Cookbook/History Author Adán Medrano
His most recent book is “Don’t Count the Tortillas – The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking.” Both are peer-reviewed books 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. He continues producing media with a focus on food. 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.
2010 Culinary Institute Of America
Certificate in Culinary Arts
1977 The University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Master of Arts Degree, Radio, TV, Film
1970 Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska
Bachelor of Arts Degree, Philosophy and Journalism
Food Writer, Producer, Culinary Arts
Chef, Radical Eats Restaurant, Houston, Texas
Chef, Casa Juan Diego Homeless Shelter, Houston, Texas
Chef de Partie, Restaurant Ten Bogaerde, Koksijde, Belgium
1986-2008 JM Communications, Owner, Media Arts and Communications Philanthropy
•Award financial grants and manage the Media Arts grant-making program on behalf of a coalition of international foundations in support of artistic, educational, religious and social not-for-profit organizations 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 trends;
•Award financial grants and manage the grant-making program in support of Art and
Educational Media Projects of not-for-profit organizations in
—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
–Great Britain, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Canada.
1982-86 CBS Television Network, New York
National News Producer/Writer
1982-86 Founding President, Hispanic Telecommunications Network weekly production of “Nuestra Familia” TV series broadcast on Univision TV 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, Huntington, Indiana
1979-82 Associate Director, Oblate Missions Development Office: Direct Mail Solicitation,
Large Donor Cultivation, Deferred Giving
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
Television and documentary video production
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)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO ARTS AND CULTURE
.Board of Directors (Present)
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS/UNITED STATES CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
.Communications Committee (1991‑94)
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON
.Film Committee (1994‑2000)
HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE
.Board of Directors, Officer: Secretary (Present)
FRESH ARTS COALITION – Houston Artists and Arts Organizations
.Board of Directors (2014)
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)
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)
CULTURAL ARTS COUNCIL OF HOUSTON
.Board of Directors (2002-05)
THE MEDIA, RELIGION AND CULTURE PROECT
THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, CENTER FOR MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES ADVISORY BOARD
.Board Chair (2018)
Selected Professional Activities
“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, Summer, 2019.
“Belief In Media: Cultural Perspectives on Media and Christianity” – Editor, peer-reviewed
book published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, England, 2004.
“Notes on Cooking” (2011). Producer/Writer – Video series on cultural and social issues
surrounding contemporary food and cooking.
“An Evening of Texas Mexican Food, Film and Meaning” Curator/Chef– Food and Film art
performance and exhibition hosted by Aurora Picture Show.
Lectures and Demonstrations on Indigenous Food History, Culinary Cultures, Tools and Techniques
–Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York
–Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
–Harvard Coop, Boston, Massachusetts
–The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston
–The American Book Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
–Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
–Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
–Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
–Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
–Palo Alto College, San Antonio, TX
–American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, NM
–Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
–The American Book Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
–Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Denver
“An Introduction To Texas Mexican Cuisine,” presentation to the Society Of Fellows, The
Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, Texas 2014
“Indigenous Foods of Texas and Identity,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of The
American Folkore Society, 2014
“Beyond Tex-Mex: Rediscovering Texas’ 10,000-Year-Old Cuisine” published in The Texas
“Terroir Shaped San Antonio’s Unique Cuisine” published in the book, “300 Years Of San
Antonio & Bexar County,” 2018
“Gulf Coast Crab Cocktail With Avocado and History,” Houston Chronicle, 2014
Museum of Fine Arts Houston: “Art + Cuisine,” a lecture on culinary arts as an aesthetic
practice impacting identity and community, with a sit-down chef’s exhibition menu,
“The Candy Shop,” an Art Exhibit –Cook and present Mexican candies as art objects, a
collaboration with three visual artists and sculptors, 2011
Culinary Consultant to the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, creating signature cocktail,
Southwest Airlines, “The Southwest Sunrise, 2013
“The Roots Of Texas Mexican Food” Executive Producer/Writer—Documentary Feature currently in post-production
“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.
Broadcast on PBS and in Belgium.
“Living with AIDS: An Occasion of Grace” Producer/Writer– 30‑minute TV documentary
Gabriel Award, Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film and Video Festival.
“Comunidad” Producer/Writer– 20‑minute video documentary. Proclaim Award.
“I Work The Land” Producer/Writer/Director– Certificate for Creative Excellence,
US International Film and Video Festival
“Vocación” Producer/Writer 10‑minute video documentary. Proclaim Award.
“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
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