Chef Johnny Hernandez is a San Antonio chef who is renowned for his mastery of authentic, regional Mexican food. His passion began as a young child in his father’s restaurant and has evolved to include his own restaurant concepts – La Gloria, El Machito, and The Frutería, all inspired by his love for his Mexican roots and culture.
Chef Hernandez shares his thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican cuisine.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for Hispanics to honor their culture. It inspires me to carry on my family’s traditions and to continue sharing Mexico’s distinctive foods and hospitality.
What is your number one tip for home cooks?
My number one tip for home cooks is that they should have fun in the kitchen and not overthink it. Cooking is a creative process. Another good tip is that home cooks should taste what they are preparing as they go along. It gives them time to fix anything they think might be off.
What new food trends are you seeing and most excited about?
One of the food trends that I’m seeing is that foods from different countries are getting more and more popular. Americans have become more adventurous and are seeking bolder flavors. Mexican food, in particular, is very hot right now and continues to evolve.
What is your favorite, unexpected way of using Tabasco?
One unexpected way that I use Tabasco is in tartar sauce. Tabasco not only adds a touch of heat to what you cook, it also enhances the flavors of any food. It really makes the taste of a dish like tartar sauce pop.
How do you see Latin food developing?
Other cuisines have had their run – Chinese, Italian, and Japanese. I think that Mexican food is next. I’m currently working in London, the gateway to Europe, and Mexican food is the hottest and fastest growing food trend in the United Kingdom.
What is your most memorable meal?
My most memorial meal is the one that I served to President Obama at the White House for Cinco de Mayo this year. I had the unique opportunity to share my love of Mexican food with the president of the United States. I think that experience really represents the meaning of Hispanic Heritage Month.