Upon walking in, the tavern-ambiance is undeniable; antlers hang stoically on the wall and the dim lighting lures customers in for a comforting meal and a warming drink. Despite all the decor though, there’s no denying that the main focus of the Esquire is the bar. Enter: Jeret Peña- the tavern keeper, the head bartender, the revered mixologist who is garnering rave reviews left and right. From a Rising Star Award to his recent James Beard nomination, we were delighted to sit down with Jeret and take a look back on his rise to stardom.Peña got his start at the Valencia Hotel in a Banquet Event setting, dabbling for the first time in the bartending scene. He later moved on to the Watermark, and while there, was asked by the General Manger to host a tequila seminar for the San Antonio Current. It was then that he had to learn as much as he possibly could about the spirit, calling it “So complex, sophisticated and beautiful.” Peña then went on to be the Ambassador for Partida Tequila for 2 years, and it was there that the door to mixology was opened. What happened next was the defining moment- a stint at Anvil, a respected bar in Houston, would change the course of Peña’s career. Like many of us, finding a mentor you can really learn from and look up to can have a huge impact on your direction. Peña met his mentor, Bobby Heugel, one of the owners of Anvil, and the rest is history. Recalling his time with Bobby at Anvil, he said, “I saw a craft I knew nothing about- the fluid movement, the alchemy- it was mesmerizing.” Since this turning point, Jeret has proved himself to be one of the leaders in the field. His innovative thinking and ability to push the envelope and explore new territory has brought about some well-deserved accolades as of late. StarChefs.com, a magazine for culinary insiders, recently honored “the best of the best” from the Austin and San Antonio dining scenes. A total of 19 awards were given out, with Peña taking home the Mixologist Honor.When receiving the “Rising Star” Accolade in a crowd of 400 people in Austin, Peña recalled thinking “I have momentum. It was wild-I felt honored to be on stage with so many amazing chefs.” After sharing the news to his family and friends, he admitted that the James Beard Award was next up on the list. Little did he know, just a few weeks later, that he would be getting a nomination from the coveted organization’s Bar and Cocktail Program. Clearly, it’s a huge honor, and Jeret smiled as he said, “It’s a little creepy.” here! Visit the Esquire at 155 East Commerce Street San Antonio, Texas 78205 Image Credits
All of us at Mission Restaurant Supply are gearing up for the long-awaited, 3rd annual Chefs Under Fire competition! Hosted by the Keeper Collection LLC, this unique competition brings together enormous culinary talent, with celebrity chefs and plenty of fire to heat things up in the kitchen.
Mission will be sponsoring Chefs Under Fire again this year, and we will be present first at the SA/Austin Regional Event, which takes place on Sunday September 11th.
Regional events will also be taking place in the greater Houston area and Dallas/Fort Worth. On October 16th, the winners from each regional will come together in Austin for the final event and cook off. Finalists will be asked to prepare a unique dish which will be judged by Celebrity Chefs Kent Rathbum, Tyson Cole, and David Bull. Depending on who shows the most skill, innovation, and overall excellence with their dish, the 3 gentlemen will award two contestants as winners of Chefs Under Fire :: The Winner overall and the Fan Favorite. Mission will be supplying the 2 stock pot trophies with engraved gold plaques stating their newly earned title.To learn more or buy tickets to attend one of the Chefs Under Fire events, click here.
|San Antonio is known as the capital of Mexican food. Finding someone who makes authentic Mexican food however, is a little bit more difficult because restaurant chefs tend to modify their food for more American tastes. Chef Blanca Aldaco refuses to risk losing the original flavors of Mexico in her food by adding ingredients that aren’t authentic. “I’ve always said that my food is more Mex than Tex. I make my food fresh and with true Mexican flair. There are no substitutes and you can be rest assured that my food will amaze your taste buds,” said Blanca. She has been creating delicious Mexican cuisine in San Antonio for more than twenty years now and is most well-known for introducing the famous tres leches cake and the avocado martini to South Texas.
|Chef Aldaco is dedicated to perfecting every aspect of her successful venue, from front-of-house operations to back-of-house, to making unique food and specialty drinks from scratch, and to making sure that each guest leaves more satisfied than the last time. “The key is organization and attention to detail. So many restaurants lack these two key traits and that’s why they fail. We never miss a detail and our guests don’t leave upset,” she said, also stating that, “Our chefs and event planners always have a plan and timeline. We want to be accountable for everything that happens in this restaurant.” Make just one visit to Aldaco’s and you’ll see exactly what she means. The service, food, drinks, entertainment, and views from the hill top or the train station mold together seamlessly and make for one incredible experience. Blanca has a number of guests that are dedicated to her and to her business, which has a lot to do with her generosity towards the community. She has head started several charities and hosted events in honor of complete strangers. One project that she began was the “Perfect Stranger” charity event, which raised money for a man that had been diagnosed with cancer but couldn’t afford the escalating hospital costs. In just a few short weeks, she and the local community raised more than $30,000 for the man’s family. Blanca Aldaco also recognized the need for more chairs at sporting events at her daughter’s high school. With the help of other parents, $6,000 was raised to purchase new chairs with the high school’s name on them. “I want to do anything that I can to help, even if I don’t know who it is I’m helping.”|
If you would like to visit Aldaco’s or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.aldacos.net/ or call 210.222.0561
Thank you to Chef Aldaco and her amazing team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: email@example.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 234
Chef Gabriel Diaz is amazing. Why? He works harder than anyone I know, he’s incredibly humble, and his food is insanely good. Not to mention he plans to take on an even heavier work load in the coming weeks and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. “When I’m at home my time is spent with my family, but when I’m at work my time is spent figuring out what I can do next. I’m always experimenting, and teaching, and implementing.”
Just recently when the chefs of The Lion & Rose were asked who was interested in heading the new catering program Chef Diaz jumped at the opportunity. He told us that the best part of his job is being a part of the growth. “The more the company grows, the more I grow. By taking on the new catering program, I had a chance to develop my cooking skills even more.” The Lion & Rose doesn’t plan on taking baby steps either. With five successful stores opened in two different cities in just five short years there’s no reason to hold back. The Lion & Rose concept was one the first of its kind in San Antonio, which paved the way for immediate expansion and a huge fan base.
In the coming months, Chef Diaz and his team plan to take on a number of different projects to ensure a solid presence in San Antonio and beyond. “We have five restaurants, a catering program, a brand new tea-time menu, we provide room service to a local hotel, we make deliveries, and we host events. On top of that we have a community that supports us because we have an owner that believes in supporting the community. He’s very generous,” Diaz told us.
The Lion & Rose supports a long list of organizations by giving charitable donations, hosting quarterly dinners for the Wounded Warriors of San Antonio, participating the yearly Renaissance Festival for St. Francis Church, supporting the Race for the Cure, and getting involved with sports teams across the state. It really is quite amazing how such a small team of dedicated foodservice professionals can take on so much. According to Chef Diaz, “You have to just get out of your comfort zone, step into the fire, and empower yourself. I personally kind of like the fire – it excites me. It works for me and for this business.”
If you would like to visit The Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.thelionandrose.com/ or call 210.878.0034.
Thank you to Chef Diaz and his amazing team for their time and efforts.
If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (210) 354-0690 ext. 243
After frequenting Papa Louie’s Diner since it opened in December and realizing how incredible the food was, I knew that we had to feature Chef Martinez. I have never met a chef that remembered every single one of his guest’s names and where they were from. On top of that, he remembers what they order and how they like their food prepared. He even greets his guests out on the sidewalk right outside of his small family-owned restaurant in Southtown. He told us, “San Antonio is big on tourism, but getting the locals attention is always important. They come back over and over, and that’s what I want.”
But, Chef Martinez’s style of cooking didn’t come from San Antonio – it was influenced by the food and culture he experienced while living in Chicago. “I love the music, the food, the people, the nightlife,” he said, “I wanted to bring that to my venue here.” Living in Chicago is actually what inspired Chef Martinez to go to culinary school in the first place at CIC (Culinary Institute of Chicago) in 2000. Nearly ten years later, Papa Louie’s was born and has become a local hotspot in San Antonio.
The food and atmosphere are outstanding and everything is made to order. “I don’t believe in making food come out super fast. I believe in quality and consistency, and I’ve found that guests are willing to wait because they end up enjoying a great meal that was prepared exactly how they wanted it. I am in the kitchen 100% of the time when orders are coming in.”
Chef Martinez also mentioned that he loves being involved in his community and making the most out of his restaurant’s locale. In the coming months he plans to host tequila tastings with another local shop, get involved with local charities, and host events that bring out the essence of Southtown and the King William district. “You have to support your community if you want it to support you.” He couldn’t be more right. One of the best things about Southtown and King William is that the community comes together on a regular basis to help others and plan big events that the whole city enjoys. “
Locals love seeing you out and about and seeing that you’re involved in community activities. I buy a lot of fruits and veggies from ‘produce row’ down the street and I frequent other local restaurants and bars so I run into my restaurant guests from time to time.” There’s no denying that downtown residents of San Antonio are excited about Chef Martinez’s presence and the growth of Papa Louie’s Diner. In five short months, Papa Louie’s has received great reviews and wonderful comments about its unique style and food. It’s definitely safe to assume that this local diner is going to be around for a long time.
If you would like to visit Papa Louie’s Diner or learn more about the venue, please contact them at: email@example.com or call 210.532.3115
Thank you to Chef Martinez and his amazing team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (210) 354-0690 ext. 243
|At Mission Restaurant Supply we have a lot of love for our customers. Every individual in our company is dedicated to our community and to each other. That’s why we decided that we wanted to feature chefs around the country that we have had the honor of getting to know on a personal level and that we believe have truly influenced the foodservice industry in a very positive way. These individuals are pioneers in the kitchen and beyond. They are not only determined to deliver an incredible experience, but also dedicated to the well being of their guests and staff.|
We thought it would only be appropriate to feature Chef Boatman and his team at Silo Elevated Cuisine for our very first Chef Feature. Never have we found a more humble man or group of ‘culinarians’ (they refuse to use the terms “executive chef” and “cooks” in their kitchen). Their ‘culinarians’ are dedicated to making dishes that are delicious and breathtaking all while working closely together and learning from one another. “I believe my values and work ethic have influenced my staff well,” says Boatman, “I do not ask them to do anything that I am not doing or will not do with them.” Chef Boatman said that his favorite part of the job is the creative aspect and his unlimited ability to influence his staff. “We lead trends, not follow them.” That statement couldn’t be more accurate. Silo Elevated Cuisine’s menu has a wide variety of options, from duck spring rolls and Black Angus beef lettuce wraps to Chilean sea bass and chicken fried oysters over pasta. They never cease to amaze.
Boatman believes that a chef has to remember how they got to where they are and how they are going to anticipate the needs and tastes of their guests. To him, the best way to do that by changing products frequently to make sure that everything is high quality. “Our goal is a true dining experience,” he says, “In today’s world everyone goes out to eat, but an ‘experience’ is being able to have a great meal, great service, and great entertainment all in one place. We back this up with staff and the best quality product.”
Not only are Chef Boatman and his crew focused on excellence in the work place, they are also devoted to their community. The team at Silo helps raise money for the SA YES Foundation, which provides school supplies and scholarships to low income students in the San Antonio and South Texas areas. They also take part in other educational programs that benefit culinary students. When asked what he would suggest to other restaurant chefs and managers, Chef Boatman replied, “Today we have taken a few steps back in time. Right now we are having to be more productive than we ever have with these economic times. Hire the right people and move on the ones that do not fit your values. It is better to have a quality team than a team on quantity.” If you would like to visit Silo Elevated Cuisine or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.siloelevatedcuisine.com/
Thank you to Chef Boatman and his amazing team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: email@example.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 243