BIOGRAPHY:

Johnny Hernandez

Johnny Hernandez

Business

Chef Johnny Hernandez’s passion for Latin food began at the early age of five in his father’s Westside San Antonio restaurant. Raised in a community of first-generation Mexican American families, Chef Hernandez grew up surrounded by the foods and traditions that made their way across the border. Some of his earliest memories include the aroma of freshly made tortillas from the next-door molino, meals of savory barbacoa, and handmade tamales. Encouraged by his father to become a chef, he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York.

With a world-class culinary education, Chef Hernandez launched his career at some of the most exclusive resorts in the country, including the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California. It was an entrepreneurial spirit and love for his cultura that led him to return to San Antonio. In 1994, he opened his first venture, True Flavors Catering and quickly garnered a reputation as a rising star in the culinary scene, with True Flavors earning national recognition for catering excellence. As his career progressed, he began to hone a distinctive culinary style shaped by his early influences, and the diverse experiences of his growing travels.

The most profound influence on Chef Hernandez’s culinary style and artistic sensibility has been his extensive travel throughout interior Mexico. His time spent to exploring the cultural nuances of each region’s art, agricultural, and most importantly, street food, shaped his vision to create authentic and accessible interior Mexican street food for American diners. That vision was realized in 2010 with the opening of the acclaimed eatery, La Gloria, situated on the grounds of the Historic Pearl Brewery. La Gloria offers diners an authentic Mexican street food experience, with a menu that reflects the culinary treasures found in the pueblitos, mountains and coastal villages of Mexico-- from the savory carnitas of Michoacán and the succulent tortas ahogadas of Guadalajara, to the complex and refined tequilas born from Jalisco’s blue agave fields. La Gloria has been featured in Texas Monthly, Bon Appetit, Poder, Travel & Leisure, NBC Latino and Southern Living. A second location was opened in 2012 at the San Antonio International Airport.

Chef Hernandez built upon the unique dining experience created at La Gloria with his next venture, Casa Hernán. The special events venue opened in 2012 in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Designed to evoke the grandeur of historic haciendas of Merida, Mexico, Casa Hernán, plays host to private events and culinary special events, such as the chef’s celebrated Barbacoa brunch and has been featured in Saveur, Martha Stewart Magazine and Emmy nominated program, Simply Ming.

His next venture, The Fruteria - Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez opened in late 2012, in San Antonio’s historic Southtown neighborhood. Inspired by the traditional fruit stands of Mexico, the unique eatery is a new take on the Mexican botanero- a casual place people gather to enjoy tapas- style Mexican appetizers and cocktails. The menu is crafted to highlight the fresh and vibrant flavors of locally sourced, seasonal frutas and verduras and features lighter fare such as hand squeezed licuados (juices), savory tortas, delicate tostadas, and cocktails handcrafted of seasonal fruit and premium Mexican spirits. The Fruteria quickly gained notoriety for its fresh take on interior Mexican cuisine and in 2013 opened its second location at Bush International airport in Houston.

In March 2014, Chef Hernandez opened his third dining concept, El Machito, located in the former Alamo Cement Company building in San Antonio’s Quarry Market. A celebration of all things meat, El Machito specializes in mesquite grilled meats prepared in the style of the carne asadas of northern Mexico and the campestre style of Guadalajara. Specialties include grilled heritage pork, hand- made Mexican sausages and the chef’s signature dish-- locally sourced cabrito asado. Meats are prepared on an open hand-crafted asadero (grill), which serves as the focal point of the casually elegant space. Diners can enjoy traditional Mexican side dishes and garnishes, along a full service bar that boasts the most extensive selection of Mexican wines in the US. 2014 also saw the opening of Hernandez’s molino, Tortilleria La Gloria which utilizes traditional, old world methods to produce freshly made corn products for each of his establishments, as well as other San Antonio area restaurants.

In addition to his acclaimed eateries, Chef Hernandez has acted as spokesperson and consultant to McCormick Spice Company, Aguacates of Mexico, the National Pork Board and The Culinary Institute of America. He has been recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the Top 50 Influential Hispanics of 2012, one of the Top 5 Hispanic Chefs in America by Siempre Mujer Magazine and awarded the “San Pasqual Award of Culinary Excellence” by the New World Wine and Food Festival. Chef Hernandez also appeared as a Guest Judge on Season 9 of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Chef Hernandez’s newest developments include working with distilleries in Oaxaca to create his own line of mescal, styled for the American palette, and he continues to build partnerships with artisans throughout Mexico for his own retail line. As a result of a strategic alliance with international restaurant company HMSHost, Chef Hernandez’s additional restaurant ventures include San Antonio and Houston airport locations of Steak & Shake, The Tapenade Mediterranean Grill and Mission City Icehouse. He is currently writing two cookbooks detailing his culinary adventures and the “arte popular” of Mexico.

Chef Hernandez’s mission is the celebration and preservation of the traditional food, ingredients and techniques of interior Mexico. This mission serves as the guiding principle behind each of his endeavors. As his success and recognition continue to grow, Chef Hernandez also maintains his commitment to the local community that inspired him to pursue a culinary career. He bases his thriving catering business in the same Westside neighborhood where he was raised, mentors young Hispanic aspiring chefs and gives back through extensive involvement in numerous community, non-profit and professional organizations such as the Latin Foods Advisory Board of the Culinary Institute of America, the New World Wine and Food Festival, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the St. Philips Culinary Advisory Board and was appointed by Mayor Julian Castro to serve as a commissioner for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Hispanic Organization for Public Employees IRS Certification | 501(C)(3) Tax Exempt Letter