Guys in the White Hats
If these seven chefs have their way, Mexican food in Texas will never be the same.
Rene Ortiz, 36, La Condesa
San Antonio—raised boy made it big in New York (Patria, La Esquina); his suave Latin American fare is now turning heads in Austin. EAT HIS: duck in mole negro.
Markus Pineyro, 28, Urban Taco
Co-owner of the expanding chain was born in Mexico City; got bright idea to refashion its street food into nibbles for chic Dallasites. EAT HIS: rotisserie-spit tacos al pastor.
Johnny Hernandez, 41,
La Gloria Icehouse
Prowled Mexico seeking best street food (and finest tequila); brought ideas home to delight his fellow San Antonians. EAT HIS: panucho de cochinita pibil (gordita filled with marinated pork).
Hugo & Ruben Ortega, 45 & 39, Hugo’s
Brothers grew up poor in Puebla, Mexico; landed in the U.S. in the eighties; now run Houston’s most authentic and innovative Mexican restaurant. EAT THEIR: mole poblano & churros rellenos (filled with dulce de leche).
Beto Gutierrez, 34, La Posada Hotel
Honed his chops in Austin at the Driskill and Four Seasons hotels; went home to Laredo to tackle complex, demanding Mexican recipes. EAT HIS: crispy lengua.
Lanny Lancarte II, 35, Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana
Scion of Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican food clan in Fort Worth; did a 180 and opened own place doing classic Latin dishes with a Mediterranean edge. EAT HIS: quail tamales with mole poblano.