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February 24, 2023

Chef Tonii Hicks takes over residency program at Volvér on Kimmel Campus

The 2022 James Beard Fellow is serving up North African-inspired cuisine to raise money to open a commissary in West Philly

Food & Drink Dining
Volver Tonii Hicks Provided Image/Kory Aversa

Chef Tonii Hicks is taking over the chefs-in-residency program at Volvér on the Kimmel Cultural Campus until March 19. The Drexel University culinary sciences graduate is raising funds to open a commissary in West Philadelphia and create hospitality jobs in the community.

Chef Tonii Hicks, a Drexel University culinary science graduate and James Beard Fellow, is the next cook to be featured as part of Jose Garces' chefs-in-residency program at Volvér on the Kimmel Cultural Campus. 

Garces launched the residency program at the beginning of the pandemic to support minority-owned businesses most impacted by the global health crisis. From now through March 19, Hicks will serve up signature dishes from her North African-inspired menu to raise funds to open a commissary in West Philadelphia and create hospitality jobs in the community. 

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Though Hicks has spent more than a decade studying and working in the restaurant industry, her true passion lies in using culinary arts to educate on and invest in social justice issues across Philadelphia. 

Her resume seems to reflect that: in 2021, Hicks was awarded a Stone Barns Agricultural Fellowship scholarship to present fresh farm-to-table food to residents in low-income communities. In May, she was chosen as a James Beard Fellow and took part in their 10-week program. 

"Philadelphia is a fantastic food town, and homegrown chefs like Tonii are a huge part of what makes our dining scene so amazing," Garces said in a release. "Chef Tonii is a Philly girl through and through, and I'm honored to be a part of her trajectory. She's not just a fantastic chef, but is also incredibly community-focused, and is working to build out a commissary building in West Philadelphia that will help other food entrepreneurs build their success." 

During Hicks' time at Volvér, guests can expect a new collection of small plates, entrees and desserts that will be available in addition to Volvér's permanent menu. The full list of limited-time offerings can be found below. 

Golden beet crudo: picked jicama, chamomile broth, grapefruit ponzu, mint, herb oil 
Shrimp tostada: salt and pepper shrimp, crispy wonton, cabbage stir-fry, duck fat 
Turnip salad: arugula, turnips, carrots, pomegranate seeds, sherry mustard vinaigrette 
Salmon cake: tomato chutney, lemon aioli 
Risotto: stewed lima beans, ham, arugula 
Steamed fish: collard greens and broth, borage flowers 
Lamb chops: black eyed peas, chimichurri 
Churros: peanut butter caramel, toasted almond and coconut 
Cherry water ice: candied cherries, pretzel pieces

For patrons and diners looking to support Hicks, individuals can donate during their meal at Volvér or by using this digital form. Donations can also be made during the meal when the check is presented. 

Tonii HicksVolvér Chefs-in-Residency

Through March 19, 2023
Wednesday through Friday, 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
$56 fixed price
Volvér at the Kimmel Cultural Center
300 S. Broad. St., Philadelphia, PA 19107