By Vittoria Woodill


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Celebrity chef Jose Garces has some great restaurants in Philadelphia and making sure the menu items are right starts in his test kitchen. At Amada, his Spanish Tapas-style restaurant in Old City, it’s no different.

When dining out, there’s nothing quite as tantalizing than cracking open a menu to see what makes you salivate. You’re not the only one hoping for that reaction either.

“That moment as an artist is instant gratification and my driving factor,” Garces said.

For iron chef Garces, creating menus to wow his diners for each of his 12 restaurants requires a dedicated test kitchen, weekly tastings and the experience of his culinary staff to interpret the ingredient or concept he has in mind.

“It’s challenging because again I get a direction,” one of Garces’ chefs said. “And I try it, I think this is what it’s supposed to be, I think I got this. Then I’m like, here chef and he’s like, ‘This is not what I’m thinking. Why don’t we try again.'”

Currently, they’re working on two versions of a Spanish-style ratatouille dish to add to the summer menu of Amada.

One has a bubbling gratin-style top and more tomato.

(Credit: CBS3)

The other has a blooming view of hand-rolled cured zucchini and salsa verde.

(Credit: CBS3)

Only one of the two items will make it on the menu. Stay tuned.

Vittoria Woodill