My passion for food began when I was five years old at my father's restaurant in a San Antonio Westside neighborhood. Some of my earliest memories include the aroma of freshly made tortillas from the next-door molino, meals of savory barbacoa and handmade tamales. My father's firm hand and conviction of self-improvement through education encouraged me to leave home after high school to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York and become a chef. Early on, my career took me to some of the most exclusive resorts in the country including the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California.
But it was my yearning for home, the love of my culture, and my entrepreneurial spirit that led me back to San Antonio. In 1994, I opened True Flavors Catering and quickly built a solid reputation. Since its inception, True Flavors has notably grown to be one of San Antonio's most regarded caterers, receiving the 2006 Operator of the Year award and being a two-time recipient of the National Association of Catering Executives' Caterer of the Year.
Throughout the years, I have been inspired by Mexico and the cultural distinctiveness of each region's art, agriculture, and most importantly, the cuisine. Mexico's food and traditions inspired me to bring authentic and accessible interior Mexican cuisine to American diners. Opened in 2010, La Gloria is that vision realized. The menu reflects the culinary treasures I discovered in the pueblitos, mountains and coastal villages of Mexico-- from the aromatic 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 New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, Washington Post, USA Today, Food & Wine, Texas Monthly, Bon Appetit, Poder, Travel & Leisure, NBC Latino, Southern Living and many others.
My second restaurant venture, The Frutería - Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez, opened in 2012 in the heart of San Antonio's Southtown and was inspired by Mexico's colorful fruit stalls. This unique eatery offers fresh fruit cups, licuados (smoothies), tortas and tostadas during the day and by night, the space transforms into a contemporary Botanero offering botana-style Mexican tapas and fruit-infused specialty tequilas and cocktails. We have expanded La Gloria and The Frutería into Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the San Antonio International Airport. My hope is to share with our customers what I love most about Mexico: the vibrant culture, its hospitality and last, but certainly not least, its wonderful cuisine.
Hope you keep in touch and visit us at restaurants.
Johnny P. Hernandez