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Iron Chef José Garces with new Chef in Residency at Volvér Jennifer Zavala. Photo Credit: Eddy Marenco.
Iron Chef José Garces with new Chef in Residency at Volvér Jennifer Zavala. Photo Credit: Eddy Marenco.

Chef José Garces introduces Chef Jennifer Zavala as next Chef in Residency at Volvér

The Iron Chef will be highlighting diverse chefs by giving them a platform to create their own unique dishes at Volvér.

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Chef José Garces recently announced that Chef Jennifer Zavala will be taking over as the next Chef in Residency at Volvér on Kimmel Cultural Campus.

Her residency will run from March 16 to May 1, 2022.

"I’m so excited to have Chef Jennifer Zavala as our Chef in Residency at Volvér for March and Women’s History Month,” Garces said in a press release. “From selling tamales out of a truck, to finally opening her critically acclaimed spot on Passyunk, Juana Tamale, Chef Zavala is the epitome of Philadelphia grit, passion and tenacity.”

The new in-residency program, which was created by Garces, is called, Chefs in Residency, represents talented, minority culinary artists who will each get the opportunity to showcase their dishes at the Kimmel Cultural campus.

Through the new Residency Program, each Chef will showcase their favorite dishes on the Volvér menu for four to eight weeks and will be served to those who want to enjoy a delicious dinner night.

This idea came as a way to represent chefs who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Volvér's Chef-in-Residency program, and what Jose Garces is doing to elevate local chefs, is remarkable” said Matías Tarnopolsky, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center. "We are excited to experience the Mexican-infused culinary artistry of Jennifer Zavala, who is dedicated to advocacy work that uplifts women, and youth in the community."

Funding will go towards Philly’s Black and Brown youth who have been greatly affected by gun violence that is ruining the city.

The chefs will also get the opportunity to use the money to put it towards their own restaurants or their next business venture.

The money comes from The Garces Foundation.

Zavala is no stranger to the food scene, in fact, her nearly three decade-long career has been going strong. 

In the beginning of her career, Zavala worked at El Camino Real. She then went on to work at one of Garces’ restaurants, Amada.

Jen Zavala smiles as she makes one of her dishes. Photo Courtesy of Chef in Residence.
Jen Zavala smiles as she makes one of her dishes. Photo Courtesy of Chef in Residence. 

In a recent interview, Zavala said that she is excited to be working with Garces again.

Zavala also starred in the hit reality show, Top Chef, in 2009 and has been known for her Mexican-inspired cooking in Philly since.

“I’m thrilled to be back in the kitchen with Garces, partly because I have grown so much since I first started at Amada,” she said.

In addition to her creative meals, such as her bacalao y tamal, Mexican broccoli tortita, and duck fat carnitas, Zavala has some impressive desserts on the menu, such as her corn and honey sundae and her mosaic jello terrine, made with mango, coconut, tamarind, lime, chamoy, oat and granola crumble.

Photo Courtesy of Chef in Residence.

“These dishes were chosen as a way to honor my culture, while also injecting my personality into the food,” said Zavala.

Before Zavala, Argentine-born pastry chef Jezabel Careaga ran Volvér’s kitchen from January 26th to February 13th.

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