Cookbook/History Author Adán Medrano
His most recent book, Don’t Count the Tortillas – The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking, is reviewed and listed by “Spruce Eats” in “The 8 Best Mexican cookbooks to read in 2021.”
Both history/cookbooks are academically peer-reviewed and published by Texas Tech University Press.
Medrano spent 23 years travelling and working throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia where he came to recognize the importance of food and culinary traditions in society. He returned to the US in 2010 to focus on the culinary traditions of the Mexican American community of Texas: its history, recipes, and how this singular cuisine is showing the way towards a better understanding of what it means to be “American.”
The Mexican cuisine of Texas opens insights into how 15,000-year indigenous traditions suffered from and successfully dealt with immigrant colonial peoples who arrived 500 years ago. Colonial immigrants forcibly brought African slaves to the Americas. African traditions eventually met Native American peoples, and tastes and communities were formed, nourished by a new cuisine.
Adán Medrano is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. His professional work in restaurant kitchens includes fine dining at “Restaurant Ten Bogaerde” in Belgium, and volunteering as the Chef of Houston’s Casa Juan Diego, a shelter for homeless persons. He has lectured about food & culture at academic institutions, including Harvard University Coop, Colorado College, Culinary Institute of America, and Northeastern University. He has showcased his recipes at national gatherings of the National Association of Latino Arts And Cultures, at Brennan’s restaurant in Houston, at “Nao,” the CIA restaurant in San Antonio, and at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Adán is also an award-winning filmmaker and holds a Master of Arts degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1976 he founded the San Antonio CineFestival, the first and now longest-running Latino film festival in the USA. His recent documentary feature film, Truly Texas Mexican, won “Best Documentar” at the New York Independent Cinema Awards. He has provided consulting services and created media productions for: The White House, The Vatican, The National Conference Of Catholic Bishops, among others, both in the US and internationally.
Present JM Communications: Food Writer, Film Producer: Culinary Arts
1986-2010 JM Communications: Media Arts Philanthropy
- Award financial grants and manage the Media Arts grant-making program in Latin American countries including: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico and the Caribbean. Write monthly analysis of regional media arts trends
- Award financial grants and manage Media Arts grant-making program
The Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. Write monthly analysis of media trends in the arts, Southeast Asia.
- Evaluate art and educational media projects that received Foundation
financial support in
Great Britain, Belgium, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Canada.
- Chef, Radical Eats Restaurant, Houston, Texas
- Chef (Volunteer), Casa Juan Diego Homeless Shelter, Houston, Texas
- Chef de Partie, Restaurant Ten Bogaerde, Koksijde, Belgium
1982-86 CBS Television Network, New York: National News Producer/Writer
1982-86 Founding President, Hispanic Telecommunications Network
1975-81 Founder and Director, San Antonio CineFestival, the nation’s first and currently
the longest-running Annual International Latino Film Festival (Funded by the NEA since 1978)
1979-82 Publisher: “El Visitante Dominical” Spanish-language national Catholic weekly,
1979-82 Associate Director, Oblate Missions Development Office
1977-81 “Emerging Media Artists Grants Program”: directed the NEA-funded re-granting media arts program to support Latina and Latino media artists.
1973-78 Executive Director, Centro Video, San Antonio, Texas
Selected Professional Activities
THE WHITE HOUSE
.Consultant on development of policy for minority ownership in broadcasting (1978)
TEXAS COMMISSION ON THE ARTS
.Commissioner, Appointed by Governor of the State of Texas to a 6-year term
THE VATICAN, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
.Invited expert, committee to write the papal document on social communications, “Aetatis Novae” (1989)
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
.Policy Panel for Media Arts (1978-84) .Media Arts Panel (1978-85)
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
.Review Panel for Public Programs (1979-83)
CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING
.Review Panel, Proposal evaluation (1979-83)
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON
.Film Committee (1994-2000)
HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE
.Board of Directors, Officer: Secretary (Present)
THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, CENTER FOR MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES ADVISORY BOARD
.Board Chair (2018)
FRESH ARTS COALITION – Houston Artists and Arts Organizations
.Board of Directors (2014)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ARTS AND CULTURE (NALAC)
.Board of Directors (Present)
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS/UNITED STATES CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
.Communications Committee (1991-94)
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
.Juror, The Ecumenical Jury (2001)
CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
.Juror, The Ecumenical Jury (1988)
SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
.Juror, The Ecumenical Jury (2004)
SOUTHWEST ALTERNATE MEDIA PROJECT, INC.
.President, Board of Directors (2013-2015
THE AURORA PICTURE SHOW -VIDEO ART
.Board of Directors (2006-2009)
WORLD ASSOCIATION FOR CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATION, NORTH AMERICA
.President, Board of Directors (2008-2010)
CULTURAL ARTS COUNCIL OF HOUSTON
.Board of Directors (2002-05)
THE MEDIA, RELIGION AND CULTURE PROECT
2010 Culinary Institute Of America
Certificate in Culinary Arts
1977 Master of Arts Degree
Radio, TV, Film
The University of Texas
1970 Bachelor of Arts Degree
Philosophy and Journalism
Selected Professional Artistic Works
“Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes”—Author, peer-reviewed book published by Texas Tech University Press, 2014.
“Don’t Count The Tortillas – The ART of Texas Mexican Cooking” – Author, peer-reviewed book published by Texas Tech University Press, Spring, 2019.
“Belief In Media: Cultural Perspectives on Media and Christianity” – Editor, peer-reviewed book published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, England, 2004.
“Truly Texas Mexican: Cuisine and Culture, a New Encounter” — Executive Producer, Writer, 2021, feature-length documentary
- .Best Documentary, New York Independent Cinema Award
- Nominee, Best Documentary, 25th Red Nation Film Festival .Cultural Heritage Award, XicanIndie
- International Film Festival .Official Selection, London Gold Movie Awards
- Official Selection, Mallorca, Spain, International Film Festival
- Official Selection, Sonoma International Film Festival
“Quince Años” Producer/Writer– Bronze Plaque at the WorldFest Houston.
“Las Posadas” Producer/Writer– half-hour Christmas TV Special. Certificate of Excellence, Information Film Producers of America, Inc.
“Festival ’73,” Weekly variety entertainment show aired on Univision Television Network
“Nuestra Familia” Weekly Sunday morning on religion and social issues, aired nationally on Univision Television Network
“Mexican American Cultural Center Mission” Producer/Writer– DVD documentary, Telly Award, The Communicator Award
“Portraits of Faith: The Church in America” Producer/Writer– DVD documentary. Gabriel Award. Fulton J Sheen Award, Telly Award.
“Hope In A Time of AIDS” Producer/Writer– half-hour television program.
Telly Award, American Medical Association Media Award.
“Soul Of The City” Producer/Writer– half-hour television program about public rituals, International Film and Video Festival Certificate of Excellence. Gabriel Award.
“Living with AIDS: An Occasion of Grace” Producer/Writer– 30minute TV documentary. Gabriel Award, Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film and Video Festival.
“Comunidad” Producer/Writer– 20minute video documentary. Proclaim Award.
“I Work The Land” Producer/Writer/Director– Certificate for Creative Excellence, US International Film and Video Festival
“Vocación” Producer/Writer 10minute video documentary. Proclaim Award.
CULINARY ARTS PRESENTATIONS, ESSAYS:
“The Art of Cooking: Memory, Identity, Community,”
Texas Historical Commission – Annual Conference,
Opening Night Keynote Address, with cuisine tastings.
“Navigating the Mexican Restaurants on Navigation”
six-part series analyzing the culture and history of Houston Mexican cuisine
Culinary Diplomacy in Moscow
The US Embassy in Moscow, The Russian Federation
Texas Mexican Cuisine
“An Evening of Texas Mexican Food, Film and Meaning” Aurora Picture Show, Houston. Curator/Chef– Food and Film art performance and exhibition
“Art + Cuisine,” Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston. Culinary arts as an aesthetic practice impacting identity and community, with a sit-down chef’s exhibition menu
“The Candy Shop,” Art Exhibit —Houston Spacetaker, Mexican candies as art objects, a collaboration with three visual artists and sculptors
“Cena Con Cine” The Art of Film and Food
MECA, Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts
“An Introduction To Texas Mexican Cuisine,”
presentation to the Society of Fellows, The Culinary Institute of America.
“Indigenous Foods of Texas and Identity,”
paper presented at the Annual Meeting of The American Folkore Society “Beyond Tex-Mex: Rediscovering Texas’ 10,000-Year-Old Cuisine” published in The Texas Observer
“Long Before Tex-Mex, a 15,000-Year-Old Cuisine Left Its Mark” published in Atlas Obscura “Terroir Shaped San Antonio’s Unique Cuisine” published in the book, “300 Years Of San Antonio & Bexar County”
- Lectures and Demonstrations, Culinary Arts
- Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York
- Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
- Harvard Co-op, Boston, Massachusetts
- The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston
- University of Houston, Mexican American Cultural Center, Houston, Texas
- The American Book Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
- Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
- Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisianna
- Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
- Palo Alto College, San Antonio, Texas
- American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisianna
- The American Book Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Denver, Colorado
- Queens College, New York University, New York City, New York