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Industry honors Hispanic restaurateurs

We’re celebrating the contributions of Hispanics in foodservice during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated through Oct. 15, recognizes Hispanics and the Latino culture. At an estimated 56.6 million, the Hispanic population is the largest ethnic or racial group in the nation.

Hispanics have had a huge impact on restaurant industry, from our workforce to our food. Data from the Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics bear that out:

  • One quarter of the restaurant industry workforce is Hispanic.
  • Restaurants employ more Hispanic managers than any other industry.
  • One-fifth of restaurant managers and supervisors are Hispanic.
  • Nearly one in four chefs is Hispanic.

“Hispanics have made significant contributions to foodservice leadership across our country and to the U.S. economy and our communities,” said Dawn Sweeney, the National Restaurant Association’s president and CEO.

Leading Hispanic chefs offer their perspectives:

Victor Albisu, chef/owner, Del Campo, Washington, D.C.

"The impact of the Hispanic community on the restaurant industry is almost immeasurable. For the past several decades, if you went into any good restaurant in the country, you’d likely find a team that included hard-working, creative Hispanic kitchen staff. It’s been incredibly gratifying to see the increase each year in the number of those workers taking leadership and ownership roles. From the bottom of the restaurant professional ladder to the very top, Hispanic Americans are growing, strengthening and evolving the way we view food and service in America. It’s a great thing, and I'm proud to be one of the many Hispanic Americans contributing from my culture to this Industry."

Lorena Garcia, celebrity chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, Miami, Fla.

“It’s beautiful to see not only the unity of Latin American cultures as one in the United States, but also the importance of our flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques. They’re such an intrinsic part of who we are. Latin cuisine’s popularity has really escalated to become one of the most recognizable flavors in America.”

Aaron Sanchez, celebrity chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, New York City

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a special time of year to me. All the Latin cultures of the world come together to celebrate their unique yet intertwined lineage and traditions. My family is from Mexico, and our culture and heritage are so important to me. They have had a huge impact on my life. As I get older, I’m reverting back to simpler foods and doing things the way my mom and grandmother taught me to do. It’s so important for me to honor Latin culture and traditions, but also important to make the food using contemporary techniques and local ingredients.”

Patricio Sandoval, executive chef-partner, Mercadito Restaurants, Chicago

”The impact of the Hispanic community and culture on the restaurant industry is huge. From restaurant owners to chefs running top culinary operations to dishwashers in the kitchen, we are the backbone of the industry.”

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