¡Arriba el Norte! – Presenters

Read about our renowned presenting chefs and Latin cuisine experts.

 MICHAEL BROCKMAN is corporate chef and sales support for Wood Stone, which makes stone hearth ovens and specialty commercial cooking equipment for the foodservice industry. As part of the Wood Stone culinary team, Mike works with customers and provides them with demonstration cooking, sales, and service support.
 JUAN RAMÓN CÁRDENAS is the owner of restaurants El Meson Principal and Don Artemio, as well as the catering company Villa Ferre, all in Saltillo, Coahuila. A native of Northern Mexico, he proudly represents the cuisine of that region. Chef Cárdenas has been given the title of “Mr. Cabrito”—referring to his unique skills preparing goat that he learned in the fields with producers, in slaughterhouses, and in kitchens. He serves cabrito in both traditional and modern ways and has been asked to prepare his unique recipes for many famous people, including the last three presidents of Mexican. Chef Cárdenas recently received national recognition as the “Best Caterer in Mexico.” He has also been recognized by national and regional publications, and has appeared as expert guest chef on a number of television shows.
 ILIANA DE LA VEGA is co-owner and chef of El Naranjo Restaurant in Austin, TX. For the five years prior to opening her restaurant, she served as the Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). At the CIA, she conducted research, developed curricula, and taught classes to undergraduates, professionals, and food enthusiasts. She also helped launch the CIA’s Latin Cuisines Certificate Program. Before joining the faculty of the college, Iliana won worldwide acclaim for her reinterpretation of Oaxacan cuisine at her restaurant El Naranjo in Oaxaca, Mexico, which she ran with her husband, chef Ernesto Torrealba. In 2014, the Mexican government honored Chef de la Vega with the prestigious Ohtli—the highest award given to Mexicans living abroad—in recognition for her work in Mexican gastronomy. Also in 2014, the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Chef de la Vega the Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year.
 ALAIN DUBERNARD is the department chair of baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of American, San Antonio, TX (CIA). In this position, he supports and participates in the development of curriculum and intellectual property, and delivers and insures quality classroom instruction. Chef Dubernard has also served as associate dean of baking and pastry at the CIA’s Hyde Park, NY campus. Before coming to the CIA, Chef Dubernard was production consultant for Pasteleria Alcazar in Mexico City and general director and consultant at Snob, Café Gourmet in Mexico City. He also consulted for Café Miro and Aeropan in Culiacán, Mexico and Pasteleria Francesa S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City. He was chef-owner and general manager of La Balance Pâtisserie in Mexico City, assistant chef at La Petite Chocolatière in Paris, chef de partie at Hôtel Bristol in Paris, and commis pâtissier/chef de tour for Roux Restaurants Ltd. in London.
 ANGEL R. GARCIA is from Tampico, Mexico where he was born into a family steeped in the restaurant business. Their restaurant, El Porvenir has been serving high-qiuality dishes in the Tampico tradition for more than 90 years. After two decades of running the family restaurant, Angel decided to travel the world to learn about new flavor combinations. Always seeking new knowledge, he chose to study at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and graduated in 2013. His innovative and flavorful approach to authentic Mexican cuisine has been widely recognized. In 2013, he was invited to the Mexican Embassy in St. Lucia to preside over a dinner for 300, marking Mexican independence. Attendees included representatives of the Queen of England and other foreign diplomats. In 2014, he organized a celebratory dinner marking the 92nd anniversary of El Porvenir. It ws a 15 course dinner prepared by 15 different chefs, and paired with Mexican wines, tequilas, mezcal, and beer. Chef Garcia recently served as a judge on the TV show Master Chef as an invited judge in Bogota, Columbia.
 GERMÁN GONZÁLEZ is owner and Master Distiller at T1 Tequila Uno. He learned to handcraft tequila using traditional techniques at his father’s Tequilera La Gonzalena in Mexico. There, they produced Chinaco, the first ultra-premium tequila imported to the U.S. After years serving as Chinaco’s master distiller, Germán launched his own brand T1 Tequila LLC in the United States. There he created T1 Reserva Especial—the first tequila every aged for eleven years. His company is known for creating tequila using traditional methods with mature agave and no additives. His newest tequila creation is called Tears of Ilorona. Germán has also championed the opening of tequila markets in such places as the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, and Canada.
 MELISSA GUERRA is a self-taught culinary expert and food historian, specializing in Texas regional and Mexican cuisine. Her cooking show, The Texas Provincial Kitchen, was produced in San Antonio at KLRN, and aired for four seasons on PBS affiliates across the U.S. In 2005, Melissa Guerra served as consultant and was featured as a culinary expert on the PBS reality show Texas Ranch House. Ms. Guerra is also a popular culinary instructor and guest lecturer. Her 2006 cookbook, Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert, was nominated for a James Beard Award as well as an IACP cookbook award. She owns and operates Melissa Guerra: Latin Kitchen Market, a business dedicated to providing top quality Mexican kitchenware, ingredients, tabletop and decorative items that she sells via catalog, website, and two storefronts—including one at the Pearl Brewery complex in San Antonio, TX.
 JOHNNY HERNANDEZ is the founder and president of True Flavors Inc., and La Gloria Capital. True Flavors is one of San Antonio’s largest event services companies and La Gloria Capital is the name of his restaurant group, which has locations in San Antonio and Houston. His flagship restaurant, La Gloria, showcases interior Mexican street food and has been featured in Texas Monthly, Bon Appétit, Poder, Travel & Leisure, and Southern Living, among others. His restaurant, The Frutería–Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez, offers fresh fruit smoothies, tortas, and tostadas by day, then transforms into a contemporary Mexican Botanero by night. He recently opened El Machito, which features an open-fire mesquite grill and showcases the carne asada of Northern Mexico. Chef Hernandez has been a spokesperson and consultant to McCormick Spice Company, Aguacates of Mexico, the National Pork Board, and The Culinary Institute of America from which he graduated in 1989. He has been recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the Top 50 Influential Hispanics of 2012 and by Siempre Mujer magazine as one of the Top 5 Hispanic Chefs in America.
 ANDREA MARTINEZ is a native of Monterrey, Mexico and is an enthusiastic champion of her region’s gastronomy. She graduated with a degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and continued honing her skills working for other CIA graduates like David Honeysett, Richard Sandoval, and Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain. Before coming to the CIA, Chef Martinez was executive chef of both El Tio and Colateral, restaurants that specialize in traditional and modern Northeastern Mexican cuisine. And now, in partnership with Rivero González—a Mexican winery based in Parras Coahuila—she owns Comuna. Situated in Monterrey, Comuna is dedicated to celebrating the food, wine, and artisanal products of Northern Mexico.
 SERGIO REMOLINA is the director of Latin studies at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), San Antonio, TX. Between 2008 and 2013, he was assistant professor at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus and the opening chef of The Bocuse Restaurant there. He received a degree in hotel and restaurant administration from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a diploma in cuisine and pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. His extensive career includes working for a number of top restaurants in Paris and Mexico City. He was a founder and sub-director of the Diplomado, a graduate-level degree program in Mexican cuisine at Centro Culinario Ambrosía in Mexico City. Chef Remolina has also hosted his own show on Canal Gourmet, a food channel in Latin America.
 FERNANDO SALAZAR is managing director of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), San Antonio, TX. His responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the CIA’s Texas campus. Mr. Salazar served on the executive committee of the CIA’s Latin Cuisines Advisory Council beginning in 2009 and presented at several of the college’s thought leadership conferences. He came to the CIA from Wyndham Hotels and Resorts where he was vice president for food and beverage, and vice president of operations for Latin America. Before that, he held several management positions with Omni Hotels and Resorts.Mr. Salazar is a member of the International Food and Beverage Forum, the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s F&B Executive Advisory Board, and serves on the advisory board of Hotel F&B magazine. He is also an advisor for the International School of Culinary Arts in Valladolid, Spain, where he founded and judges an international tapas competition for culinary students. Mr. Salazar earned a 2010 Silver Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association in the Hotels & Lodging Category for his contributions to the industry. He received the F&B Leader of the Year Award from Omni Hotels and Resorts in 2000.
 DIANA BARRIOS TREVIÑO is the owner of Los Barrios and La Hacienda de Los Barrios restaurants, both in San Antonio, TX. Not only is Los Barrios, first established in 1979, a San Antonio staple, but Diana herself is regarded as one of most beloved champions of the city’s food and culture of the city. Her talent as a chef, educator, and personality has brought her to the national stage and she has appeared on such television shows as Simply Ming, and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. In 2010, she was invited to cook and represent Southwestern United States at the White House Congressional Picnic. A year later, she received the La Prensa Foundation Quinceañera Celebrate Outstanding Women Award—Business. In 2013 she received the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Family Excellence Award. She is also author of Los Barrios Family Cookbook: Tex-Mex Recipes from the Heart of San Antonio, which highlights authentic recipes handed down and perfect through generations. She serves on the board of Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation, named for her mother, which provides educational scholarships charitable assistance to hard-working individuals facing insurmountable obstacles.
 ALFREDO VILLANUEVA After studying the visual arts at school, Chef Villanueva began working in restaurant kitchens in 2000. He fell in love with the work and expanded his knowledge and honed his skills in several restaurants in both Mexico and Spain. Chef Villanueva has been co-owner of several restaurants in Mexico that focus on Mexican and Spanish cuisine. He has also worked as a consultant for a Latin American bistro in Florida. In 2011, Chef Villanueva opened his own restaurant—Café Xbox—a gastro-pub where he experiments with combining high-quality fresh ingredients in an eclectic way. In 2013, he participated in Mesamerica, the most important gastronomic summit in Mexico. That same year he opened his new restaurant, Romero y Azahar, which celebrates contemporary Mexican cuisine.


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