Every chef loves his toys.
Jose Garces is getting a playground at the Kimmel Center, where his restaurant Volvér is due to open in about two months.
He led a media tour today of the space, which sits on the Spruce Street side of the performing arts center, where the gift shop was.
The architects KieranTimberlake bumped out the building's facade by four feet and installed full windows, while designer Marguerite Rodgers set up the interior with local art, including a dazzling textile mural by Conrad Booker that forms a wall of the lounge.
Her design cleverly separates the larger lounge, where folks can walk in, from the more intimate (40-seat) open kitchen-cum-dining room.
The restaurant will be open five nights a week, he says. This is a departure from the original script, which had insisted that Volver would be open only when Garces was in the house.
"We had to pay some bills," Garces told me with a grin, before adding that he would be in the kitchen as often as he can.
So folks, meet. Natalie Maronski, who has been one of his chefs since his Amada-only days eight years ago.
As chef de cuisine, executing what Garces calls a "world menu" based on his travels - to Tokyo for his Iron Chef work, to Spain and Latin America for his cookbook travels. Volvér means "return," as in a return home.
As for the toys: Volver's kitchen, whose marble counter will remain open and uncluttered so guests can watch the acton, has a cooking island "like a Ferrari," Garces says.
It's a testament to shiny metal, with a flattop grill, six-burner stove, induction cooking, Rational oven, smoker, pressure fryer (he's threatening to do amazing chicken in it), rotary evaporator, sonic emulsifier, and a CVap.