On this episode of the Hot Off the Press podcast, Pete welcomes Johnny Hernandez from San Antonio to the show to discuss his culinary journey, his catering background, his path towards being an expert in traditional Mexican food, and his philanthropic efforts in the San Antonio area.
Hernandez worked in his parents’ kitchen as a boy and knew that he wanted to work in the field for the rest of his life. His father encouraged him to get an education at the best culinary school he could find. Hernandez attended the Culinary Institute of America, and he feels the mentoring and education put him on the path to success.
Since then, he has made a name for himself in San Antonio, owning a catering business and a number of restaurants, with five more in the works, inspired by Mexico and focused on authentic Mexican food. Hernandez traveled through Mexico to learn about the food, culture, beverages and décor and became committed to that style. He strives to be the expert on Mexican food in his region of the United States, and that mission drives many of his decisions.
Hernandez has also established Kitchen Campus, a permanent after-school culinary program for high school kids to learn about the restaurant businesses. His annual Paella Challenge has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the program in the past 10 years.