Volvér serves up new Chef in Residency Program with reopening

Chef Jose Garces and Kiki Aranita
Eddy Marenco

Re-openings have been plentiful throughout Philadelphia, but there’s one on the horizon that brings a lot of meaning to the city as well.

Recently, Chef Jose Garces announced the much-anticipated reopening of Volvér on the Kimmel Cultural Campus just in time for the return of in-person performing arts, and with the opening also comes an all-new Chefs in Residency Program. The program, which is aimed to spotlight the region’s top rising stars and emerging chefs, will hyper-focus on minority chefs that were affected by the pandemic.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Eddy Marenco

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. As the release states, 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 Garces’ popular spot officially reopened last week, and diners have already been enjoying the 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. Being at a prime location to the Avenue of the Arts, the atmosphere takes on the vibe of the locale—creative, stylish and full of energy. Volvér, which is Spanish for ‘to return’, will celebrate not only the return of the 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.

According to the release, Volvér’s cuisine will continue to highlight 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 return, Chef will continue on his global journey and present French inspired cuisine (which was inspired by the 2019-2020 season that was cut short due to the mandatory closures in March 2020) 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.

Eddy Marenco

But what’s a dish without a drink to compliment the experience? The new program also features a well-rounded bar program that Garces says 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.

However, 17 months in the making, the new Chefs in Residency Program officially kicks off on Oct. 6 with Chef Kiki Aranita of Poi Dog Philly. Patrons will find seven signature dishes by Kiki alongside dishes by Chef Jose Garces.

The opening night celebration for the collaboration with Garces and Aranita will take place Oct. 7 and her dishes will be on the menu until Nov. 28.

“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,” said Chef Aranita in a statement.

Dishes from Aranita include: Ahi Poke Tostada, Egg Tofu with Maui Lavender Ponzu, Maple Salmon Gau Gee with Black Garlic Mayo, Perilla Roasted Mushrooms with Forbidden Rice and Collard Lu’au, Kalua Pig Tacos with Shiso and Chili Peppah Water Pineapple Salsa, Andagi with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and much more.

Eddy Marenco

As the release states, the new Chefs in Residency Program will raise funds to support the inaugural line-up of chefs and their current and 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.

For more information visit philadelphia.volverrestaurant.com