Jorge Chicas moved to Philly late last year from Washington, D.C., to become the new executive chef at Red Owl Tavern (433 Chestnut St.,215-923-2267)in the Hotel Monaco. He also took on the responsibility of running the show, at least food-wise, for Stratus Lounge and the catering at the hotel, which all operate together. We caught up with the chef and learned about his process, and what he'd be doing to explore his new city — if he had just a little more free time.
You came to Red Owl in November. How is it going so far?
It's going really good. I've been trying to find the right vendors and get the right products for all the menu changes. And I have a lot more changes to come. We're getting ready to roll out a few new items at Stratus. We managed to touch on every venue here at the hotel, and now we work to evolve it a little bit at a time.
What do you think about Philly so far?
To be honest, I moved here in November and I haven't had much chance to explore the city. I've been working nonstop! But I used to come up any time I would hear about a good new restaurant opening up. I'd come and dine and then go back to my kitchen and get to work. It's a growing culinary city and there are very interesting concepts popping up. Having that much potential is a big thing for me.
What neighborhood are you in?
I live in Old City. There's a lot happening here. And it's a hopping place late at night. Hopefully now that we're having better weather I'll be able to go out and explore a little.
Do you have a favorite spring ingredient?
I'm in a completely new area, so I'm excited to check out all the farmers markets when it's time. I'd love to see what's local and what's big in Philly.