"To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
Hungry Chef, dedicated father, loving husband, amateur cyclist, just to get things started. Rigoberto Herrera, better known as Rigo or TheCulinaryGangster on Instagram, was born and raised in the buzzing city of Houston deep in the lone star state. His love for anything food started at an early age, cooking lunches and dinners for his younger siblings when the opportunity presented itself. From time to time whipping up a super sandwich for his dad when he got home late from work which consisted of two pieces of bread, sometimes three if he was feeling spontaneous and every single cold cut and vegetable he could find in the fridge.
In 2009 Rigo decided to dive head first into the culinary world at The Art Institute of Houston where he would spend the next few years taking in all the fundamentals of what it took to survive in the kitchen. During the time there and after, the years were spent moving his way up and working in every aspect of the industry in one form or another. From a burrito artisan at the ever so popular Chipotle, Head Baker/Decorator at Smallcakes, to the opportunity in assisting the opening of a restaurant as an Executive Chef at the young age of 23. In 2009 Rigo decided to dive head first into the culinary world at The Art Institute of Houston where he would spend the next few years taking in all the fundamentals of what it took to survive in the kitchen. During the time there and after, the years were spent moving his way up and working in every aspect of the industry in one form or another. From a burrito artisan at the ever so popular Chipotle, Head Baker/Decorator at Smallcakes, to the opportunity in assisting the opening of a restaurant as an Executive Chef at the young age of 23.
Always to be one open to trying new things and going against the current, Rigo always wanted more than just working in the line forever. One personal philosophy he lives by is "if you are not learning anything, you are wasting your time and have nothing to gain from being there". You constantly have to learn to continue to grow. This philosophy took Rigo into many new opportunities one of which was working for Maria's Gourmet Kitchen in Houston as Marias Sous Chef and Kitchen manager. He spent over 4 years there helping grow a company that specialized in dinner meals for a small list of private clients. Here he was given the opportunity to experiment on new dishes, try new things and come up with anything he had brewing in his mind. Of course, as long as it was delicious and the customers loved it.
Soon after, it was time to move on and off to Bosscat Kitchen it was. Here he got to work for a short period of time as a Sous Chef under the ever keen eye of his Executive Chef Peter Petro. This is where a lot of personal growth and real industry knowledge started to flourish. As far as cooking goes you got it or you don't, Rigo had it but had a lot of tricks to learn about what went on behind the scenes. Here he got to perfect his cleanliness, organization, purchasing, and attention to details at the rest of the kitchen, not just the line.
There is a laundry list of things one can teach a new person coming in the industry but it's never-ending. Some of the things that stuck to Rigo from his time at Bosscat is that there is always more to learn, there is always space for improvement. Rigo is always evolving his management styles and how he teaches others about the craft. It's all about being open and most importantly not being afraid to take a risk. The greater the risk, the greater the reward, those are words to live by.
When not working away at the restaurants, Rigo spends his time with his hobbies. He's an avid cyclist, falling off the wagon from time to time but always getting back on the saddle. Along with any type of Motorsports which are essentially his second love, riding dirt bikes since his elementary school years to watching his dad work on his stingray corvette, there was always adrenaline flowing one way or another. Most of his free time now is spent with his family, trips to the zoo, days out at the park, target trips on a whim, those are the moments he cherishes with his wife and two daughters.
Rigo is still early in his career, currently working as an Executive Chef and the Research and Development Chef for NamiYori in Houston. He continues to create and show others his journey along the way, no matter where it takes him.
Here's to the never-ending climb of the culinary world ladder.