Jose Hernandez is the Executive Chef of downtown Houston’s Hotel Alessandra, the flagship of a new luxury brand from Valencia Group. The acclaimed veteran also oversees the direction of the hotel’s signature Lucienne restaurant, chic Bardot lounge, room service and catering for the property’s premier meeting and event space. Prior to joining Hotel Alessandra’s pre-opening team, he led Radio Milano restaurant at sister property, Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, to one of the city’s top ranked Italian eateries with its creative, contemporary menu.
Hernandez began his culinary journey at 14, working as an assistant in a pastry kitchen. Over the past 20-plus years, he has held prominent positions at renowned restaurants throughout Mexico, Manhattan and his adopted hometown of Houston, where he returned in 2010 after a nearly three-year hiatus in New York City.
Before partnering with Valencia Group, Hernandez was the Executive Chef of La Balance Cuisine in the Houston suburb of Cinco Ranch. Shortly after opening, the restaurant was awarded a coveted three-star rating from the Houston Chronicle. From 2011 until 2013, Hernandez was the Chef de Cuisine at Triniti in the Upper Kirby District. It was at Triniti, a James Beard Award nominee, where he first transitioned from pastry to savory.
In 2010, Hernandez served on the pre-opening team of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge in Uptown as Pastry Chef In this capacity, he created the dessert and baking program for the namesake restaurant of Executive Chef Philippe Schmit, at the time, the only Master Chef of France in Texas. Hernandez first worked with Schmit as Pastry Chef at New York City’s Orsay from 2001 until 2004. During this time, the restaurant earned a two-star rating from the New York Times. From 2004 until 2005, he joined Schmit again as Pastry Chef of Bistro Moderne at Houston’s Hotel Derek. Bistro Moderne cemented both chefs’ careers in Houston and earned a three-star rating from the Houston Chronicle.
Following Bistro Moderne, Hernandez spent nearly four years with acclaimed Executive Chef Scott Tycer as the Corporate Pastry Chefs for concepts that included Aries, a Houston Chronicle four-star recipient, Gravitas and Kraftsmen Baking, which continues to supply top restaurants throughout Texas.
While in Manhattan, Hernandez had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best chefs in the city. In 2008, he was employed as the Pastry Chef at Michelin-starred Fiamma with James Beard Award-winning Chef Fabio Trabocchi. In 2009, he moved to the famed Four Seasons Restaurant as the Executive Pastry Chef, and from 2009 until 2010, joined Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel as the Pastry Chef at modern American steakhouse, BLT, which also received a three-star rating from the New York Times.
During the 1990s, Hernandez enjoyed the tutelage of Master Chef of France Olivier Lombard in two of Mexico City’s most well-regarded establishments: Hotel Presidente Intercontinental (previously Hotel Stouffers Presidente) and Club de Industriales Mexico. He was also the Pastry Chef at Hotel Westin in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. Today as Brisas Ixtapa