Jose Garces Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

"I knew that I was good at this when I opened Amada, my first restaurant, in 2005," he said. "And I always knew that I had a talent in the kitchen, but I never knew that my business acumen was what it is. To be in this business long-term, you got to have a good amount of creativity and have a good personal business acumen. So when I knew that we could succeed on a business level, I knew that we'd be good for a while."

Garces does not seem to have looked back. He is the executive chef and owner of every restaurant in his stable. The Garces Restaurant Group employs 500 people. He is back in the middle of another season of "Iron Chef." In 2008, he came out with a cookbook, "Latin Evolution."

"I carry a lot of weight on these shoulders day in and day out," Garces said. "[I am] just someone who's trying to do good, be creative and really live a fulfilling life."

Jose Garces: Kids in the Kitchen

True to the model set by his parents and grandparents, Garces' fulfilling life is built in large part around his family.

"I have a daughter and son -- daughter Olivia, son Andres," he said. "Being around the dinner table with my kids is a really special environment for them to grow up in -- around food, around family. And they're very appreciative of what they have. And I mean eating and cooking with them, 'cause they're very interested in cooking as well, is special, just a special place to be.

"If Olivia and Andres came to me and said 'Daddy, we want to be in the restaurant business,' I would absolutely welcome it, because I'm not doing this for myself, I'm doing it for them. But at the same time, you know, they need to decide what they want to do and be happy in whatever that is. But I would welcome it."

We asked Garces what was next: Does he plan on taking over the world?

"If we could do it positively, and we could do it well, then it works," he said. "It's really not financially motivated, it's about what works. ... Positivity, that's one of the things I try to spread throughout my company and really anyone I come in contact with. Because as you know, life's too short. You got to keep it positive and keep it fun."

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