Face To Face: Hernan
How many times have you stood in the kitchen or sat down at the table and thoughtlessly performed the mindless task of preparation or consumption? I know. You don’t have to answer. It can be boring and
rote. So, why not inject a little bit of culture into your life? Rendering that sweet evening dessert or hot breakfast beverage into something more than just a semi-satiating hand-to-mouth action. Mexican culinary tradition could be the game-changing ingredient that alters your entire experience. A hot-chocolate experience from Chiapas? 28-ingredient mole poblano from central Mexico? Handcrafted molcajete and machacador prep tools?
HERNAN, the brainchild of Del Rio native Isela Hernandez, can provide these hard-to-obtain cultural goods to you directly or indirectly. “We really give the customer an opportunity to fully experience what it’s like...we really facilitate the bringing of the best of Mexican culinary traditions to the U.S. market and also to the world,” Hernandez said. While she primarily targets wholesalers, she said online marketing is now a realistic and effective way to directly reach the consumer. “We’re partnering with other social media...personalities...generally, entities that...share our values as far as upholding Mexican culture and
culinary traditions and who love our products to promote them online and to allow people who might not otherwise have access to...both the kitchenware and the food products allow them to experience them at
home and delight in them.”
It’s a small business that has made a big splash. Hernandez has received sofi Awards (the Oscars of the specialty food industry), been featured in Martha Stewart Living and recognized by the U.S. Department of State for her work with producers in Mexico. Her progressive sensibilities matched with her love of Mexican culture and a ripe market space gave birth to this unique business of specialty culinary items. She explained that, “I wanted to utilize that talent to do something that was more socially positive and I decided that would be something that was a combination of something that was promoting my Mexican culture and also sort of taking advantage of the market space in that people love Mexican food...a lot of it often isn’t even crafted in Mexico. So, that’s where I saw my niche.” Hernandez began with the kitchenware line understanding that authentic kitchen prep tools from Mexico were somewhat scarce in
most areas of the U.S. HERNAN’s hot chocolate frother brought her into the food space.
The Cornell-educated Hernandez said that all the products are clean and 100-percent natural; the ceramic serveware and cookware items lead-free. But most importantly, she endeavors to provide a satisfying cultural experience for the customer. “These are not just items. It’s a culture, it’s a history I’m trying to promote...I think we do a really good job of describing what this is for,” she said. Locally, you can find HERNAN products at the Whitehead Memorial Museum and in San Antonio at H-E-B Central Market. Please visit the website at hernanllc.com for more information and online ordering.