The chef who was selected for the White House’s Cinco de Mayo meal shared what he cooked for President Obama

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Chef Johnny Fernandez, second from left, with Vice President Joe Biden.
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Johnny Hernandez

While the internet was busy talking about Donald Trump’s taco bowl, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were eating traditional Mexican food cooked by a chef from Texas.

For Obama’s final Cinco de Mayo in the White House, San Antonio-based chef Johnny Hernandez took inspiration from Puebla, Mexico, where a smaller Mexican Army defeated an invading French army on May 5, 1862.

“I’m very excited to share the authenticity of Mexican cuisine with the White House and to bring the culture of San Antonio to a whole new place,” he told the San Antonio Express-News.

Hernandez, a well-known local chef with several restaurants and a Top Chef judging appearance under his belt, told the paper he received a call from the White House social director a few weeks ago and began preparing.

Hernandez shared some photos of what ended up making his White House menu for Cinco de Mayo.


For one course, Hernandez and team prepared fruit gazpacho, a cold fruit cocktail popular in Morelia, Mexico.

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Johnny Hernandez

There was a lot of guacamole.

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Johnny Hernandez

These are cups of seafood ceviche made with gulf snapper.

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Johnny Hernandez

Chiles en nogada — poblano peppers stuffed with a mixture of beef and dried fruit — came topped with a walnut sauce. This is a classic Puebla dish, but it’s usually reserved for Mexican Independence Day on September 16.

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Johnny Hernandez

Putting them together required careful craftsmanship.

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Johnny Hernandez

For dessert: pineapple empanadas and tres leches cake.

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Johnny Hernandez

Here’s the vice president enjoying an empanada.

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Johnny Hernandez