Food For Thought: Hispanic Heritage Month

Food For Thought Hispanic Heritage Month
Photo credit Audacy

Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Join us on 94.7 The Wave’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT as we pay tribute to inspiring Hispanic leaders who have made innovations in the food industry.

In 1946 George De La Torre and his nephew Albert Guerrero established the Harbor Canning Company in Wilmington, California. In 1950 Ruth Guerrero - Albert's wife - was inspired by her family to cook traditional menudo, a popular Mexican stew. George and Albert decided to can and distribute Juanita's Menudo to supermarkets, kicking off Juanita’s Foods focus on developing ready-to-eat Mexican food that could be served and enjoyed any time. Juanita’s Foods has gone on to become the world’s largest producer of menudo, and in 2018, Juanita's made history during National Menudo month by setting the Guinness World Record for the largest menudo soup, which weighed in at 2,439 pounds!

In 1971 while still working his regular day job, Jose Luis Saavedra Senior took a risk on a dream and started the Tapatio Hot Sauce company in Maywood, CA. His business began in his family home, and soon grew from small batches of the sauce he shared with his friends and coworkers to his first manufacturing company, later becoming the commercial success we know today. Tapatio was first named “Cuervo” but that name soon changed to Tapatio, a term used to describe a person from Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco, representing where he was from. The Tapatio family-owned company has had over 40 years of commercial success and continues to grow its popularity across US households.

Richard Montañez was born in 1958 to a Mexican-American family in Ontario, California. One of ten siblings, he was raised in a migrant labor camp and in 1976, after dropping out of high school, he was hired by Frito-Lay as a janitor at one of its factories. When a Cheeto’s machine broke down, he took home a batch of unflavored snacks and seasoned them with spices similar to elote, Mexican street corn. Montanez shared his idea with CEO at the time Roger Enrico and provided samples in plastic bags that he hand decorated and sealed. The goal was to appeal to the growing Latino market which led to a soft launch in the local Los Angeles market, and later received approval for a national release in 1992. Today, he is best known for his claim of inventing the Flamin Hot Cheetos.

In 1758, Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo was issued a land grant by King Ferdinand VI of Spain in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. This is where his family founded the farm where they harvest the flower blue agave plant, a water retaining plant found in central Mexico that is distilled to create tequila. This land grant and subsequent farming marked the beginning of the tequila industry. By 1880 the family began individually bottling the tequila – a new technique as other distillers were still using barrels – and selling them commercially. The distillery that produces Jose Cuervo tequila is the oldest active distillery in Latin America. Today, Jose Cuervo is family owned and run by the Beckmann family of Mexico, descendants of Don Jose Antonio Cuervo. Jose Cuervo is the best-selling brand of tequila, selling one fifth of tequila consumed worldwide!

In 1947 Fausto Celorio, a Veracruz native entrepreneur, improved upon a previous tortilla making device and invented the current automatic tortilla machine we still use today. His device implemented a roller system that formed and punched disk shaped tortillas, and transported them into ovens cutting down the tortilla making time down to 1 minute. His prototype was perfected over the years with the help of Alfonso Gnadara, an engineer from the National Polytechnic Institute. By 1995, his machines were producing 1 kilogram of tortillas every minute and used 50% less gas than previous versions. It is estimated that more than 100,000 tortilla makers around the world bear his name. With over 150 inventions during his lifetime, Fausto Celorio’s automatic tortilla machine changed the culinary world and helped make the tortilla a household staple.

Food For Thought and 94.7 The Wave invite you to come into any local Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions locations to experience food differently.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Audacy