Behind The Scenes: Jose Garces’s Farmhouse

The inside scoop on our October Home feature (plus, Garces’s top picks for make-at-home fall dishes!)

Photography by Steve Giralt

Shooting a 12-page home feature is difficult enough. Add two kids under 10, an English bulldog, a just-painted dining room (the paint had barely dried in time for the shoot!), and the constant threat of rain, and you’ve got a recipe for pure chaos. Well, unless you’re shooting Jose Garces’s place.

Maybe it was the bucolic setting that calmed us, or the fact that the rain held off all day, or the charm and graciousness of the entire Garces clan, but the day ended up being a success, and it was almost enough to make me want to live out in the country. I traipsed around the property with Jose, and he excitedly told me about his plans for the space, why he loves the country, and what he’s cooking for fall.

On choosing Ottsvile for his weekend getaway spot:
“We looked for a retreat, but we also looked for a place where we could do agriculture for the restaurant because we are interested in producing our own food. It took us six months to find the place. A lot of times we found the farm but not the house, or we found the house but it didn’t have the farm possibilities.”

On what he’ll be cooking this season:
“I’ll be doing more shopping at the farmers’ markets, getting fresh ingredients and really using all my cooking knowledge that I have and preparing fresh meals. Not a ton of technique.”

On his favorite ingredient for fall:
“Anything in the squash family—acorn, butternut. They tell me to put spice and sweetness in [the dish], which are two of my favorite attributes in food, whether it’s honey or maple syrup or agave nectar. Plus, the use of hard spices speak to the fall.”

On country living:
“We feel like this is a place we’ll be for a long, long, time. I think this area is a gem that maybe isn’t spoken about. Until you spend time out here, I don’t think you can appreciate it as much. It’s totally relaxing, and it’s an incredible balance. It’s changed my whole perspective on living in Philly.”

On family fun:
“[The kids] have a trampoline out there. They go for walks; they have their bikes. We canoe and fish and have all the great outdoor experiences that I was definitely deprived of as a kid. I grew up in the city, in Chicago, and it was pretty urban for my whole period there.”

On letting his (gorgeous!) wife in this kitchen:
“I usually cook on weekends. [Beatriz] does a great job prepping. We tag-team.”

Check out photos from inside Jose’s farmhouse here.