Notable Texas chef Jorge Hernández, who had been working under mentor José Andrés in Washington, D.C., is coming back to the Lone Star state. He is now the culinary director of hospitality company Mighty Union, and, as part of his new role, he will open a new restaurant within forthcoming hotel Veramendi House in San Antonio. It will be found along the Riverwalk at 130 Soledad Street in the downtown area, opening sometime in the summer of 2021.
The San Antonio native’s general role at Mighty Union, which is the same company behind Zilker spot Carpenter Hotel, will entail building and developing the culinary teams and directing creative processes for all current and future properties. As the executive chef of Veramendi — since he’ll be based in San Antonio — he will oversee the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. Right now, there is no set concept, since it’s very early.
The hotel itself will incorporate the seven buildings which had made up the historic Veramendi Palace. During the 18th century, it served as the extravagant home of business person and public figure Veramendi Fernando. It was passed down to his son Juan Martín de Veramendi, who was the Mexican governor of the province of Coahuila and Texas at the time. The property continued to stay in the family until the early 1900s.
Hernández started his career by attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and then joined Andres’s restaurant company ThinkFoodGroup in 2006, when he worked at Greek restaurant Zaytinya and Minibar for a little bit.
Hernández came back to Texas in 2013 to help open the acclaimed Qui in Austin, where he became tthe chef de cuisine. He left that position soon after the owner/chef Paul Qui was arrested for assault in 2016. Later, Hernández was a consulting chef for East Austin restaurant and brewery The Brewer’s Table, but left before it opened, and consulted on the now-gone food menu at AFS Cinema. He then went back to working with Andres’s that same year and became the head chef of two-Michelin-starred restaurant Minibar in D.C.
Relatedly, the founding chef of Carpenter Hotel and its restaurant Carpenters Hall, Grae Nonas, is apparently leaving the company, as reported by Austin 360. However, Mighty Union partner Donald Kenney told Eater that there are “no firm plans yet” regarding Nonas’s position, which honestly could mean anything. The hotel and restaurant opened in the fall of 2018. Eater has reached out to Nonas for more information. This article will be updated accordingly.
Mighty Union is also opening a hotel and all-day restaurant out in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. It’s taking over the Wo Fat building in the island’s Chinatown area, opening in the fall of 2020.
- Veramendi House [Instagram]
- Minibar by José Andrés Has Lost Its Head Chef [Washingtonian]
- Team behind Carpenter Hotel adds José Andrés protégé Jorge Hernandez as culinary director [Austin 360]
- All Coverage of Carpenter Hotel [EATX]