The Future of Local Cuisine and San Antonio's Culinary Identity

June 23, 2020 | Noon - 1 pm

With the prediction that cascading effects of the pandemic will wipe out 25 to 30 percent of independent restaurants in Texas what does this mean for San Antonio’s local dining scene? Local restaurateurs and small business experts come together and discuss what the future landscape of San Antonio cuisine and tourism may look like.



Tracie Shelton, Moderator

UTSA Small Business Development Center

Tracie Shelton is a trusted coach, senior business advisor and small business owner in her own right. She works with businesses to develop their strategic market approach and implementation, and has an increasing familiarity with food and the industry because of her business venture.

johnny hernandez

Johnny Hernandez

Owner, La Gloria

Chef Johnny Hernandez is a celebrated chef, entrepreneur, and founder and President of Grupo La Gloria and True Flavors Inc. He is one of the premier Mexican cuisine chefs in the United States and a recognized authority on Mexican cuisine and culture. He first garnered notoriety as a rising star on the culinary scene in 2010 with the launch of his acclaimed flagship concept, La Gloria. His culinary ventures have since expanded to become Grupo La Gloria, a diverse and growing portfolio of signature restaurants and culinary projects.


Elizabeth Johnson

Owner, Pharm Table

Pharm Table, a San Antonio based restaurant is arguably one of the only anti-inflammatory restaurants of it’s kind. In 2014 Chef Elizabeth Johnson created Pharm Table as a synonym for culinary medicine. Pharm Table’s cuisine focuses on food as medicine, taking its inspiration from eastern traditions like Ayurveda (India’s traditional system of medicine), as well as National Geographic’s Blue Zones research focusing on longevity and nutrition from areas home to some of the world's oldest people. In addition to founding and operating Pharm Table, Chef Elizabeth is also a health and wellness advocate for the region serving as a member of San Antonio’s advisory council for UNESCO Creative Cities Designation as a City of Gastronomy and as a Culinary Ambassador for the City of San Antonio in the Creative Cities Network.


Dawn Ann Larios

Exec. Director, San Antonio Restaurant Association

Dawn Ann Larios began her career with the San Antonio Restaurant Association, a Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association on November 1, 2019. Larios has an extensive network of relationships with local, state, and national leaders. Her background includes working at City Hall under Mayor Phil Hardberger, State Representative Roland Gutierrez, and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, to name a few, as well as numerous campaigns and fundraising. Although her time with SARA/TRA has been short, the current climate of a world pandemic has helped her gain much knowledge of the policy issues and intricacies of the hospitality industry and the much-needed relief that is needed - in a very short time

David Thanairongroj

David Thanairongroj

Owner, Thai Topaz

David Thanairongroj is a restaurateur with passion and enthusiasm. His strong beliefs that that all should carefully consider what they are getting into before they own a restaurant has even led to his teaching a couple of classes at the UTSA Small Business Development Center. In addition to his passion for teaching, David owns his own restaurant, Thai Topaz. David’s goal is to serve every guest an affordable, healthy, and delicious meal; and, at Thai Topaz, health benefits and the best flavors of Thai Cuisine are combined by using fresh ingredients and traditional Thai herbs & spices in every order.


Watch the Recording


The Future of Local Cuisine and San Antonio’s Culinary Identity
June 23, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Local restaurateurs and small business experts come together and discuss what the future landscape of San Antonio cuisine and tourism may look like.

Watch the Recording

Cookbooks, Cuisine and Cultura
July 9, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join us for a savory discussion of culture, food and history as we explore the UTSA Libraries’ Mexican Cookbook Collection, the nation’s largest.

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Food Insecurity in the COVID Era
July 21, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join our panelists for a discussion of the current research and approaches taken to tackle food insecurity across our communities.

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Getting Food to our Grocery Stores and Tables: COVID’s Impacts on the Supply Chain 
August 06, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join our panelists as they discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our food supply chain and measures being taken to address the challenges.

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Tacos, Texas and Tradition
August 20, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

From puffy to breakfast to street, San Antonio loves its tacos! This entertaining panel will explore what makes a taco a taco, and how this favorite cuisine of South Texas has evolved over time.

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