The Notorious Jose G.

Our TV correspondent Anthony Sica was at Jose Garces’ Next Iron Chef viewing party at Distrito and has filed this report.

Last night brought forth the ultimate battle of chefdom with Philly’s Jose Garces going up against New York’s Jehangir Mehta for the title of Iron Chef in Battle Ribs and Racks.

The party at Distrito started filling up around 8 and Garces himself was two seats away from me at bar until his autograph line got so long they moved him back by the vintage Volkswagen.

On the menu was loads of Distrito fare: ceviches ( pulpo, shrimp, hamachi), tacos ( hamachi, tuna, and the Carnitas he won with on the show), Los Hongos flatbread , lamb chops, and shrimp , chicken, and beef skewers. There was also an amazing guacamole and salsa station that should be rented out for weddings.

The bar was open and not at all stingy with margaritas, sangria, wine, and beer.

The place was PACKED for the start of the show, with people (including Marc Vetri) lining the steps to the second level to watch on the big screen. The energy was stellar as Jose and family tucked away into a private karaoke booth to watch the show. Next Iron Chef contestant Seamus Mullen also showed up to support Jose.

The coolest moment of the night had to be when The Chairman finally announced Jose to be the Next Iron Chef. Garces comes out of his booth to “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G. and ran around the first floor Cantina dishing out high fives like he was a pro wrestler (including a rather hearty one to yours truly).

Being named Iron Chef is only the beginning for Garces. His reservation books are filling up by the second and now it’s onto the floor of Kitchen Stadium to prove he belongs among the culinary pantheon. We in Philly have seen his greatness for some time now, now the entire country will have their eyes on Philly’s Whiskey King.

Congratulations to Garces and his staff on their accomplishment. And congrats to Philly for providing the perfect setting to make it all happen.

Allez Cuisine!!!!!!

Stop back throughout the day for more Jose Garces and Next Iron Chef coverage.