Connection Through Comida
Defying all family business failure rates, the Cortez Family of Restaurants is celebrating its 75th year of business in 2016. From the stage of this milestone, the second generation of leaders will transition the vision and daily operations of the restaurants to third generation family members. Members of the fourth generation also work in the business and are paving their career paths as they pursue higher education and experience.
What is it that helps this family beat the odds, navigate change and maintain the authentic, family-centered brand people know and love?
Third-generation foodie Chef Cariño Cortez has a theory. It’s the food.
As the family’s first female culinary leader, she proposes using food and its preparation as a metaphor during her presentation. Cariño will prepare a recipe onstage as she talks about how care for comida can influence the culture of a family, organization and community. The Cortez family’s fare has grown from roots based in everyday Mexican staples into Tex-Mex cuisine – native to San Antonio. As our city and the next generation of Cortez leaders embrace further growth, we can look to food as a means of connecting.
Chef Cariño Cortez is a third-generation foodie who grew up in the restaurant business. The family tradition began at Mi Tierra Café in San Antonio, but her passion for cooking has taken her across the country. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Accounting, Cortez pursued a culinary arts degree from the Culinary Institute of America to marry her business foundation with her love of comida.
Cortez spent her externship working in New York City three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Jean Georges, later going on to study authentic Mexican food in Chicago under Rick Bayless. At the Michelin-starred restaurant, Topolobampo, she worked as a lead line cook under Chef de Cuisine Andres Padilla, and was able to hone her culinary skills on the restaurant’s monthly menu development team.
She returned to her home state of Texas to share her true passion for authentic Mexican cuisine and continue the family tradition as chef/general manager for the Cortez Family of Restaurant’s newest addition to the San Antonio restaurant scene, Viva Villa Taquería. A profound care for food, family and culture inspired her custom menu creation and the evolutionary concept development for Viva Villa.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vivavillasa/?pnref=lhc
- Twitter: @CarinoCortez
- Instagram: @vivavillasa
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cariño-cortez-06719565
- Website: http://www.carinocortez.com
- Email: Carino.Cortez@gmail.com