Hot Chef: Dave Conn heats up the kitchen at Jose Garces’ Tinto

WEKP_HotChef_DaveConn_0329It’s must feel good to be running the kitchen at a popular Jose Garces restaurant. Chef Dave Conn doesn’t let it go to his head, though. The humble chef is helping to organize monthly pairings at Tinto while he juggles family life, taco competitions, and the occasional cooking demo. Yet he makes it look so easy.

Can you tell me about the upcoming “Txotx!” dinner on April 4th?
It’s part of a monthly program that we’re doing here at Tinto. We feature different spirits from Spain and serve food that compliments them. This next event will feature cider. In May it’ll be cherries, and then we’ll be expanding from there.

How has the turnout been for these dinners?
It varies. We have a 16-seat private dining room, but soon we’ll have a little more space in there to suit each concept. The cider dinner will be a little more casual.

When working at a Jose Garces restaurant, how often do you see the man behind the name?
Well, his travel schedule is getting busier and busier as everything grows with work and the Food Network. But he really does a great job of staying in touch and having a strong line of communication. He’s a great guy to work for. I’ve been with the company since the opening of Amada in 2005.

Earlier this year you gave a cooking demo as a kickoff to Restaurant Week. Do you like teaching?
Yeah, absolutely! I’m open to any opportunity where I get a chance to promote the business. I was also in Arizona, just before we opened a location in Scottsdale, and participated in a taco competition. It was great! There were over fifty competitors, it was so cool. And we won!

Are you from Philly originally?
No, I’m from Maryland. I was cooking in Baltimore through high school and for two years after. Philly was the next logical step.

What’s your neighborhood?
I’m in Graduate Hospital.

Oh yeah? How do you feel about Guy Fieri’s recent trip to Sidecar Bar & Grill?
Get out! I didn’t know he was there. I love Sidecar, that’s my spot. What can you do? It’s not like it’s a bad thing, really.

Is that where you go on your day off?
When I can, yes. But I have a young family – my daughter is almost two and my son was just born in January. My wife and I usually hang around the house, do the family thing on days off.

If you go:
Txotx! Cider Dinner
Tinto
114 S. 20th St.
Thursday, April 4, 7 p.m.,
$50, plus tax and gratuity, reservations required 215-665-9150


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