Meet Us

Jose Garces

Chef Jose Garces 2009 - 5 - Casual

Since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as one of the nation’s most gifted chefs. He has opened seven additional restaurants; authored a stunning cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008); won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award 2009; and won Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, making him one of just six chefs in the country to hold the title of Iron Chef America. Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants form his eponymous Garces Restaurant Group.

He is owner and executive chef of each, and all are counted among the city’s best: Amada, an Andalusian tapas bar and restaurant; Tinto, a Basque wine bar and restaurant; Distrito,
a modern Mexican restaurant; Chifa, a Latin-Asian restaurant; Village Whiskey, a classic
American bar; Garces Trading Company, a gourmet market and café that is also the name
of his retail group; JG Domestic, an artisanal American restaurant; and Guapos Tacos, a
mobile truck serving modern Mexican street food. He also sells his own line of custom roasted coffee and espresso beans, both online and at Garces Trading Company.

Chef Garces is also the executive chef at Chicago’s much-praised Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa. Both Distrito and Mercat were named to Esquire magazine’s list of “20 Best New Restaurants, 2008.” In addition, Chef Garces wrote first cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008), and is hard at work on a second. In 2010, Chef Garces won Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, and now appears regularly on Iron Chef America. He has been featured on top TV shows and in prestigious publications such as Today Show, Nightline, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Wall Street Journal.

An American chef born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Chef Garces began his culinary training in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother, Mamita Amada. Today, he is known for his wide smile and educational approach to food, as well as his mastery of a diverse range of cuisines and ingredients.

For more information on Chef Jose Garces or any of his restaurants, please visit and follow them on Twitter: @garcesgroup.

Andy Pishko



Andy Pishko oversees the food and beverage operations at Mercat a la Planxa. To bring the Catalan-inspired cuisine and cocktails to life, he relies on the full hierarchy of his staff to drive creativity and ensure guest satisfaction. “My philosophy is to always have a team-first attitude and continually push my team to achieve,” explains Pishko, who joined the Sage Restaurant Group establishment in April 2015. “From the managers and chefs to the servers and dishwashers, everyone has a key role to play in our success. Developing all elements of the team not only ensures our business moves in a positive direction, but that opportunities can present themselves and have lifelong, positive impacts on the people who work with me.”

He reminds his staff that it all comes back to the idea of just how universal it is to share a meal; that there’s a time and a place for the latest techniques and trends, but guests ultimately want to feel cared for—and that type of service speaks volumes. Beyond guiding his team, Pishko feels the greatest joy from providing the type of experience guests remember and repeatedly come back for. “Having the ability to influence someone’s day through a great meal and a well-crafted cocktail makes all the long hours and chaos that comes with a restaurant worthwhile.”

Pishko’s hospitality career arose from that desire of bringing joy to others. After obtaining his degree in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he moved to Chicago in 2001 and soon found himself gravitating toward work in the restaurant industry. He quickly made his way up the managerial ladder.

The Ann Arbor, MI, native lives in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood with his wife, Julia, and children Edie and Avery. He enjoys spending his free time with his family, playing music, and dabbling in the craft of homebrewing.


Meet Us |
312-765-0524 Hours: Sun-Thu 06:30am - 10pm Fri-Sat 07am — 11pm Takes Reservations: Yes

Meet Us |

Published by Mercat a la Planxa on

638 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60605 Tel 312 765 0524