boarding.
What are some of your favorite eateries in Bucks County?
The shakes, fries, and cooked to order burgers at MOO are all fantastic - that place is a real throwback. We're also frequent visitors to Oink Johnson's Southern BBQ on Route 611, as well as Ottsville Inn for takeout pizza. At Luberto's Italian Specialties, I like to pick up fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, fresh-baked baguettes, their vodka sauce, and the imported Italian pastas.
Friday evenings at the Ottsville Farmers' Market are always fun - I love seeing all the local purveyors and growers of fruits, vegetables, honey, soaps, seafood (Metropolitan seafood is great) - you name it, it's there! They have a grill on-site, so if you buy something, you can have it grilled right there and eat it on the spot.
Do you have any future plans for the Bucks County area?
Right now, we're still working on making Luna Farm the best it can be. But, as I like to say, "Never say never!"